We are living in an ever-changing society. The world is now faced with some difficult questions that are still unanswered. From the issues of gender equality to racism and stereotyping, our lives are filled with more issues than solutions. These questions plague our world, and it is up to the people of the world to make their decisions on these issues.
One of the greatest ways to promote change is through daily media. Movies, television, social media, books, and web articles have proven to be the greatest catalyst for change in a modern society. From the important interracial kiss between Captain Kirk and Uhura on Star Trek to the popularity of movies and books with strong, prominent female leads like the Hunger Games, our daily media has pushed the boundaries of social change. One medium specifically has brought about a large amount of the social commentary on issues of today: comic books.
Comic books have constantly brought up some of the most difficult subjects in our society. Drug addiction has been addressed by Green Arrow and Green Lantern with Red Arrow. The X-Men comics has brought racism, stereotyping, and genocide to the attention of captive audiences. Watchmen delved into the psychology of superheroes in a modern setting. But one of the greatest social commentaries made in comics of the modern day is the LGBT community.
This article is meant to pay homage to the greatest LGBT comic book characters. The inclusion of these characters have made the comic book genre even more important to our society. These characters have had major impacts on how we see the LGBT community and show that we, as a human race, have the capabilities to change our perspectives and accept the LGBT community into our society. And now, I present to you The LGBT Characters We NEED!
Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
There have been many versions of Catwoman's origin over the years but details of her possible storyline suggested that Selina Kyle was born to Brian and Maria Kyle in the slums of Gotham City. Selina lived on the streets after her mother committed suicide. Eventually Selina was caught and sent to an orphanage. She caused so much trouble that she would be sent to Juvenile Hall. When Selina was 13 years old she was sent back to an orphanage, but she soon discovered that the place was embezzling money. They would confront her and attempt to cover it all up by drowning Selina in a bag dropped into the river. Selina escapes and returns to the orphanage. She steals documentary proof that they were embezzling money and also stole money to live on her own, she sent the documents to the police to expose them.
As Selina grew older, she became a prostitute but she was quietly a cat burglar by night, stealing jewelries and diamonds from museums and rich people's homes.
Catwoman is one of the most recent additions to the LGBT comic book family. In Catwoman #39, it is revealed that Catwoman is bisexual. This was a major development for comic books because she is one of Batman's most common foes and allies. Catwoman is also a frequent lover of the Caped Crusador. If you would like to read more about her, please check out the article here. Catwoman is so important because she is a major character to Batman. Converting a major character related to an even more major character to another sexual orientation is a sure fire way to get attention drawn to it. And Catwoman does exactly that.
Bunker (Miguel Jose Barragan)
Miguel Jose Barragan is a metahuman born in the village of El Chilar, Mexico. Despite his superpowers and his sexuality he was accepted and loved by his family and his village. When he was in his late teens he decided to strike out on his own and become a super-hero.
He leaves his village and Mexico entirely in search of the famed teen hero Red Robin. He boards a train after some minor police matters and finds the cocoon-like Skitter as well as a traveling hobo. The "hobo" later reveals himself to be Tim Drake and after a short scuffle they are beset by mind controlled civilians who're being controlled by Detritus.
I've never been a Teen Titans fan. I never watched the shows or read the comics. I always saw them as a knockoff Justice League. It wasn't until recently that I decided to pick up Teen Titans Vol. 1. My expectations were totally wrong. Of course the team mirrors the Justice League (Red Robin=Batman, Wonder Girl=Wonder Woman, Superboy=Superman, Bunker=Green Lantern, Kid Flash=Flash), but the team makes a name for themselves. Bunker is by far my favorite member of the Teen Titans. Sometimes the other characters seem very cookie cutter, but Bunker is always bringing the fun. He represents gay pride in full force. He's always welcoming the new members to the team and Bunker lightens the mood. Bunker is my personal favorite on the list.
Wiccan (William Kaplam)
Billy Kaplan never had a problem being different than other people. It was other people that had a problem with him. Being raised in a normal home in New York with his loving mother, Rebecca Kaplan, father, Jeff Kaplan, and two brothers, Billy had the average problems for a gay teenager. In school, he met a tremendous amount of hate and fear because he was different. Billy's issues escalated as he grew older and entered high school where his differences became the source of endless torment and violence.
John Kessler was Billy's main nemesis and after receiving a beating that left him sore and bloody, Billy went to his favorite place to calm down -The Avengers Mansion. A woman jogger passed by and asked him if he was okay because she saw the boy was bleeding. Billy explained to the woman what had happened and was shocked to see the woman was none other than Scarlet Witch. Flabbergasted, he then admitted that she was his favorite Avenger.
