This page is a feature of Beek's Books:
[super] Reviews of Superhero/Action comics
[les/bi/gay] Reviews of Lesbian/Bi/Gay comics
[smut] Reviews of Sexually-Explicit comics

 Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Super-Heroes
PICTURE Northstar Member of the original Alpha Flight. Announced that he was gay in AF #106 (1992), in a really poorly-written and -drawn story. His gayness has been barely mentioned since. In fact, in a 4-issue limited series starring him, which came out a few years after he did, they focused on his relationship with a woman from his past, leading the casual reader to believe she was his girlfriend or something. I never finished that series, so I can't say if they ever set things "straight" about that. And Northstar was conspicuously absent from the later revival of Alpha Flight (though he eventually showed up).

He's fast, can fly, and used to have a light-based power when in contact with his sister Aurora. Fans speculated about Northstar's orientation almost from the beginning, but AF writer John Byrne was coy about it. For a while Northstar was retconned into being a descendant of the Vanir. As columnist Peter David said in response, "That's right, Northstar's not gay, he's just a fairy. That's much better."

The main evidence that he was supposed to be gay is in AF #7-8, which spotlighted Northstar and Aurora. The two of them visit an old friend of Northstar's, Raymonde Belmonde. When Aurora leaves the two of them alone briefly, Belmonde comments to Northstar, "So you didn't tell her all about me." A little later, we meet Belmonde's long-lost daughter, and Northstar is extremely surprised that he would have a child. In the next issue, the narration tells us: "Much more than a friend, Raymonde Belmonde taught a young Jean-Paul Beaubier [Northstar's secret ID] not to be afraid of his mutant power...or any other thing." And at the end of the story, Aurora blows up at Northstar in the following words: "You -- of all people -- dare to judge my love life!"

In the Northstar origin story which was the backup of AF #11, James Hudson mentions that as a ski champion, Northstar had fame, money, and women, but didn't seem to be too interested in the women. Hudson puts this down to the athlete's obsession with competition.

PICTURE Hector Member of the Pantheon, an extended family of super-powered people modeled after classical Greek and Roman gods and heroes, but with lots of advanced technology. Appeared in The Incredible Hulk in the early #400's, and his sexuality periodically came up in discussion with other Pantheon members. (One of his brothers didn't approve.) Was seen chatting with Northstar at a wedding party.
Shatterstar Intended to be gay, but never officially stated. Marvel canned the writer who was leading up to this revelation in the pages of X-Force (#50-60's).
Amy Chen, former mercenary and assassin, now member of Silver Sable's Wild Pack. Her orientation was established as follows:
Scene: Powell has just attempted to put the moves on Chen. She rejects him. He starts whining about how he can't figure out why she won't sleep with him.
Crippler: "It ain't personal, farmboy, it's 'cause she's a l-"
Chen: "Actually, in his case, it is personal."
... or something like that.

Gregory Wright (the character's creater) had this to say: " to Amy Chen's sexual orientation, it was never EXPLICITLY said in print, but numerous references were planted in my stories. Yes, as far as I'm concerned, and that's all that counts since I created her, she is lesbian, or possibly bi. The reason she was never officially outed had nothing to do with Marvel policy as some have speculated. It was simply a matter of it not being relevant to any of the stories written. I'm glad many folks were interested enough in her to figure it out. And no one ever complained. I would have liked to have written a story that did deal with her orientation, but alas, the book was cancelled before I could do it. Maybe someday."

PICTURE Pied Piper Former member of the Rogues Gallery (old enemies of the Flash). Reformed and now a pal of the current Flash (Wally West). Piper makes gadgets that do funky stuff with sound waves. He came out fairly casually and realistically in The Flash #53, in 1991 (written by William Messner-Loebs).

A few stories have alluded to or touched on his orientation. For example, in Flash #120-121, Piper suspected a right-wing anti-gay politician of being a supposedly-dead member of the Rogues, and went "rogue" again in an effort to take him down. A backup story in Flash annual #10 (a special "young romance" issue) featured Piper trying to deal with a former partner in crime and prevent him from harming his current partner in love James (who shows up from time to time).

