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Comics Pride
July 2, 2012 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Comics Pride: 50 Comics and Characters That Resonate with LGBT Readers.

The good folk at Comics Alliance have "asked dozens of LGBT people working in or around comics to nominate comics and characters" for a list of LGBT/queer friendly comics and characters that contains everything from Maurice Vellekoop to X-static.
posted by MartinWisse (41 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Maxx better be fucking in there, said my brain. AND LO.

Also, I loved the arc between Vivisector and Phat in X-Statix. It did a pretty good job of subverting the whole "well, we have exactly two gay characters of the same gender and that clearly means they're soul mates" thing.
posted by griphus at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


When he's on form Peter Milligan is great at that kind of thing.
posted by Artw at 8:58 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Somewhat USA centric, so I'll nominate several more European LGBT/queer friendly comics:

Ralph Konig for The Killer Condom, in which a gay detective is on the hunt for a condom that preys on, well, gay cock. And not in a good way. But also for his more slice of life stories of gay life.

Claire Bretecher for Les Frustes, very seventies stories of straight and LGBR characters in search of meaning in their middle class lives.

Hendrik J. Vos' gay science fiction fairy tale "De Prins van de Paardekop".

Honorable mention for Jan Kruis' long running family gag strip Jan, Jans en de Kinderen for its very low key, matter of fact introduction of various LGBT characters.

More?
posted by MartinWisse at 8:58 AM on July 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


When he's not on form, I buy 12 issues of Revolver on eBay only to find out that Rogan Gosh is unreadable.
posted by griphus at 9:00 AM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


No Element Lad? Lame.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:04 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Where's Nightwing? They had Wonder Woman but no Nightwing?
posted by Acheman at 9:09 AM on July 2, 2012


No V for Vendetta? Beto Hernandez? Or that comic I made in 10th grade Family Studies class about the guy with appendicitis who wasn't covered by his husband's health insurance?

Okay, that last one may be a little obscure.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2012


Where's Nightwing? They had Wonder Woman but no Nightwing?

Do ass shots count as "resonant"?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:17 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oooh, everyone should read the Berlin comics by Jason Lutes. Although since they have been coming out at longer and longer intervals since 1996 I'm not sure they'll ever be finished, which makes me sad. But there are several simply great queer characters and a lot of historically accurate stuff about queer life in Berlin prior to the rise of the Nazis. And the plot arc about Marthe and Anna is very emotionally real, absolutely how people act. Berlin is just about the only comic by a straight dude that I think takes queer women primarily as people instead of fantasies (with the exception of Love and Rockets, although that has some elements of fantasy but in a way that I find rather sweet instead of gross.)
posted by Frowner at 9:18 AM on July 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ralph Konig for The Killer Condom, in which a gay detective is on the hunt for a condom that preys on, well, gay cock. And not in a good way.

Ralf König has a huge catalogue of genuinely funny comics that I can mostly recommend (although sometimes a tad racist), my favorite has always been Bulls Balls ("Bullenklöten").

Another title by a young german artist, but unfortunately not available in english: Punkrock Heartland.
posted by ts;dr at 9:19 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel that there should be more Peter Milligan, but as the only person with two on that list already, that might just be piling it on. (I was hoping to see Lenny from Shade the Changing Man also.)

He also gets points for treating gay characters the exact same way as straight ones when he felt one of the periodic urges in Xstatics to kill off half the cast. (That pink furry one from SF, can't remember the name- there is a reason for that.)

As much as comics are lagging horribly behind with treating women as actual human beings, I think that they have made some pretty huge strides with regards to queer characters.
posted by Hactar at 9:20 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Garth Ennis may be a bit of a provocative suggestion, but I think he's written gay characters quite well. Of course, the debate is whether that's coming from a sincere place, or if he just hacks out positive & 'normal' gay characters to act as a critical buffer and counter-balance the less tasteful stuff he writes.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:29 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Ralf König should be on this list (and probably would've been if it had been compiled by a mostly European crowd; his work is hugely popular there). Bulls Balls is great - a realistic, hilarious and sexy study of a gay couple who decide to wander a little after ten years together - as is Maybe....Maybe Not (haven't got to the sequel yet).

Not sure where your "sometimes a tad racist" stuff is coming from, ts;dr - can you clarify? That's a strong accusation but I don't recall anything like that in what I've read. Is it Ramon the construction worker in Bull's Balls?
posted by mediareport at 9:39 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oddly, I predicted this post.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:40 AM on July 2, 2012


No Batman & Robin?! Fail.
posted by chavenet at 9:42 AM on July 2, 2012


What about Phil, Buddy Bradley's bisexual doppleganger in Hate!?
posted by jonmc at 9:52 AM on July 2, 2012


No Batman & Robin?! Fail.

Apollo and Midnighter are as close as anyone will ever get while DC still holds the reigns to the characters.
posted by griphus at 9:53 AM on July 2, 2012


I mean, I thought at the time (while knowing it wouldn't happen) that it would be hilarious if the Big DC Character that got outed was Nightwing, because it would have been like one of those family things where Uncle Claude who has been living with his 'roommate' for twenty years gets all the family around the table and is all 'I have a massive and shocking revelation'. And everybody has to act all surprised.
posted by Acheman at 9:59 AM on July 2, 2012


Wandering Son, Tank Girl, Love & Rockets, craptons of indie and web comics... This list is actually a lot better than I expected. I'd rank Sandman a lot lower--even though it's one of my Favorite Comics Ever, I do feel like the GLBT characters are surprisingly...uh...--but these things are always pretty arbitrary.

