With the release of today’s first issue of Midnighter and Apollo, the new six-issue series featuring mainstream comic’s only same-sex superhero couple in a starring role, Steve Orlando brings queer heroes to the pop culture forefront. The first issue alone is filled with action-packed, IMAX-level adventure, hot kitchen sex, and plenty of interpersonal character development worthy of your gay geek dollar.
Apart from penning the groundbreaking Midnighter and Apollo comic book series the bisexual writer brings his considerable writing talents to several DC Comics' most marquee comic book titles: namely Supergirl and Justice League of America.
The Advocate was happy to chat with Orlando on balancing Midnighter and Apollo’s action with romance, his take on Supergirl and her alienation as an outsider in our society, and the arrival of a new gay character in next year’s Justice League of America.
The Advocate: What can you tell us about the new Midnighter and Apollo series?
Orlando: It's a no-holds barred, no budget widescreen superhero Western following one of comics’ iconic gay couples, the world’s finest couple, as they face down ultimate evil. And now more than ever we need gay heroes that inspire us and kick evil’s ass.
How important is it for you to balance action and romance?
It’s very important! But it’s also relatively easy – we treat Midnighter and Apollo as any other couple in comics, and so their romance scenes are given equal space and treatment to what you’d see between Black Canary and Green Arrow. We don’t shine a spotlight on or fetishize the romance, it’s just as much a part of everyday life and story as romance would be in any other book.
Do you feel pressure to showcase a healthy ssame-sex relationship among all the fisticuffs?
I would say I feel pressure to showcase a realistic relationship, and that means neither an unattainable, idealized vision or an overly dysfunctional one. Real relationships are work, and I want to treat Midnighter and Apollo with the same respect, passion, and intricacy we all deal with in our own relationships on a daily basis. And that is healthy, as I think about it; conflict, compromise, growth, are all part of a healthy, realistic relationship. And that’s what we as readers and they deserve as people.
What can we look forward to in the series?
A train golem! Subway pirates! An unstoppable evil from the 1990s! Polish food! And the biggest fistfight of all time.
Your Supergirl is an outsider who just can't seem to fit into her world. Is this an allegory for being queer?
I think Supergirl, and any hero that has a secret identity, can speak to the queer experience. That concept of having a different public face, the person you act as in public, to hide your secret, whatever it is, is certainly allegorical for being queer.
Can we expect to see any queer characters in Supergirl?
I hope so! I would say as the series gets off its feet, you can certainly expect some. Representation, not just for the queer community but beyond it as well, including different ethnicities, religions, genders, the differently-abled and more, is something I try to work towards in all my work, while staying in my lane.
You're about to tackle DC Comics' chief superhero team, The Justice League of America. Spill: who is your favorite Leaguer.
That’s easy! Martian Manhunter is not just my favorite leaguer but my favorite DC Comics character.
You recently mentioned that you would love to see a gay character in The Justice League of America. Do you have plans that you can share?
Yes! (Editor’s Note: it was announced on Tuesday that The Ray will join the team as an out hero.) I will say I think it is an extremely important moment if it happens. We’ve had rep in the JL before, with Tasmanian Devil and Obsidian, to name a few, as well as Ice Maiden. I think there’s a great visibility to the League now more than ever.
Midnighter & Apollo #1 is out today. Supergirl is out monthly. And Justice League of America featuring The Ray to be released in Feburary 2017.