It's Celebrate Bisexuality Day today, also called Bisexual Visibility Day -- a day to celebrate and promote recognition of those who are sexually attracted to people of more than one gender. The day exists because people with non-monosexual queer identities face unusual challenges in being recognized by both mainstream and queer cultures, yet visibility helps break down barriers and encourage acceptance.
In superhero comics, the problem of bisexual invisibility is as ingrained as anywhere; the medium struggles to acknowledge the existence of anything that didn't exist in The Honeymooners or The Andy Griffith Show, unless it's a space god, a shapeshifter, or a parasitic psychic monster. Having a character say, "I'm bisexual" is apparently more implausible than any of those things. There are signs that the industry is changing in this regard -- but slowly, and rather half-heartedly.
Due to a "breach [of] content guidelines for imported publications," the trade paperback collection Archie: The Married Life volume 3, which depicts the same-sex marriage of Riverdale's Kevin Keller, has apparently been banned in Singapore by the country's Media Development Authority -- or censors, basically.
Sonny Liew, the artist of the new graphic novel The Shadow Hero, editor of the acclaimed Liquid City anthology series, and a resident of Singapore, noticed the book wasn't available through distributor Kinokuniya's catalog and did some following up to find out why. They told him it has been "removed from sale" by order of the MDA.
The X-Men did not have an openly LGBT team-member for almost their first forty years of publication. This was primarily an egregious act of self-censorship on Marvel's part, but it may actually have helped strengthen mutants as a queer metaphor. Where LGBT people couldn't be part of the X-Men's text, the experiences of LGBT people came to dominate the X-Men's subtext.
In the third of three essays examining the parallels between fictional mutants and real life LGBT people, I'll look at how the mutations themselves -- and the identity struggles of many X-Men characters -- served to underline the essential queerness of mutants.
Mutants as a metaphor for real minority groups are an awkward fit for a number of reasons. First of all, mutants are actually dangerous. Second, a lot of mutants have good cause to reject their identity. Third, and perhaps crucially, mutants don't have a shared culture like real minority groups.
Of course, people have said all of those things about LGBT people as well. In the second of three Pride Month essays exploring mutants as a metaphor for queer identity, I'll look at how mutants are actually a perfect metaphor for the sort of dangerous myths used to marginalize LGBT people.
Mutants, Marvel Comics' best known superhuman minority group, have long served as an imperfect analogue for real world minority struggles and injustices, from the concentration camps of Days of Future Past to the segregationist society of Genosha.
Yet it's when X-Men stories are not trying so hard to draw parallels that they come closest to representing the experiences of one particular marginalized group. In the first of three essays in observance of LGBT Pride Month, I'll look at the special resonance that mutants have with LGBT readers, starting with an examination of the X-Men as a representation of queer family and queer community.
Show a six-year-old a YouTube video of two men getting engaged and you'll watch that child smile at giggle at the romantic gesture. Give another kid a comic book and tell them two of the girl characters in it like each other, and more often than not that child will just shrug and flip it open and get to reading. Kids ca
Adam Warren'sEmpowered is one of the best superhero comics being made today. Sometimes I think Empowered might end up being one of the greatest superhero comics ever. The elements are all there: engaging characters, a plot that springs from them organically, an inventive setting, and scads of emotion. Its parodical beginnings -- based in the jokey premise of superpowered woman Empowered de-powering as her delicate, stereotypically skintight super suit gets shredded in battle -- has transitioned smoothly into a darker present, and it’s an evolution that’s been met with little in the way of fan whining for “the good old days.” Yes, Empowered is funny, surprising, moving, and original.
If you're reading this site, you probably love comic books -- but many of you may wonder how much it loves you back. For an industry that's already niche, American comics has seemed oddly willing to narrow its audience. For a medium that prides itself on community, American comics has been quick to close its doors. For an artform that can show readers anything, American comics has seemed content to show us the familiar.
To the outside world, the comic fan fits a certain type. We're so used to the idea that comics favours an audience of heterosexual white men that we sometimes forget that we are comics, and that's not who we are. Collectively, we're so much more than that. It's as a reminder of that fact that the new Tumblr blog We Are Comics exists.
Hollywood has proved to be pretty great at superheroes. For the last few years the genre has provided some of the biggest tentpoles of the blockbuster season. Hollywood is less great at other things -- like, for example, providing leading roles for women.
Hollywood is especially not great at providing lead superhero roles for women, but maybe that's not entirely Hollywood's fault. Superhero comics aren't great at providing those roles either. In fact, there are plenty of actors in Hollywood who could play amazing superheroes -- if only the roles existed for them. For example...
All Hail The King is a short movie -- a "one shot," as Marvel calls them -- about what happened to Iron Man 3 character the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) after he went to prison, written and directed by Iron Man 3 co-writer Drew Pearce. It's light, it's funny, there are some good lines and a neat twist. For the most part, I liked it.
One thing left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you haven't watched the Marvel one-shot/short movie All Hail The King, released a supplemental feature with Thor: The Dark World on Blu-ray/DVD, and you haven't watched Iron Man 3, and you want to see either of them unspoiled, skip the rest of this post. That's your spoiler warning.
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