In the comics industry, there has been a lot of discourse about what a more inclusive comic looks like. This is not a new conversation and has in fact been going on for decades. One of the better things to come out of this conversation is the commitment to telling queer superhero stories. Below is a list of queer comic characters, and five graphic novels brimming with queer representation.
In both the comics and the mythos, Loki is genderfluid, despite the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)has largely pretended this was not the case up to this point. There is also a popular character called Lady Loki, which is Loki’s feminine persona. Loki has always been a queer coded villain, but only recently has his character been able to fully present as queer. Lady Loki didn’t appear until much later, though there is heavy speculation about how this character will impact both Marvel Comics and the MCU over the next few years.
This well-loved character has technically been out since the original Hellblazer run back in 1992. The topic of his sexuality was then something of controversy for years to come. It wasn’t until 2015 in Constantine: The Hellblazer that he was finally able to freely express his sexuality. Constantine is also a part of the TV series Legends of Tomorrow, where he remains out and proud.
While the popular TV series Riverdale ignores this fact, Jughead is canonically asexual. Jughead came out in the comic Jughead No. 4. Fans of the comics had been speculating that this was the case for a while, so to have it confirmed delighted many fans. With so little asexual representation in media, many were ecstatic that a beloved classic character like Jughead has finally come out of the closet.
Making her first appearance back in 1956, Batwoman quickly became a fan favorite. However, due to poor Batman comic sales, her character was killed off and wasn’t brought back into canon until 2006. Upon her return the comics, it was revealed that she was both Jewish and a lesbian, making her popularity skyrocket. While there has been criticism for this choice by old-school comic fans, Batwoman has become one of the most well-known queer characters in all of DC.
Originally a character created for Batman: the Animated Series, Renee Montoya quickly became a beloved character in the Batman comics. As a police detective for Gotham City, she spent a lot of time coming in contact with Batman and his vigilante justice. After being outed as a lesbian to the Gotham PD, she left policing and took up the mantle of the vigilante The Question.
A recent addition to the DC Comics canon, Jackson “Jake” Hyde took on the mantle of Aqualad in 2010. Later in 2016, it was revealed that his character was gay and had a boyfriend. Recently, in You Brought Me The Ocean, Jake got to be reintroduced as queer from the start in his coming-of-age story. You Brought Me The Ocean takes place before Jake finds the Young Justice League and is a lovely take on the superhero origin story.
A recent addition to Batman comics, Ghost-Maker is quickly becoming a bisexual icon. Created by James Tynion IV, a bi man himself, Ghost-Maker is a welcome addition to the DC universe. While DC has not always handled queer characters with the greatest respect, a lot of people have high hopes that Ghost-Maker will be handled with care. You can find Ghost-Maker in Batman #107.
Recently, Speed and Wiccan were introduced to the MCU. You may recognize him as Tommy, one of the twins in WandaVision. Speed is a member of the Young Avengers and a bisexual superhero. Many fans of the Young Avengers are hopeful that the MCU will accurately represent the story, as Speed is not the only queer superhero.
Wiccan, also known as Billy, has also been recently introduced to the MCU as the son of Wanda Maximoff and Vision. He is a member of the Young Avengers, is gay, and is in a relationship with yet another queer Young Avenger, Hulkling. One of the few queer characters in a committed relationship, Wiccan quickly became a high-profile queer character in the comics. Many are delighted to see his entrance into the MCU and are hopeful for what it means for the future.
First appearing in 2005, Hulkling is a member of the Young Avengers and openly queer. Originally meant to be a woman posing as a man in order to hide the fact he was gay, after some thought, the creators adapted the Hulkling character to who he is now. Which lead to the most high-profile gay relationship in Marvel comics: Hulking and Wiccan later made history as the first gay marriage in the Marvel comics. You can find the wedding in both Empyre #5 and Empyre Aftermath: Avengers #1.
Comics and Graphic Novels With Queer Characters
There are tons more queer characters across all kinds of comics and graphic novels. If you’re looking for reads that are full of queer characters, here are five options for you to look at!
The Wicked + The Divine Vol 1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie
Twelve gods become human once every 90 years. Some of them are loved, some are hated, some are feared, and all will be dead in two years.
A story where fame becomes godlike, and godlike is little more than fame. The clock is ticking. Just because the gods are immortal does not mean they can’t die.
The Old Guard by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández
Blessed (or maybe cursed) with immortality, Andromache and the rest of the old guard spend eternity helping those who can afford their services. While they help where they can, living in the 21st century can be hard for an immortal trying to remain anonymous.
Brimming with queer characters from across the world, this is a story about camaraderie and avoiding fates even worse than death.
LumberJanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn Allen, and Shannon Watters
The camp is called Miss Quinzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for Hard-Core Lady-Types, and what happens at the camp is even more impressive than the name! For the campers attending, this is going to be a summer to remember. Filled with magical quests, three-eyed foxes, and secret caves, this is a joy from start to finish.
Nubia: Real One by L.L. McKinney and Robyn Smith
Nubia has always been different, and even though she has the same incredible powers of Wonder Woman, there is no shortage of people telling her that she is no Wonder Woman.
When her best friend Quisha is threatened by an overconfident town bad boy, Nubia will risk it all to be the hero she knows she is.
Heartwood: Non-binary Tales of Sylvan Fantasy Collected by Joamette Gil
A graphic novel anthology written entirely by nonbinary authors, this collection spans across time and culture. With stories of adventure, growing up, and cautionary tales, there’s a story in here for everyone. With a wide selection of stories that all ring with magic from folklore and fairytales, this is a collection about the power of transformation and self-discovery.
Now that so many queer characters and stories entering more and more comic book canon, there are tons to explore. As comic fans, we can only hope that comics continue to diversify and tells stories of representation.