PICTURE Maggie Sawyer Head of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit (a division of the police that deals with supervillains). Because she's a cast member of the high-profile Superman books (including a limited series Metropolis S.C.U.), she's hasn't actually said the L-word, (either "lesbian" or "love") but we've seen her partner Toby frequently and she occasionally alludes to her orientation. No powers (just a badge and gun). She was introduced by John Byrne, who dropped repeated hints about her along the way.
PICTURE Hero was a member of the cast of Superboy and the Ravers. He doesn't have powers per se, but has used a few pieces of technology which make up for it. Originally he had a force-field vest; later during the series, he came into possession of one of the H-Dials (from the series Dial 'H' for Hero), which transforms him into a different super-powered character each time he uses it. The writers hinted at his orientation for several issues, as young superheroine Sparx (aka D.C. Force) flirted with him, and he grew more uncomfortable with the direction their friendship was taking. He finally came out to her at the end of Superboy and the Ravers #13, and was given an alien boyfriend named Leander shortly before the series ended. He is the first openly gay African-American character in a comic from a major publisher (though one could make a case for Amanda - described below - as the winner of that prize). He hasn't been seen since Ravers was cancelled.
PICTURE Starman is bisexual... but that statement needs to be clarified. First, the "Starman" is the blue-skinned one, not Jack Knight who is the star of the current Starman series. Mikaal Tomas was an alien hero that DC published stories about many years ago, but dropped. Current series writer James Robinson brought Mikaal back as a member of the supporting cast. As for him being "bisexual"... as an alien, Mikaal doesn't think of gender the same way humans do, and is currently in a relationship with another male (whose dark brown skin is also not an issue to Mikaal). Mikaal and his lover are shown in scenes from time to time.
PICTURE Off-Ramp and Frostbite, two members of the team that starred in the all-too-shortly-lived series Young Heroes In Love, are both somewhere in the "bi" range of the Kinsey scale. In the original promo material for the series, they did a "map" showing which characters liked which, but for George (codename Off-Ramp), they cryptically said "You don't want to know what Off-Ramp likes". This referred to his car, but was widely seen as a hint that he was gay. He is. However, he has also had a series of relationships with women in the past, one of which produced a child.

Meanwhile, Frostbite (a man with ice powers, eventually explained to be a snow elf) was involved in a literally-steamy relationship with Bonfire (a woman with fire powers). Eventually this relationship was going to cool off, as Bonfire figured out that she was in love with another team member. But when the series was cancelled, the writer hastily ended it so that he and George could get together before the end. George was reluctant to admit his attraction to Frostbite, who "brought him out", eventually admitted it, and in the last regular issue, as the other team members all paired up, the two of them sat together, implying that this was the beginning of a relationship between them. The following month, in a #1,000,000 issue set a few hundred millenia in the future, Off-Ramp (travelling through time) ran into Frostbite (still alive). There was no specific reference to the nature of their past relationship, but it was clearly a close and affectionate one.

PICTURE REVIEW of the series There's been some speculation that Connor Hawke (who starred in Green Arrow for three years while his father Oliver Queen was "dead") might be gay, since he doesn't hop in bed with the various women who proposition him. Probably not, but Kevin Smith, slated to write a new Green Arrow series as soon as he and his chosen artists are free, could decide that he is.
PICTURE Comet is a supporting character in the current Supergirl series. It was revealed in the early #20's that Comet, a male superpowered being to whom Supergirl is attracted, has an alter-ego as Andy Jones, a lesbian comedian who is also attracted to Supergirl's alter-ego of Linda Danvers. Supergirl/Linda has a difficult time dealing with the fact that the man she's attracted to is also a woman who's attracted to her.
Ice Maiden Bisexual member of the Justice League America near the end of its run in 1996 (#100-something). Flirted heavily with Fire, one of the other female characters. This was an extended red herring at first, with the "flirtation" with Fire being more along the lines of trying to help Fire get over Ice (who Ice Maiden bore some similarity to). At one point she confirmed that she was interested in women.
Obsidian also a member of the Justice League America near the end of its run in 1996 (#100-something). Never came out as gay, but agonised a lot about being (apparently) asexual. He did have some relationships with women befor this, and one of the things Gerard Jones (the writer) was trying to do was to make a statement against labeling people, so it's probably not appropriate to label him "gay" or even "bi". His powers are darkness-related. He's the son of the original Green Lantern Alan Scott (aka "Sentinel"), and his sister is Jade, who has been featured in Green Lantern.
PICTURE Tasmanian Devil Not the Warner Bros cartoon character; we all know that Bugs "think of me as a sister" Bunny is the gay character there. {grin}

One of the Global Guardians, the semi-obscure group where Fire, Ice, and Ice Maiden got their starts. He can turn into a big furry guy with superstrength and other undefined powers including a "Devil's Scream" howl. His "outing" came from an offhand comment in Justice League International Quarterly about how bad it is for "our kind" in Australia. Later appearances pretty much ignored this, although I think it was mentioned once or twice. And yes, his powers make him something of a "bear."

