Recently someone linked me to a 7 Best Gay Characters In Comics list. While the list was solid, I was inspired to compose my own list of the 25 awesomest LGBTQ characters in comic books and/or comic book themed media/adaptations.
Besides being an accomplished published writer, artist who knows his crafts and a lifelong unapologetic rabid comic book fan, and this being my post and my blog, what makes me qualified, you ask?
And awesome knows awesome.
Disclaimer Time: Okay this list is based on my criteria and my opinion (the only opinion that matters) and yes the next person's mileage may vary (but they're not me, so they don't matter). With certain couples, I picked one character and omitted the other. It's not that the omitted character isn't awesome in their own right but I felt that the other partner overshadowed them and deserved solo recognition. And I wanted to keep the list to 25. I also recognize that there are some excellent gems out there that I probably haven't read yet. But it's all good. Who's to say we can't do another list with the 30, 40 or even 50 most awesome LGBTQ comic book characters.
So if there are recommendations of comics that I should check out, then by all means don't hesitate to leave your recs in the comments.
25. Grace Choi & Thunder
Why They're Awesome: To be honest, these two almost didn't make the list but after additional research and intel, I realized that I owed these two heroines an apology. While I had read about both characters for years, it wasn't until Outsiders that I learned they were queer. I was less than impressed with their characterization because they're being queer was their only story arc and they came across as caricatures. What I didn't realize is that writer Chuck Dixon is a known homophobe who has been quite outspoken in regards to his opinions on LGBTQs. In short these two otherwise great characters didn't have a chance. Queer, women, and LGBTQ...yeah they hit the trifecta which meant they would be written off and fridged and oh wait that's exactly what happened. I knew Thunder's days were numbered when she stopped wearing the Beyonce blonde wig and went with a natural fro.
So why are they awesome? It's rare to see LGBTQs in comics and even more rare to see two queer people of color. Grace is an amazon (literally) and defies many of the racist Asian tropes that pervade comics and the media in general. These two have proven to be powerful characters in spite of the racism and homophobia they've faced. Here's hoping we see these two ladies in the very near future.
Also, if anyone reading this has suggestions of storylines with the pair that IS NOT written by Chuck Dixon or any other bigot, please let me know.
24. Freedom Ring
Why He’s Awesome: Despite the sick and homophobic treatment he was subjected to, Freedom Ring’s awesomeness cannot be denied. If ever given the chance, the first thing I’m doing is resurrecting him and doing him right. One small benefit that transpired is that discussion was sparked and a light was shed on the homophobia that pervades the comic book industry.
23. Mystique & Destiny
Why They’re Awesome: Despite Marvel’s ban on LGBTQ characters, these two shared a very sweet genuine relationship that was nuanced. With Destiny we see an endearing and vulnerable side of Mystique who is the Baroness of the Marvel Universe. This is one of the best relationships (lesbian or otherwise) ever portrayed in comics.
22. Ianto Jones
Why He’s Awesome: What was interesting about Ianto Jones is that although he was involved in one of the premiere m/m pairings in sci-fi, he didn’t identify as queer. As he stated he was never attracted to men, just one man (Jack Harkness).
Ianto evolved with each episode and went from a virtual stand-in redshirt, to one of the most popular characters on the series. His stoic demeanor, dry humor was the perfect foil for the charming and dashing Harkness. And like the rest of you, I was in therapy for six months after Children of Earth.
While gone, this awesome hero will never be forgotten.
21. Kevin Keller
Why He’s Awesome: His mere existence in the Archie universe is progressive in and of itself. What’s more, his introduction was actually handled with RESPECT! Keller is likable guy who does the impossible and bests Jughead in an eating contest, he’s a fellow comic book junkie and a journalist (were we separated at birth?). Handsome, intelligent, exceptionally kind, he’s an excellent addition to the Riverdale.
He’s a character that happens to be gay who happens to be family friendly and kid appropriate. And when it comes to LGBTQ characters, that never happens.
Contrary to what the likes of Chuck Dixon and others would have you believe, his being gay is not a lifestyle, but a part of who he is. And who is Kevin Keller? AWE-SOME!!!!!!
20. Tara McClay
Why She’s Awesome: Tara McClay was one of those characters who was impossible not to fall in love with. Throughout her time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she evolved from a meek girl who was uncomfortable in her own skin and constantly apologized for her very existence to an extraordinary woman. Her relationship with Willow was also unique because it was the first time that we saw Willow as the dominant one in the relationship. Arguably the best portrayal of a lesbian relationship on television, the storyline featured two amazing characters who were in love who happened to be women as opposed to it being a scintillating lesbian storyline for November sweeps. Tara debunked a myriad of stereotypes in being a positive portrayal as a lesbian, a Wiccan, and a heroine.
