From the Avengers to the X-Men, Marvel is home to many of our favorite superheroes. With such a large group of characters spread out over numerous universes and timelines, it is no surprise that more than a few are LGBTQ. Marvel has had a difficult history of letting the limelight shine on gay characters, but in recent years some of our favorite heroes, like Iceman, have been free to come out. Deadpool, Beast, Mary Jane Watson — some LGBTQ characters are well known, and others may shock you. Here are 9 awesome LGBTQ Marvel characters you should know about:
When it comes to Deadpool, one thing is for sure: Gay, straight, woman, man — Deadpool will come on to you. Readers have struggled to label the Merc with a Mouth, but perhaps the failure to accurately do so lies in people trying too hard to fit him into a narrow mold of straight, gay, or bisexual. When it comes down to it, Deadpool is pansexual. This was confirmed by Deadpool writer Gerry Duggan in December 2013. Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza explained:
"Deadpool is whatever sexual inclination his brain tells him he is in that moment. And then the moment passes. He is no sex and all sexes. He is yours and everyone else's."
Wiccan (Billy) first appeared in Young Avengers #1 using the alias Asgardian. When he was younger, Billy was bullied because he was gay. One day, Billy encountered the Avenger the Scarlet Witch, who encouraged him to stand up for himself the next time he was bullied. A few weeks later, Billy nearly killed his tormentor by standing up to him and channeling his mutant magic-like powers for the first time.
Wiccan's most notable storylines include his search for his missing mother, learning to master his powers, and his ongoing relationship with his teammate, the alien known as Hulkling. Together, Wiccan and Hulkling have been referred to as "Marvel's most prominent gay couple," and have been the focus of much praise for illustrating diversity and progression in comic books.
Mystique is yet another character who defies categorization when it comes to sexuality. There is no doubt among comic book readers that Mystique was in a relationship with the mutant known as Destiny. In fact, Mystique was designed by writers to have a relationship with Destiny, but editorial authorities at the time did not allow for this to be directly expressed. As a result, the proof of their relationship is seen in a less overt way.
In Marvel Fanfare #40, Mystique and Destiny are seen dancing romantically, with Mystique in the form of a man. Writer Chris Claremont slipped in another hint when, on one occasion, the Shadow King referred to Destiny as Mystique’s “leman,” an archaic term for lover. Mystique’s mourning over Destiny after she died illustrates the gravity that comes with the loss of a partner. Both women had a long history together, which included raising Rogue, who later joined the X-Men.
Xavin is Skrull, an alien species that can change form at will, making Xavin one of the few trans/gender fluid characters in the Marvel Universe. Xavin’s natural gender began as male and first appeared to the Runaways in the form of a black male. He later changed into a black female just for the sake of Karolina Dean, a lesbian whom Xavin was to marry. Xavin often changes through three main forms: human female, human male, and true Skrull. This has left many characters within the series (as well as readers) questioning the nature of Xavin's gender. Xavin stated, "for [a Skrull], just changing our gender is no different than changing our hair color."
5. Mary Jane Watson
As most Marvel readers know, there are an infinite number of universes and we live in the reality called Earth 616. In the alternate universe named the Legacy Planet (Earth 8545), Mary Jane Watson operates as Spider-Woman. Here, she is the counterpart of our Spider-Man. Here, Mary Jane is a lesbian, in love with Mariko Yashida who is this dimension's Sunfire. The circumstances of the romance between the two is tragic, laced with separation-induced heartbreak due to Sunfire being pulled in and out of the Legacy Planet reality. After Sunfire's death, she was buried in the Legacy Planet reality so Mary Jane could visit her grave.
First appearing in Issue 2 of New Mutants Vol. 2, Victor Borkowski, code name Anole, is a student at the Xavier Institute and junior member of the X-Men. His reptilian-like mutation gives him abilities that include wall-crawling, a prehensile tongue, and adaptive camouflage.
One of the few openly gay characters in the Marvel Universe, Anole was originally created as part of a story that saw him committing suicide after coming out as gay and being rejected by his parents and his friends. The plot was reworked due to its controversial nature, and Anole developed a large enough fan-following that he continued on in the X-Universe.
Originally a student at the Xavier Institute, David Alleyne, alias Prodigy, is a mutant who can absorb the knowledge and skills of anyone within a limited distance. After the events of House of M, he lost his mutant powers, but maintained his superhero status. Later, he joined the Young Avengers and, while stranded in another dimension with Hulkling, shared his first same-sex kiss. In Issue 9, Prodigy revealed he is bisexual. The Young Avengers group collectively is often seen as a LGBT superhero team, and Prodigy was a welcome addition to it.
This may come as a surprise to many, but there is a gay version of Beast in existence. As with the aforementioned Mary Jane, this Henry McCoy exists in another universe, specifically Earth 763. Here, Beast's mutation progressed into a more brutish appearance and a loss of most intellect. Beast was also in a relationship with his universe's Wonder Man. Sadly, Wonder Man was mortally wounded in battle alongside Beast. Beast was then taken from Earth 763 and recruited by the Exiles.
Northstar is perhaps the most well-known gay superhero of all time. Between being one of the first openly gay superheroes in American comics, and the first openly gay character to come out in a Marvel Comic, Northstar has garnered a lot of attention over his career. He continued this trend when he married his husband, Kyle Jinadu, in Astonishing X-Men #51 in 2012. This was the first depiction of gay marriage in mainstream comics.
Like many, Northstar was gay from the start, but creator John Byrne was restricted in how clearly he could depict this due to Marvel's policies against openly homosexual characters. Rather than pursuing women, Northstar sought to become a ski champion. Subtle hints of Northstar's orientation were all writers could provide, and any large suggestions, such as Bill Mantlo's attempt to reveal that Northstar had AIDS, were extinguished. It was not until 1992 that Northstar was finally able to come out in Alpha Flight #106.
Since joining the X-Men, Northstar became a role model for his Alpha Squadron student Anole. Northstar also harbored unrequited feelings for fellow X-Man Iceman, a story that might play out later now that Iceman and Northstar are on more than just one team together.
For a more in-depth look at some of comic book characters who are LGBTQ in the DC comic universe, check out the video below:
Who is your favorite LGBTQ character in the Marvel Universe? Tell us in the comments below.