The Question: Which Bisexual Characters Deserve A Spotlight?
The Question is the feature where we ask our contributors for their personal responses to some of the big questions weighing on our minds!
This week is Bisexual Awareness Week, a campaign that seeks to accelerate acceptance of the bisexual community. Bi visibility in fiction is an important part of that effort, as bisexual people are often marginalized or ignored in fictional worlds. Thankfully there are a growing number of bisexual characters in comics today, so to celebrate #BiWeek, we asked our writers; Which bisexual characters do you think deserve a bigger spotlight?
Frankie Charles is a bisexual black woman with a disability, who uses her tech expertise and her fleet of drones to aid Batgirl as the Operator of Burnside. Since being introduced in Batgirl #35, Frankie Charles has become a fan favorite for embodying the spirit of Batgirl — wanting to make a difference and absolutely refusing to accept limitations, even when those limitations come from the ones you love. She’s one of the best things to come out of the New 52.
As of Rebirth, we know Frankie is busy helping run Gordon Clean Energy while Barbara is away, but I desperately want to see her be a mainstay in Batgirl again once Barbara returns to Burnside. I also wouldn’t mind seeing her show up in other Gotham-set Bat books. (Gotham Academy, perhaps?). While it was ultimately a smart idea to tell her initial character arc without focusing on a love interest, it would be amazing to see Frankie start dating again, especially exploring the logistics of dating while being a queer woman of color with Muscular Dystrophy.
Knockout! She’s a former Fury from Apokolips, first appearing as a villain in Superboy and later in Gail Simone’s Secret Six run. She’s openly bisexual and has been in relationships with men and women. Her romance with Scandal Savage is supervillain relationship goals.
Knockout could easily fall into any number of nasty bisexual tropes, particularly as a villain in the DC universe. She uses her sexuality as a weapon with Superboy! She has sex with Deadshot when she’s in a relationship with Scandal! But she manages to transcend those tropes and exist as a fully realized character, not simply a "depraved bisexual."
When issues do come up in her relationship with Scandal, this gives them an opportunity to talk about their relationship, establish boundaries, and discuss what they each need. When Knockout comes back from Hell and finds Scandal with someone else, their relationship demonstrates that polyamory or non-monogamy are perfectly valid options. Sometimes bisexual characters (or people, in the real world) feel the need to prove that they aren’t hypersexual creatures who will bang anything that moves by being in strict monogamous relationships, but Knockout’s relationship with Scandal and Liana shows that you’re not a bad bisexual if you’re not monogamous.
We need to see all kinds of people in all kinds of relationships, and I would love to see Knockout in more comics for that reason.
For the first few years, she was the crush-object-then-girlfriend of the main character, Marten, but she evolved during that time and afterwards. An independent business owner — she runs a place called Coffee of Doom, which employs several members of the cast while serving as a hangout spot for the rest of them — she seems like the character who has their stuff most together.
But over time we've seen her boundary issues and insecurities, as well as her relationship with her successful ex-man-whore brother Sven fully round her out, making Dora a compelling, fascinating character who could surely carry more storylines on her own.
Here’s a short list of things I’d like to see more of in my comics: Bisexual protagonists. Women who are heroic without necessarily being friendly. Queer female heroes whose appearances mark them as queer (like for example, having no hair). Females heroes, especially queer female heroes, who have a powerset that’s both substantial and diverse, instead of basically just doing one thing.
Moondragon, aka Heather Douglas, is so much of what I want out of a bisexual woman superhero. She’s been an Avenger, a Defender, and a Guardian of the Galaxy, despite never being the best at making friends. She’s often a pretty nasty piece of work, and sometimes even a villain, but when she’s on the right side, you absolutely want her on your team. She has super-powers not through an accident or a burst of radiation, but because she used the disciplines of the aliens who raised her to train her body and mind far beyond what anyone on Earth normally achieves. So the thing about Moondragon is, when she acts like she’s better than you, she’s probably right.
She’s been implicitly queer since the early ‘80s, and canonically queer since the early ‘00s. She found a long term partner in Phyla-Vell, who I think is currently dead but may come back at some point. However — widowed, partnered, or otherwise, Moondragon needs to be in more comics. She needs to be in all the comics. And she ought to get to star in at least some of them.
We don’t give Gail Simone enough credit for the rehabilitation of Catman. His previous appearance before his return in Villains United was as a joke in Brad Meltzer & Phil Hester’s Green Arrow run where he was badly out of shape and presented no real challenge or threat to anyone. However, over the course of several volumes of Secret Six, Simone and a host of collaborators reinvented him as a hunky conservationist dreamboat with poor judgement.
After the second volume of Secret Six wrapped up, Simone noted that she regretted never getting around to outing Thomas Blake as bisexual so it was a high priority to establish that as canon when the property was reintroduced in The New 52. The only thing I don’t understand is why more people don’t do stuff with Catman? He’s as agile and capable as Batman, but wears a shirt 100% less often and has looser morals.
People should be clamoring to put him in their comics!