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Queering the
comics

Queering the
comics

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Superheroes--coded, metrosexual, lesbian--and LGBT writers and artists will make this July's Comic-Con International in San Diego one of the gayest ever.

With Superman Returns, the always-metaphorical X-Men, the media stir about a lipstick lesbian Batwoman, and out writer Allan Heinberg's relaunching of the Wonder Woman comic title, superheroes seem to be coming out more than ever this summer. Especially July 19-23, when queer-interest comics, movies, and other geeky goodness converge at the Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The refurbished Batwoman--the recent subject of global press coverage--will also be making her first appearance that week in DC Comics' 52 series. Although Batwoman, a.k.a. socialite Kathy Kane, has been around since the mid 1950s, the last time she was in a DC title was 1979. This 52 reinvention sees her as an out lesbian with an active love life and a detective ex-girlfriend. But sexuality isn't the only thing different about the character, according to executive editor Dan DiDio: Now her fabulous high heels are more "combat-oriented"--thanks to her new costume's designer, Alex Ross.

"The original Batwoman wore stilettos, so I think these are a step up," notes DiDio, laughing. "Half the stuff the superhero characters wear isn't built for much battle anyway, but they do look good."

The 2005 Comic-Con saw Bryan Singer fly in from Australia to show a tease from the then-shooting Superman Returns. This year Sony, Lions Gate, New Line, and 20th Century Fox's new Atomic division will be on hand to preview their horror-sci-fi-action film titles. Although publicists couldn't confirm by press time which films or celebs would appear, likely suspects include Spider-Man 3, Snakes on a Plane, 300, Clerks II, Ghost Rider, Flushed Away, Aragon, and possibly Casino Royale.

Comic-Con presents many gay-specific panels--including "Gays in Comics" on Saturday night--as well as special events with artists and writers; the Prism Comics organization, which promotes queer creators and comic titles in the industry, will be there as well. As for new queer comic titles debuting or available at 2006 Comic-Con, those include Tim Fish's Something Fishy This Way Comes, Ellen Forney's I Love Led Zeppelin, Abby Denson's Tough Love: High School Confidential, Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Eric Shanower's Adventures in Oz, and a new volume of Paige Braddock's Jane's World.

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Lawrence Ferber