At the moment, Marvel has a reputation at being more down with LGBT issues than DC. On the surface, it seems to be true, but let’s take a closer look at some of those representations…
– Arnold Astrovik was the father of Justice (formerly Marvel Boy). He was killed by Justice’s superpowers during a violent fight. Later, it was uncovered that young Arnold’s love for another man was suppressed by his own father, turning him sour. A sensitive portrayal, highlighting the cycle of abuse and negative effects of repressing sexual orientation. Hit!
– Amy Chen, mostly found in the Silver Sable comics, shows great admiration for her boss – like a assassin’s version of the Smithers-Burns relationship from the Simpsons. It is hinted that Chen is a lesbian, albeit the man-hating (even man-murdering) kind. Perhaps not quite the representation lesbian comic fans would hope for. Miss!
– Jessie Drake is a transgender woman. Points awarded for representing trans people in the first place (wherever they look like humans, rather than Gollum), but some subtracted for the fact that Jessie goes into therapy for her gender dysphoria alongside Bloody Mary, a murderous man-hater. That must have been one confused therapist. Awkard-sort-of-hit!
– As for bisexual love triangles and confused sexuality storylines, there are too many to count, but mostly, characters are speculated gay in some circles, or are obscure neighbours of main characters. The first gay marriage came recently with progressive Marvel writer Marjorie Liu. Awkard-sort-of-hit!
– The famous Green Lantern went into an openly gay relationship with Sam Zhao. We even get to see him have a run-in with Sam’s dad. In-laws, it seems, are a universal problem. There’s no stereotyping Green Lantern; it would inaccurate, not to mention inadvisable, to call him effeminate when he has the superhuman strength to throw nuclear missiles at your face. Green Lantern was switched to gay in 2012 – if anything, a ballsier move than making a new gay character, as we all know that changing personal details of much-loved and established superheroes gets under fans’ collars’. Hit!
– Thunder, member of The Outsiders crime fighting team, was in a lesbian relationship with her team mate Grace. Though much was made of their differences and dislike of each other, they were later revealed to have been involved. Whereupon their team was swiftly reorganised by Batman, the interfering busybody. DC, if you’re going to write it, don’t run away from the pencil before you’ve finished the sentence. Miss!
– Look at all those listed bisexuals. Too bad I can’t find the storylines behind their alleged sexuality. Some of them are not real relationships but rather sinister plots involving betrayal and entrapment, proving nothing about orientation. DC characters’ sexuality is also sometimes “not confirmed on page”, otherwise known as Dumbledore syndrome, where a writer decides that a character is gay after publication and apparently that counts as representation. Miss!
– Masquerade is a transgender man. OK, so he’s a shape-shifter so he can look however he likes and the comic universe has a lot of those. But, he was born female and was not “out” to his team mates. Since trans men are less common that trans women, they are under-represented – disproportionately so. Points awarded. Hit!