19. Victoria Hand
Why She’s Awesome: Marvel Dark Reign was actually enjoyable for me. It was interesting to see the villains in charge and to see the story from their perspective. One of the best gems of the Marvel event was Victoria. She had the unenviable task of being Norman Osborn’s right hand and the voice of reason for Psycho McPsycho. But don’t get it twisted. This chick was by no means a glorified secretary. This is the chick who kept the Dark Avengers in line and even laid the smackdown on Moonstone with an energy cannon and put her back in her place.
And you know you’re hardcore when you even manage to justify your actions as a patriot whose doing their job and stump Steve Rogers in a philosophical debate. I look forward to seeing how she handles herself on the New Avengers but based on what we’ve seen so far, it will be EPIC!!!!
And yes Boston Pobble, this is you!!!!!!!
Why She’s Awesome: While most people know Satsu best as Buffy’s first female love interest, she is easily hands down one of the most underrated characters of Season 8. Disciplined, focused, a skilled fighter, while green there are definitely shades of Kendra in this slayer. Satsu has proven herself to be an invaluable player countless times. Here’s hoping we see more of this exemplary slayer.
Why He’s Awesome: The fact that the son of Wolverine (Marvel’s Mary Sue) is an LGBTQ (and POC) is trailblazing in its self. I’m also laughing at the homophobic fanboys because their favorite Mary Sue has the icky queer genes which was passed to Daken because EVERYONE knows that the gay gene comes from the father.
*in Nelson Muntz voice* AH HA!
While a villain and your quintessential bad boy, Daken makes no apologies or excuses about who he is, including his orientation and as Bullseye learned, he’s more than willing and capable to settle any grievances that anyone may have about him being bisexual.
The pheromone powers…..I’ll be in my bunk.
Why He’s Awesome: Contrary to what Rob Liefeld and other bigots would have you believe, warriors can be like totally gay. While almost android and childlike in demeanor, writer Peter David has managed to give Shatterstar plenty of personality with his bashful charm.
What’s more is that David finally confirmed what comic book fans knew all along, that Shatterstar and Rictor (emo boy) are the original one true brokeback pair.
Whatever you do, never mock his star tattoo, less you wind up on the receiving end of a severe beatdown as a few Las Vegas bar patrons learned the hard way.
15. Scandal Savage
Why She’s Awesome: The HBIC and a certifiable BAMF, Scandal rocks it as the leader of the Secret Six. The fact that said leader is a woman, queer and a person of color didn’t go amiss either. An alpha and total bad girl, she’s as lethal and cunning as she is beautiful.
RVC Bard, I know you mentioned you might be interested in getting into comics. You may want to check out Secret Six. It’s one of the most critically acclaimed comics out there and I think Scandal Savage is definitely your type in that she’s in the tradition of Lucy Diamond and Azula.
Why He’s Awesome: The reasons for why Gear rocks and why he’s earned his rightful spot on this list can be found here. In short, a gay superhero on a Saturday morning cartoon show, DOESN'T HAPPEN! This stud is 10 kinds of badass.Many of you may recall the television series Static Shock, the hit WB Kids cartoon that was based on the Milestone comic. Static (Virgil Hawkins) had a best friend named Richie Foley who in later seasons discovered he had latent ablities as a technopath and became Static's crimefighting partner known as Gear. What makes this 10 kinds of awesome is that for those of us who knew the history of Static in the comics, something very special was happening. In the comics, Richie Foley was in fact Richard Stone, one of Virgil's best friends in high school and a gay teen. With FCC regulations the way they are, gay characters are not allowed on a kid's cartoon show. But for us LGBTQ comic book fans and others in the know, we knew what Dwayne McDuffie and others were trying to accomplish. They could've just as easily have easily have adapted another of Static's friends or created a brand new character for the show. It should also be noted that Dwayne McDuffie, Bruce Timm and co. have consistently been inclusive and brought the win on POC, feminist and other issues with their other series, Batman, Batman Beyond, Superman and Justice League. McDuffie even confirmed on his website that the cartoon version of Richie Foley WAS indeed a gay character and a gay superhero at that.
13. Ultimate Colossus
Why He’s Awesome: Making Ultimate Colossus a gay man was hands down one of the most brilliant moves in comics. The very concept debunks most of the homophobic stereotypes that inundate society. He’s the powerhouse of the team and is physically stronger than every other member. He maintains that poetic soul without being a pansy as lesser writers would’ve made him be as a gay character. He’s a powerful masculine man who happens to be gay and in comics…that never happens. His storyline was compelling and educational for fans who may have had little if any interaction with LGBTQs.
Also making the hawtest X-Man (aside from Cyclops) the gay one: WIN!!!!!!
