Comics Newsletter

First Comic Crushes

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S.W. Sondheimer

Staff Writer

When not prying Legos and gaming dice out of her feet, S.W. Sondheimer is a registered nurse at the Department of Therapeutic Misadventures, a herder of genetic descendants, cosplayer, and a fiction and (someday) comics writer. She is a Yinzer by way of New England and Oregon and lives in the glorious 'Burgh with her husband, 2 smaller people, 2 cats, a fish, and a snail. She occasionally tries to grow plants, drinks double-caffeine coffee, and has a habit of rooting for the underdog. It is possible she has a book/comic book problem but has no intention of doing anything about either. Twitter: @SWSondheimer

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.

Remy Etienne LeBeau (Gambit):

Place of Birth: New Orleans, LA

Aliases: Death, Le Diable Blanc, Robert Lord, Cajun, Gumbo, Swamp Rat

Creators: Chris Claremont and Jim Lee

First AppearanceUncanny 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. 

—SW Sondheimer

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.

—Yaika Sabat


Selina Kyle (Catwoman):

Place of Birth: Unknown

Aliases: Irena Dubrovna

Creators: Bill Finger and Bob Kane

First AppearanceBatman #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.

—Rah Froemming-Carter



Place of Birth: Wreath

Alias: Prisoner #9763572, Barr

Creators: Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

First AppearanceSaga #1 (March, 2012)

The image says it all.

—Jamie Canaves

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 AppearanceDetective 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.”

—Jess Plummer

Who was your first comic crush? Is there special someone who has you rushing to your LCS on Wednesdays? An ideal, imaginary other half?

We showed you ours. We’d love to see yours.