We don’t need roses or fancy dinners, diamonds or even singing greeting cards (please, no singing greeting cards). All we want for Valentine’s Day are comics. And if you could manage to throw in a couple of issues featuring our first comic crushes, well…then we’d know you love us.
Upon whom, pray tell, have we set our sights?
Continue, dear readers, and you’ll discover the ways to our hearts.
Place of Birth: New Orleans, LA
Aliases: Death, Le Diable Blanc, Robert Lord, Cajun, Gumbo, Swamp Rat
Creators: Chris Claremont and Jim Lee
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 (July, 1990)
The swagger. The accent. The coat. A reformed thief whose heart, while mostly gold, always carries a little bit of tarnish. Who reformed…ish, went bad, reformed again…etc. An X-Man but always a little apart. Quick with a snarky quip and always, always there for the people he loves. And he can take out your enemies by adding a little kinetic charge to whatever happens to be nearby, though my favorite weapon from his arsenal will always be playing cards.
I always had a level of comfort with Gambit beyond the “I’m a weirdo, you’re a weirdo” kinship I felt with other X-Men. In retrospect at least part of that were hints, though there were never any solid evidence presented, that Gambit is bisexual. Writer James Asmus confirmed in 2012 that he intended to make Remy’s bisexuality canon but Marvel pulled the plug. Alas, cis-het editorial type mens, word was already out and, according to Comic Alliance’s Andrew Wheeler, “…every fan I talk to just knows,” so, while it may not be “official canon,” well…it kind of is (see Bens Acker and Blacker’s Deadpool v. Gambit). I think I “just knew,” even before I understood myself to have bisexuality in common with Monsieur LeBeau, and that gut instinct is part of what has connected me to the character for decades.
Yeah, I’m here to provide backup crush support for that charming Cajun. I’m pretty sure SW Sondheimer and I could write a whole Ode to Remy Etienne LeBeau. The voice, the attitude, the humor, the hair, the cheekbones. The feeling that although he could be really shady, he genuinely gave a damn and would do a lot for his people. Even his last name is LeBeau, aka boyfriend/male admirer. True story: I actually don’t have a huge list of comic crushes (at least not romantic, SO MANY friend/please-be-a-part-of-my-life-crushes). But Gambit? I never stood a chance.
Place of Birth: Unknown
Aliases: Irena Dubrovna
Creators: Bill Finger and Bob Kane
First Appearance: Batman #1 (June, 1940) as “The Cat”
My early comics interest didn’t stray far beyond Batman. I got into Batman because I liked bats; I stayed for Catwoman. Her habit of doing the wrong things for the right reasons and her way of making burglary look like a fight for justice shone out against the somewhat dull Batman. As did her outfit, her agility, and most of all her love for cats.
Place of Birth: Wreath
Alias: Prisoner #9763572, Barr
Creators: Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
First Appearance: Saga #1 (March, 2012)
The image says it all.
Richard John Grayson (Nightwing):
Place of Birth: a circus (no geographical location given)
Aliases: Dick Grayson, Robin, Batman, Agent 37
Creators: Bill Finger and Bob Kane
First Appearance: Detective Comics #38 (April, 1940)
Behold the power of shorthand. I wasn’t a comics fan yet when I saw 1997’s Batman and Robin, and at 27, Chris O’Donnell was hardly a teen heartthrob, but my little tween brain understood that this was the Young Cute Boy aspect of superheroes. It didn’t matter that he was more than twice my age at the time or that the movie was legendarily terrible. What mattered was that he chafed under Batman’s authority and drove a motorcycle and had a thing for a girl who was too good for him. It’s been many years since I cared about Batfamily members who aren’t named Cass or Steph, but Dick Grayson was the first character who made me think, “Hey, I want to know more about you.”
Who was your first comic crush? Is there special someone who has you rushing to your LCS on Wednesdays? An ideal, imaginary other half?
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