12. Danielle Baptiste
Why She’s Awesome: Danielle has certainly come into her own. I wasn’t really certain about her taking over as the bearer of the Witchblade but she definitely held it down and Sara Pezzinni is a tough act to follow. But Baptiste really hit her stride as the Angelus. I’ve been enjoying her storyline and I’ve really enjoyed her blossoming relationship with Finch which has been surprisingly tasteful.
But the real victory is that the Angelus is one of the few single titles that’s headlined by an LGBTQ.
11. Thom Creed
Why He’s Awesome: While he’s technically never appeared in a comic book, Thom Creed, the protagonist of Perry Moore’s Lambda Award winning novel Hero, is a trailblazing character whose story takes place in the comic book themed universe.
Thom is an affable protagonist. A star athlete, he's quirky. Think Peter Parker with a hint of Connor Kent. The story's mythos is a blatant satire/parody/homage of both DC and Marvel Comics, much in the spirit of the film Sky High. It's a fun story that doesn't take itself too seriously. Ironically, one of the things that makes Hero successful is the light-hearted prose which is juxtaposed against the heavy social issues it addresses. We're talking everything from homophobia to healthcare, war, racism poverty to divorce.This coming of age tale is also candid and honest. Hero is a conscious engaging dramedy and a fun read at that. I highly recommend it for comic book fans or fans of a very good story.
Why She's Awesome:
While Karolina Dean gets a lot of praise for being the lesbian on Runaways, to me Xavin was the progressive character whose mere existence broke down a number of barriers.
Badass alien warrior = THE SHIT!
Badass alien warrior who defies the gender binary = THE SHIT!
Badass alien warrior who proves that white is not the default for being human by portraying herself as a black person = THE SHIT!
Yes Xavin rocks it on too many levels. Why she was written off is nothing short of a scandal in itself because she needs to return like yesterday.
09. Renee Montoya
Why She's Awesome: Although Batwoman got the most press about being a lesbian super heroine who would headline her own series, many people missed a real gem in Renee Montoya who is currently the faceless crime fighter the Question. 52 was groundbreaking in that each week there was a new story for well 52 weeks and the writers managed to tell a cohesive and powerful story. Too bad they couldn't repeat this with Countdown. But one of the true gems was that many C-list characters were allowed to take center stage. One of them was Renee Montoya who we saw evolve from a tragic protagonist to an unlikely and formidable heroine. Why she doesn't have her own title and isn't on a team has my eyes rolling faster than pinwheels.
You hear that, DC? GIVE THIS WOMAN HER TITLE! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!
Why He's Awesome: When it comes to Greek and Roman mythology, history revisionists will do their damnedest to erase gay elements from history. If they had it their way, they would have you think that Zeus and Ganymede were platonic drinking buddies. This is why you should never believe that homophobic Frank Miller 300 bullshit as fact. The Spartans were like totally gay! The Greeks were like totally gay! And you know who else was like totally gay, one of the mightiest warriors in history, Achilles.
Introduced as a rival to Wonder Woman, Achilles broke much ground right there. Because queer characters are rarely (if ever) placed on equal footing with the prominent cis heterosexual superheroes, especially those who happens to be a member of the Trinity and a flagship title for DC.
Gail Simone did an exemplary job in his characterization and his growth and he could easily carry his own title. We would also like to thank Gail Simone for introducing me to my future husband. Because as far as the hawtness goes, well....once again I'll be in my bunk.....for the next six months.
Why She's Awesome: The reintroduction of Kate Kane as a lesbian super heroine was met with a lot of skepticism and rightfully so. The last time a gay character was hyped up and given their own series, we got the Rawhide Kid and the less said about that minstrel show the better.
However Greg Rucka assuaged all concerns when the first issue of her run on Detective Comics hit stands. JH Williams III artwork was breathtaking and it complemented Rucka's writing brilliantly. Batwoman was portrayed as a rich, complex, complicated and layered character and it's little wonder that her run on Detective was a breakaway smash hit.
And what was that nonsense again about marginalized characters not generating sales.
Why She's Awesome: How Xena is awesome, let me count the ways. Of course if I did that, there wouldn't be enough memory on the internet to list all of her praises and accomplishments. Here's hoping I can do her justice. She's the greatest TV action heroine of all time. The television series was creative and took massive risks. Sometimes the results were disastrous and other times they were an epic payoff. Xena's story was a poignant one, an unlikely champion looking to atone for her dark past. Said redemption was aided by her companion and soulmate, Gabrielle. While that storyline has been done before, the writers did it immensely well.