Blue Jay has appeared only a few times and was identified as gay only outside of the comics themselves. He hung out with the Silver Sorceress in the Justice Leage America/Europe/International period; they both came from another universe or something like that. He could shrink to approximately bird size and had wings. There hasn't been any story dealing with his sexuality. Just a lack of any love interest, and the fact that many people "read" him as gay.
PICTURE El Extraño was one of the New Guardians who came out of the "Millenium 2001" event in 1991. He was one of many stereotypical tokens in a group of stereotypical tokens. These ten heroes were supposed to be representative of humanity, and since 1 in 10 of us are believed to be gay.... Anyway, once Extraño found the Crystal Skull (in the last few issues of NG) he started to look and act a lot more like a real person and not a cardboard stereotype. He was swiftly forgotten after the New Guardians series was cancelled.
From 1989-1994, the Legion of Superheroes had a few characters who were, arguably, gay or bisexual.

PICTURE(Violet) PICTURE(Ayla) Shrinking Violet (from a planet where everyone has the ability to shrink down to a speck) and Lightning Lass (aka Ayla Ranzz, who gained electrical powers in a freak accident, and temporarily became "Light Lass" when her powers changed) were said to be lovers. Both women had previously had boyfriends. They were never explicitly shown to be lovers (i.e. they never kissed, said "I love you" or anything else to indicate they were more than good friends), but the book's creative staff (in particular, editor Michael Eury) held them out as an example of a gay couple in comics.

It should also be noticed that Shrinking Violet spent relatively little time with her boyfriend when they were dating (they were on separate teams). Some readers now see him as a "beard" (that is, a disguise to hide one's homosexuality), though he surely wasn't intended as such when the stories were originally written in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

Also, at the same time the Ayla/Vi relationship was being shown, the Legionnaires were cloned/duplicated, so that, in addition to the 30-something Legion, there was a teenaged Legion running around. The teenaged clone/duplicate of Vi was shown to be confused because she was feeling attracted to Saturn Girl.

PICTURE Element Lad, aka Jan Arrah, was often speculated to be gay in the late 1960s, early 1970s. In the late 1970s/early 1980s, he began dating a female named Shvaughn Erin. In 1991 or 1992, it was revealed that Shvaughn was really a man named Sean, who took gender altering drugs because he was in love with Jan and wanted to be with him. Jan then told Sean that he didn't care one way or the other about the gender of his lover.

The Legion was started over from scratch in 1994, and none of the new versions of these characters (nor any of their colleagues) has given any clear indication of homosexuality. The writers of the series (and its joined-at-the-hip sibling Legionnaires) stated that at least one member of the team was gay... they just haven't confirmed this yet by showing us. There was a possible hint in one issue: Due to some mucking about with reality, the old adult versions of Ayla and Vi (and other Legionnaires) appear, and there's a panel (see the PICTURE) of Vi saying something sweet to Ayla. In the same panel, the current version of Vi is saying something equally saccharine to Kinetix, a character introduced after the 1994 reboot, who has also been on most fans' "short list" of characters who might be gay.

Shortly after this creative team was replaced, one of them revealed that Invisible Kid Lyle Norg (also on several "short list"s) was the character they had in mind, but he didn't know if the new creative team would follow through on this.

Anima is bisexual. She was introduced in New Titans annual #9 and had an ongoing series that lasted for a year or so. The series was an odd mixture of Jungian archetype psychophilosophy and then-trendy "grrrl" culture. A character with AIDS was part of the story. Anima was reportedly outed in Justice League America #105 (when Gerard Jones was playing around with sexuality labeling), possibly in the letter column.
Tony Mantegna Member of the most recent incarnation of the Secret Six, is gay. He was introduced in Action Comics Weekly #601 and outed sometime in that first story arc. The word "gay" was never used. Tony was shown, however, mourning at the grave of his lover, for which the stone had a male name. He also rejected an offer of a romantic liaison with a woman, although I don't recall if he explicitly stated why.
PICTURE (Silhoutte & Justice) PICTURE (Cap Metro) Silhouette, Hooded Justice, and Captain Metropolis (DC, but not part of their shared universe). Alan Moore's landmark Watchmen had references to and appearances by a WWII-era superhero team called the Minutemen. Three of them were gay, but had inversely proportional "screen time" depending on how "out" they were. Silhouette was specifically referred to by another Minutemen member as a lesbian, but appeared in only a few panels, and had exactly one line of her own in the entire book. Hooded Justice was very strongly hinted to be gay, and had a small but important role in one scene. Captain Metropolis (Nelson Gardner, or "Nelly") was very obliquely implied to be gay (he and H.J. were said to be "like an old married couple") and appeared not just in flashbacks, but in "the present".
The 1983 limited series Camelot 3000 involved knights of the round table being resurrected to fight aliens. One of the knights who was resurrected was Tristan -- but he was resurrected into a woman's body. There was a lot of angst about him being a man trapped in a woman's body, especially when 1) his lover, Isolde, was resurrected, also as a woman, and 2) when Tom, a 30th century companion of the knights fell in love with Tristan.
PICTURE Apollo and the Midnighter are characters based loosely on the Superman and Batman archetypes, introduced in the final issues of StormWatch vol.2, then carried over into the series The Authority. They were first shown living together in hiding from the madman who'd given them their powers, and were subsequently brought into the fold of the WildStorm universe's main superhero team (the aforementioned StormWatch and its successor, the Authority).

