It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Rainbow!


Images Courtesy of DC Comics and Marvel Comics

More often than not, when companies and franchises try to diversify and become more inclusive to people from all walks of life, they come across as stereotypical, or even offensive. As a queer individual, I can speak greatly about how when June rolls around, and every brand switches their logo to include a rainbow for nothing more than to get more money from people of those communities. It is never about actually wanting others to feel represented and included. 

But when I see a company doing great work in balancing what the customer wants and what the brand values, I have to praise them. 

In the case of Marvel and DC, I can say that they do an excellent job of incorporating different sexualities and genders in their characters. There is definitely still room for improvement, but overall, I would give them my stamp of approval. In both new faces and the older ones our parents grew up with, these comics are filled with pride. 

Going through the acronym itself of LGBTQ+ I will be examining the characters that show off their pride in ways that are not stereotypical but are still show a more diverse side of the comic book world. 

For our lesbian superhero, we have Mystique, the beloved X-Men member who can shapeshift into any human or animal imaginable. Not only that, but she has a pure and real love with her partner, Destiny, as they live their life of chaos all while raising their adopted daughter, Rogue. This is a perfect example of how you can have queer characters without making them overly flamboyant or extremely butch. Mystique is a powerful being and she proves that she is not defined by her sexuality. 

Green Lantern is another character that is held very close to many people’s hearts. Despite Green Lantern having two past marriages with women and even children in some comics, in 2012 DC  rewrote the character, instead making him homosexual. . Due to the surge in purchases of the new Green Lantern comics, it was decided that he would stay as a gay man. This has also been one to cause some uproar as more conservative people did not like that already existing characters were being changed, but it was explained by the creators of Green Lantern that it was not necessarily a “change”, but rather that characters finding themselves over time, as all of us do at some point. 

Now looking into the biggest category there is: the bisexual characters. As a bisexual myself, I am beyond overjoyed that there is representation for people like myself as we are an often overlooked group when it comes to the spectrum of sexuality. In recent news, Superman’s son, John Kent, has come out as being bisexual. Personally, I think that this is a great step forward for bisexual men, as they are not seen represented in media. When men come out as being bisexual most people think that it is just the pretense of them coming out as gay. This, of course, made headlines as a lot of people were uncertain about why they would make a younger character  non-heterosexual. Personally, I think that it is a great thing to give these younger characters a chance to be role models for the younger generation – a way to show them that everyone is different and that there is no age for someone to find their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Another lover of both men and women is Batman’s Boy Wonder, Robin. In Batman: Urban Legends #6 when Tim Drake, Robin’s alter ego, was at the doorstep of Bernard’s house, checking in to see if his friend got home safe, we see the two looking into each other’s eyes and blushing. Drake says that he has feelings for Bernard and that he doesn’t know what they mean, but he wants to figure them out. As a result, Bernard asks Drake out on a date, to which Drake replies with an enthusiastic, “Yes.” Yet another step forward in providing these characters with relationships that are both inclusive and loving to show the audience that there is no difference to how a man loves a man, versus how he loves a woman. 

Quickly switching over to our female bisexuals Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Harley Quinn was famously the lover of The Joker but as of now, Joker got a new broad so Harley did the same. When you take a character from a relationship similar to that of Jim and Pam from The Office, it is quite shocking to see them with someone else. But unsurprisingly, a lot of people were much more supportive of this relationship, than Tim Drake and Bernard’s, as more often than not, bisexual women are fetishized far more than bisexual men, as well as only being seen as a display of human desire rather than a fulfilling and respectful partnership. Compared to the domestic abuse that Harley dealt with when dating The Joker, I would say with confidence that I am all for her better life now with Poison Ivy.

Coming up on our last couple of heroes I want to discuss the recent Netflix star, Loki, God of Mischief, and the two lovely pride flags that they get to wave into his next battle. It was confirmed by Marvel that Loki is the first genderfluid character, making them a pioneer for queer people everywhere. Not only that but the Green Mystic is also known to be pansexual, which differs from bisexuals, as bi- means “two”, meaning that bisexual people are only attracted to the two binary genders. Conversely, pansexuals are individuals attracted to the person rather than the gender. With Loki being genderfluid, this means that they can use any pronouns that they feel. As most know Loki to go by he/him pronouns, I feel that it’s important to discuss that in 2008, Marvel released Thor Vol 3 #5, Loki is reborn as Lady Loki. Though using the word “reborn” is strong, as Marvel has stated that Lady Loki and Loki himself are the same people. 

To finish us off, I want to observe the newer faces of these comic books, Bia and Jess Chambers. Bia is a member of the Amazons of Themyscira and early in the storyline, it was revealed that she is transgender. Her most famous instance comes when she was asked to share the name she chose for herself; Bia stands proud and tall, and through tears she says, “I am Bia”, giving herself the power to state who she is with pride and dignity. Filling the hearts of tons of trans comic lovers with butterflies. 

Closing off with my examination of these queer characters, I want to look at Jess Chambers. Also known as Kid Quick, this Teen Justice member is one of the few characters that identify as non-binary. Not only that, but they are in a secret relationship with Aquawoman as well.

I find it absolutely amazing that corporations as massive as DC and Marvel are learning to be more and more inclusive. I am glad that the younger generations, as well as my own, are so fluid and accepting of people no matter their gender or sexual orientation.