Once Scarlet Witch had heard the full story of his troubles at school, she told him that next time he was threatened the best thing to do would be to stand up to Kessler. Billy scoffed at her advice and told her maybe if he had powers like her he could. She reassured him that "Everyone has some gift," and advised him that next time he encounter Kessler, not to back down. Billy did not take Scarlet Witch's advice. He avoided Kessler at all costs until one day he saw Kessler had found a new victim. Unable to allow another to suffer Kessler's abuse in his place, he confronted Kessler. While being attacked, Billy's powers manifested for the first time. Unable to control them, he electrocuted Kessler, nearly killing him.
Wiccan proves that a superhero can still have a tragic origin story without having dead parents. Seriously, enough with the dead parents. Batman, Superman, Iron Man, Hal Jordan, Captain America, Dick Grayson, Star Lord, and Hawkeye all have dead parent(s). Why can't we have a tragic backstory to an awesome character without dead parents? Well, Wiccan proves that there are still original backstories to the heroes we love. Wiccan brings gay bullying to the forefront of our attention with his origin. His origin story shows how much a gay teen can be affected by bullying. Not only does his origin show the effects of gay bullying, but his relationship with Hulkling has been one of the most well recieved gay relationships in Marvel comics, even arguably all of comics.
Hulkling (Theodore Altman)
Teddy spent the first sixteen years of his life raised by a Skrull posing as a human who he believed to be his mother. Not knowing of his true origins he believed that his shape-shifting and super-strengh abilities meant that he was a mutant and he kept them secret.
A Super-Skrull kidnapped Teddy and revealed that he was actually Dorrek VIII and the son of Anelle, the Skrull Emperor's daughter, and the only heir to the Skrull empire. But the Emperor had ordered the child's death upon learning who his father was so Teddy was sent to earth to be reunited with his father. Before the Super-Skrull could tell Teddy who his father was the other Young Avengers appeared to rescue Teddy, but they were then interrupted when Kree Soilders appeared claiming that Teddy was Kree.
You want a badass Hulk? Have a Hulkling. Hulkling is a major player in the Hulkling's romance with Wiccan has been one of the defining characteristics of the Young Avengers. Not only has it added another dimension to the story, but it seems as if their romance us a fan favorite. The importance of Hulkling cannot be understated. If the fans of the Young Avengers approve of Hulkling and Wiccan, it shows that society can accept change. The Hulkling and Wiccan relationship has been one of the most major and lasting gay relationships in Marvel's history. Now Marvel has not been placing as much attention on the LGBT community in their comics as DC has. However, Hulkling proves that having LGBT characters and relationships can work in comics without taking away from the overall story of the series.
Batwoman (Kate Kane)
[Kate Kane] and her father were members of the U.S. Army. At an early age while she believed her father to be on deployment, she was abducted by a group of men. Her father returns and rescues her, but not without the apparent death of her sister and the death of her mother. She later joins the military herself, but is forced to release after it is discovered that she is in a relationship with another woman. When she returns home she discovers that her father has proposed to a woman, one with a great wealth. She informs her father of what happened to her, and he praises her for her actions. Soon after she is pulled over for speeding by a young Renee Montoya, which leads to the two of them starting a relationship. This relationship doesn't last long however as Kate chastises Renee for not being open about her sexuality. Soon thereafter Kate also encounters Batman for the first time as he comes to her rescue. Later Kate decides on a vigilante role for herself but is soon after confronted by her father, who although unable to convince her to choose a different path, is successful in convincing her of the need for more training.
Batwoman has a very interesting origin story. I picked up Secret Origins Vol. 1 a few weeks ago, and her origin story was by far one of my favorite origin stories that I didn't know about before. I thought that Batwoman would be a character defined by Batman. She was originally created as a love interest for Batman to ward off the rumors that Batman and Robin were gay. Talk about ironic. I was pleasantly suprised when she turned out to have an origin story completely separate from Batman. That's extremely important for a character like Batwoman. She has come out of Batman's shadow and into her own highly acclaimed comic series.
Why does this even matter?
So why are LGBT characters so important? These characters all prove that society can change for the better. If comic book fans are willing to accept the LGBT characters, we all can become more accepting of LGBT people in the real world. Also, the best thing these characters can do is to continue to raise awareness and kick butt. And so far, they've done just that.
Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier)
Loki (Loki Laufeyson)
Alan Scott (Earth 2)