The characters' sexual orientation has never been a focus of any storylines or subplots, and in fact has never been explicitly stated. But during the time they've been around, they've consistently been portrayed as very close, and when one was seriously injured in a fight, the other was shown cradling him with a kind of intimacy and speaking with a level of protectiveness that seemed to go beyond mere friendship.

In response to reader questions, the characters' creator Warren Ellis has said, "Yes, Apollo and Midnighter are, in the debased English parlance, up each other. So what?" (Though he later recanted the implication that it didn't matter, acknowledging the reasons that are quite obvious to anyone reading this page.)

Rainmaker of Gen13 is a lipstick lesbian, used mostly by writer Brandon Choi for cheap het-boy titillation. The biggest example of it was having Sarah stare at Fairchild's ass while giving Roxy a back rub. As a character, she competent if a bit aloof. She isn't the most warm and cuddly person, but is still loyal and good. You know the drill. How it's handled depends on the writer, and nearly every guest writer (Hughes, PAD, etc.) makes some reference to it.
PICTURE Enigma I've just spoiled a major revelation from this 8-issue limited series (also available as a trade paperback), but how else was I going to include him in the list? {smile} Don't worry; there are plenty of other neat revelations in this series.
PICTURE Fade Member of the Blood Syndicate. It was revealed to the readers that he's gay, and a couple of his fellow gang members know, but most of them don't. Like most of the Syndicate, he got his powers (the ability to fly, pass through objects, and see a few seconds into the future) from "tear gas" (really an experimental substance) used on gang members at a rumble. He had an unrequited love for Tech-9, the original leader of the Syndicate, who died in one of their early adventures.
REVIEW of the series DonnerPICTURE and BlitzenPICTURE are a lesbian couple. They were members of the Shadow Cabinet, and later the team that starred in the mini-series Heroes. Donner (German) has super strength (and muscles to match), Blitzen (Asian) has super speed. Their relationship was portrayed rather positively and matter-of-factly.
(Milestone - which has stopped publishing comics - also had some other characters worth noting: Masquerade was a Blood Syndicate member who was female but - thanks to her morphing powers - posed as a man. Lt. Marissa Rahm was a male-to-female transsexual cop who starred in the Deathwish mini-series. Rick was a friend of teenage hero Static and came out to Static in "What Are Little Boys Made Of?" issues #16-20.)
PICTURE REVIEW of the series Amanda (Jimmie Robinson) Star of the self-published CyberZone and the Image-published Amanda & Gunn limited series. She's a freelance crimefighter with an intelligent gun, who was unashamedly portrayed as a lesbian. Robinson even played with fire with a storyline in which the mind of Amanda's lover was put in a (pre-adolescent) girl's body, and the two tried to continue their relationship.
Badger (Mike Baron - also published by Image) Badger isn't exactly gay... but he suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder, and Max (one of his personalities) is gay.
Heartbreakers (Anina Bennett, Paul Guinan - also published by Image) A group of women who are all genetically-enhanced clones of each other. Had a story in Gay Comics #23 (reprinted in the new Heartbreakers: Bust Out paperback) called "My Lover... My Clone!", the title of which is pretty self-explanatory.
PICTURE REVIEW of the series Turbo Charge - Teenage self-appointed sidekick of Prime (introduced in vol.1,#16, came out vol.1,#24). Michael Hardaway has super speed from an experimental treament for his diabetes. The coming-out scene was handled sensitively and realistically, but the series came to a close shortly after (as did all of the Malibu series when Marvel bought the company), so there was little follow-up.