Most people thought Xena was powerful because her fighting skills were second to none and while that's true, the astute observer will also note that she was powerful because she outwitted her foes. Whether warlord, monster, demon or god, Xena was always at least two steps ahead of her enemies. Between her cunning, her combat skills, her sharp mind, she easily rivals Batman and if those two ever met, I wouldn't be surprised if it ended in a stalemate, and I even wouldn't be shocked if she actually beat him.The comics kept to the spirit of the series and by that virtue alone, Xena takes her rightful place in this elite list.
05. Wallace Wells
Why He's Awesome: You can read about my take on Scott Pilgrim here. In regards to Wallace Wells, he achieved something that I've rarely seen from other characters. He made being gay cool. Wallace is the mentor, he's the comic relief, he's got the mystique and he's got style. He was one of the few characters in the series that actually had his shit together. He wasn't flamboyant but he was open about who he was. Being gay wasn't a tragedy for him, it was a part of who he was. Based on many of his antics and his personality, I've also determined that Wallace is my evil comic book counterpart. Because we are tooooooo much alike. TRU FAX! TRU FAX! I will say that the movie adaptation corrected where the graphic novels began to slip. Towards the end of the graphic novels, Wallace became too over-the-top and bordering on a caricature. However Kieran Culkin's performance stayed true to the spirit of the character and he did Wallace right.
I would love to see him get his own spinoff. You hear that Mr. O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim creator? Spinoff.
Why They're Awesome: Two complex and engaging characters who happen to openly gay and in a loving relationship who can still kick ass and take names, and are fun and unique and role models for LGBTQs. Role models as in NOT NORTHSTAR. Young Avengers has been one of the best kept secrets in Marvel and these two are a prominent reason. Whether it's Hulkling schooling the terrorists on the Bible or Wiccan being a legacy character as a Maximoff and having the baddest mother fucker on the planet (Magneto) as your grandfather, it's impossible not to fall in love with this pair. Children's Crusade is already shaping up to redefine the term badass.With the rampant bigotry that pervades the comic book industry, these two give me hope. Here's hoping that they're setting the standard for new LGBTQ superheroes to come.
03. Jack Harkness
Why He's Awesome: Jack
Hawtness Harkness. An omnisexual action hero from the 51st century who headlines his own hit series. While that in itself is groundbreaking, there's so much to this character, I don't even know where to start. He's a paradox of sorts. On one hand he's dark and grim and easily makes Batman and Angel look like Superman. Yet you often forget that because of his charming, warm, seductive aura. His mere voice sounds of something too warm to be set in such a dark grim world like Touch Wood Torchwood and he's the star of the show. But he's not Batman or Angel, and while he's certainly the warmer of the three, he's also the darkest. Where there are some things the dark avengers won't compromise on, Harkness will do so in a heartbeat. He will cross that line for the greater good. Behind that shiny veneer is a chasm of darkness and pain. After all, a man who cannot die has nothing to fear. And it would take nothing short of a timelord with a haunting past to cure him. But we love him. Every unspeakable act has been done to this man and he comes back. He always comes back. Always dashing, always seductive. No matter what he does, you know he's fighting for the greater good and is willing to sacrifice anything for it. And if you think you can keep Harkness down, well, you don't know Jack!
02. Willow Rosenberg
Why She's Awesome: A Jewish Wiccan lesbian character who evolves from sidekick to powerhouse (and the most powerful character in the series) and arguably embodies the theme of empowerment more than the titular heroine. Joss discussed this once on one of the audio commentaries regarding side characters embodying the theme of the show moreso than the titular characters. Because Buffy and Angel are essentially superheroes and at times larger than life, there's always a bit of a disconnect with the audience because as superheroes, they have to always be at another level. Whereas say Willow or even Wesley, we see what the characters are at the beginning of the series and how they've evolved and grown that by the end of their respective seasons, they personify the theme moreso than the main characters because they're allowed to be more human and grow more than say a vampire or a slayer. Most of what I mentioned about Tara applies to Willow. She is epitome of the sidekick whose done right.
and the awesomest LGBTQ comic book character......
Why He's The Awesomest: A dark anti-hero that happens to be an unapologetic gay man who is not only one of the most powerful characters in the universe but one of the few hardcore badasses in comics who can call Wolverine, Deadpool, Sabretooth, Punisher and Batman a bunch of punk asses. Midnighter basically is a standing contradiction on the perception of the gay man. He's not weak, flamboyant, timid or needs to be rescued by the mythical straight boy. He's proof that masculinity, strength and being an alpha is not exclusive to cis straight men. He's a role model to gay boys (young and old alike) that you can be queer and still be a badass. But more importantly, he's a lesson to cis straight readers that our orientation does not define our characters, we do. And we can be whatever we want to be including BAMF who are EPICALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!
ETA: For those interested check out the following: