For throngs of comic book-reading gay geeks out there, 2013 was a banner year. From loads of on-panel same-sex smooching to newly out characters, queer representation in mainstream comics soared to new heights over the past 12 months – making a celebratory list of the gayest moments in comics an absolute must.
So join us while we strap on the old cape, step into some colorful spandex, and spotlight the year’s top 10 most awesomely awesome LGBT moments in mainstream comic books.
10. Uncanny X-Men #14
The X-Men have a number of LGBT characters in their extensive line-up, which makes sense as their entire existence – being feared and hated simply because they exist – is an allegory for our queer reality. From Northstar and the little green lizard boy Anole, to the sexy lovers Shatterstar and Rictor, Marvel’s merry mutants are a breeding ground for homosexuality and Uncanny X-Men #14 introduced one more to the fold when team member Benjamin Deeds, aka 'Morph', revealed he’s gay.
9. Afterlife with Archie # 2
Zombies invade the sugary-sweet, vanilla goodness of Archie Comics in this spooky fun series. Smartly written by out gay author Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, this gory mash-up of two very different comic book genres works surprisingly well and gets extra points for featuring a lesbian couple. The Sapphic subplot, featuring two queer women of color on the down low – the Latina Ginger Lopez and the African-American Nancy Woods – struggling to accept their same-sex love, this book gives plenty for both horror and gay comic fans to enjoy.
8. X-Men #8
Not only does the adjectiveless X-Men comic book series feature a kick-ass team of ladies (sisters be doing it for themselves, ya’ll) but it also serves up some much deserved panel time to the butch mutant Bling – an out and proud, tough as nails lesbian. (And who doesn’t love a butch, tough lesbian?) This issue lands on the countdown for giving the former firework-spewing mutant and current vampire, Jubilee, her first lady-on-lady lip-lock with Bling.
7. X-Treme X-Men #10
And speaking of on panel lip-locks, this recently cancelled series not only showcased gay comic book icon Dazzler in a lead role but it also winningly included an alternate dimensional Wolverine (rocking some gold claws to boot) and an alternate dimensional hunky, gym bunny Hercules k-i-s-s-i-n-g-ing! And man, is it all sorts of hot.
6. Fearless Defenders #12
This also recently cancelled series brought together a wide variety of lady heroes battling the baddies and saving the world. (No, they don’t need no male superhero scrubs to get the job done.) From the start of the comic the on panel kissing from lesbian character Annabelle Riggs was prominently featured throughout the series. Annabelle started the book by macking on the Norse buff-babe Valkyrie – the two now share a body (it’s a long story) - and ended the book by getting biz-nasty in a tent with the dancer-turned-Inhuman Ren Kimura. It’s a shame we won’t see more of Annabelle and her liberated sexuality.
5. Batwoman #17
The bat family’s only queer member brings the love along with the action when she proposed to her girlfriend in a full-page, beautifully rendered spread at the end of this issue. Although much was made of the creative team behind this visually stunning book leaving the series after DC Comics poo-pooed the impending nuptials, we still applaud the fact that Batwoman is the lone superhero with a solo title holding the gay torch in mainstream comics.
4. Young Avengers #8
Teen heroes Hulkling and Wiccan are one of comicdoms most beloved couples. This groundbreaking current series (currently on volume 2) is significant thanks to how the young gay teen’s relationship is a major driving force in the series. Their love is far from a side note, its center stage with plenty of handholding, nuzzling, and a multitude of kisses. Issue 8 alone is a watershed moment for mainstream comics thanks to the jaw-dropping, soap opera where the bisexual, former mutant Prodigy plants a big old French kiss on the shapeshifting Hulkling. *Gasp* What will Wiccan say?!?
3. Saga #17
It’s about freaking time a popular sci-fi series featured some queers. Seriously.Saga showcases plenty of diverse sex throughout the series, including images of gay oral sex. In this issue, we finally see two green-skinned alien reporter guys having a snuggle-fest in bed. Fan-fudging-tastic! Finally!
2. Hawkeye #14
Praise the comic book gods for this amazingly heartfelt and witty issue. The young, female Hawkeye (yes, there are two Hawkeye’s, it’s a long story) who’s also a member of the afore mentioned Young Avengers – spends the entire story hell-bent on saving a gay couple's wedding day after their precious orchids were stolen. Hawkeye knows how important the right décor is to some gay men and will stop at nothing to find the culprit and help out the gay couple. The entire issue is a funny, touching love story that’s so sweet and wonderful it actually succeeded in warming our cold, critical, fanboy hearts.
1. Kevin Keller #10
Archie’s gay buddy, Kevin Keller, breaks another barrier for comics aimed at young readers by getting his first same-sex smooch on panel! And that’s not all, because this issue also humorously and playfully takes on the threat of a faux "One Million Moms" anti-gay group in the process as well as giving us an appearance by out talk-show host Ellen DeGeneresas the entire town rallies to support the gay teen.
Brian Andersen is the writer and creator of the critically-acclaimed independent comic book So Super Duper. The humorous 12-issue series about a gay superhero with empathic powers is now available as a 300 page graphic novel at www.sosuperduper.com.