Spectral, a member of The Strangers was gay. They were a group of ordinary San Franciscans who gained powers when something happened to them on a cable car. Writer Steve Englehart played it coy about Spectral at first, but it came out (so to speak). One of the other characters just asked Dave point blank if he was gay, and thereafter it was just an accepted thing. The way his powers worked was that he glowed in different colors (yes, like a rainbow) each of which produced different powers: fire, air, strength, plant growth (?), etc. In a later issue, Spectral came out to an Army General (this was during the "Don't ask, Don't tell..." hullaballoo), for no apparent reason, except to make a statement.
Joan Hilty PICTURE The Luna Legion A team of lesbian heroes who've appeared in several issues of Oh..., a women's comics magazine from B Publications in Canada. Some of the cast has also appeared in a few issues of Gay Comics. Immola (a flame thrower) is the star of the group, the rest of whom are really just supporting cast for her: Diabolique, Cuffs, Sphynx, and Kovis (the Legion's manager).
Lucifyr is a "superhuman winged avenger" in Queer Nation: The Online Gay Comic. The series is set in a world where the a comet caused lesbians worldwide to vanish, which led to the election of Pat Robertson as president of the United States. Lucifyr has a flaming sword and wings, and has slaughtered a couple of fag-bashers he caught in the act. Additional superhero characters are promised.
Andy Mangels Pride A gay superhero who has appeared occasionally in Gay Comics (particularly the superhero issues). He has the usual flying and strength powers. (He used to be called Sentinel, but DC decided they wanted to use that name, so Mangels had to give it up.)
PICTURE REVIEW of the series Leatherboy (Craig Maynard) Featured in 3-issue "adults only" series. An alien from the gay planet L'thur (with two fathers) who wears nothing but a skimpy harness and thong as his costume, and is surprised and devastated when he's "outed" to the public.
Mermaid Go-Go Boy The central character is a gay man with super speed and a night job as a dancer (hence the joke of the title). I'm not sure what happened to this one... the publisher was a small one, the scenario had quite a few cliches, and the art was rather weak, so I'm guessing it's gone.
Midnight Mink & Chippy A fairly obvious satire of Batman and Robin in Rick Veitch's Brat Pack mini-series. The Mink lives up to all of the crude insinuations about the relationship between Batman & Robin. Sick fun, but not a good role model. {grin}
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Find a comic book shop Other, non-superhero comic books with gay or gender-bending characters (some major, some minor):
  • Chiaroscuro (DC/Vertigo),
  • The Invisibles (DC/Vertigo),
  • Sandman (DC/Vertigo),
  • Death: The Time of Your Life (DC/Vertigo),
  • Shade the Changing Man (DC/Vertigo),
  • Millenium Fever (DC/Vertigo),
  • Naughty Bits (Fantagraphics),
  • Love & Rockets (Fantagraphics),
  • Stuck Rubber Baby (DC/Paradox),
  • Seven Miles A Second (DC/Vertigo Verite),
  • Strangers in Paradise (Abstract, Image),
  • The Copybook Tales (Slave Labor),
  • Breakneck Blvd (Slave Labor),
  • The Waiting Place (Slave Labor),
  • Tales of the Closet (Hetrick-Marting Institute),
  • Steven's Comics,
  • Glitch,
  • Gay Comics,
  • Dykes to Watch Out For (Firebrand),
  • Ranma 1/2 (Viz),
  • The Desert Peach (Aeon),
  • Leonard & Larry (Palliard),
  • Omaha the Cat Dancer (Kitchen Sink, Fantagraphics),
  • Savage Love,
  • Strange-Looking Exile (Giant Ass),
  • Hothead Paisan (Giant Ass),
  • Coley (Eros),
  • Meatmen,
  • Wendel.
  • Various gay comic strips have had "superhero" episodes, in which the characters put on tights and fought crime, but these are generally one-shot spoofs, so I didn't bother listing them.
    Mikel Midnight maintains lists of Transvestite and Transsexual superheroes and BDSM comics.
    Some individual issues of superhero books with gay themes (in addition to those mentioned above):
  • Black Lightning vol.2 #5 (DC)
  • The Spectre vol.3 #45 (DC)
  • The Green Hornet vol.2 #35 (Now)
  • Zot! #33 (Eclipse)
  • Ninja High School #41-43 (Antarctic)
  • Quantum Leap #9 (Innovation)
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