I would like to chime in and also announce that I would've liked to see Lenny from Shade there, though.
posted by byanyothername at 10:00 AM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]



Oooh, everyone should read the Berlin comics by Jason Lutes.

This just needs to be repeated as much as possible.
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 AM on July 2, 2012


Phoebe Gloeckner doesn't count?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:10 AM on July 2, 2012


It is after all a compilation of the individual lists of several dozen people, which according to the article came to some 250 comics and characters; whittling that down to just fifty obviously means some favourites will be lost.

Looking at the bright side, it's better to be annoyed that your favourite character/comic is left off than that you could fit all of them on one fifty entries list.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:29 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, an opportunity to tell my Diane DiMassa story!

So my girlfriend is a fan of Hothead Paisan (and underground comix by women in general), and Alison Bechdel had a thing on her blog a while back that DiMassa was selling prints for absurdly cheap. I lunged at the chance to get inexpensive art from someone we liked.

So I ordered these two prints (can you imagine a better birthday gift for a lesbian english professor with an underground comix streak?!) with a note that they were for my girlfriend.

When they arrived, the prints came with a hand-written note from DiMassa:

HOPE YOU GET LAID!!!

...she's had a special place in my heart since then.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 10:37 AM on July 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


Yay! Colleen Coover!
posted by redsparkler at 10:56 AM on July 2, 2012


*sigh* Here's the thing about Northstar: he was a character in an ensemble comic about a third-tier team, and he was always a douchebag well before it was decided he was gay. I was glad when Marvel stepped up to the plate with having an LGBT character, but when I found out it was Northstar, it all seemed very cynically calculated.

Northstar was a guy who could've been shot in the head & left dead in a gutter and the vast majority of fans wouldn't have given a damn. I felt like using him to take this step was a pretty feeble way to do it. Yes, they've gotten better about this, but... yeah. I still wince when I hear something like, "First openly gay mainstream comic superhero!" because that's the only reason Northstar stood out as a character.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:52 AM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


This list led me to check out Kate Or Die, so that made me happy with it.
posted by kyrademon at 12:08 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Could be worse, he could be The least popular Green Lantern.

No Batman & Robin?! Fail.

Apollo and Midnighter are as close as anyone will ever get while DC still holds the reigns to the characters.


Its identify with, though, not "is a LGBT character in comics", so Batman would be a legit choice.

I was actually wondering if Midnighter and Apollo would make it on at all - sure, they probably have some importance in the history of gay characters but do people really identify with them, what with them basically being created pretty much as a gay Barman and Superman stand ins and then spending much of their carreers being written by Mark Millar... It seems like they'd be more symbolic than resonant characters. But I guess people DO respond to them, as they do with some of the characters in this thread. Comics are a bizarre pantheon of mythology where everyone is someone's darling.
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on July 2, 2012


I don't remember who was writing the storyline wherein Apollo gets kidnapped and Midnighter needs to rescue him, but it was sort of great to see a damsel gentleman-in-distress story.

The issue where Midnighter violates a Captain America analogue with a jackhammer was a bit problematic, though.
posted by griphus at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2012


Northstar's closet was always a bit see-through, though, as discussed here by John Byrne.

That did make it awkward in the era between Byrne's more coded work and Northstar's official outing when they made him a literal fairy from fairyland.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 12:34 PM on July 2, 2012


I picked up the first Hopeless Savages book my first year of college, before I was out to anyone but my closest friends. I was so envious of Twitch: he had amazing parents who encouraged genuineness (and who shared traditional gender jobs -- one flashback showed Dirk Hopeless taking care of the kids and cooking dinner), and who couldn't care less that their child was gay, only that he was happy. If I remember right, Twitch was more worried about the mod thing.

God, I wanted to be a Hopeless-Savage so badly.
posted by gc at 12:45 PM on July 2, 2012


No Batman & Robin?! Fail.

Seriously. Making a list of gay-resonating comic book heroes without including BATMAN AND EFFING ROBIN ??!

It's like making a list of famous US presidents and not including George Washington because he's the first one everyone thinks of.

Listen, I don't care if you are new gay straight gay old gay black gay brown gay yellow green red white or blue gay half-gay or full-on gay gay, Batman and Robin relationship is to gay comic book canon what Kermit the Frog is to the story of puppetry.

They may not "be" gay. Their creators may deny their gay identities. But when it comes to gay comic heroes the only way it gets more gay than Batman and Robin would require an origin story that takes place in secret mens club locker room for billionaire bachelors who happened to have been orphaned and which centers the introduction of gamma-radiated lube.

If the Jeopardy answer was "Gay comic book icons more gay-centric than Batman and Robin," the question would either be, "What's your dad, Alex," or a Taoist koan.

Batman and Robin is to gay what man couples is to gay. Abstracting Batman and Robin from gay cannot be done. They are fractals, concretes, absolutes. Batman and Robin are to gay what Superman is to superhero. Ipso facto.

Like Grant Morrison put it in Playboy, "Gayness is built into Batman...All these women fancy him and they all wear fetish clothes and jump around rooftops to get to him. He doesn’t care—he’s more interested in hanging out with the old guy and the kid.
posted by Mike Mongo at 12:47 PM on July 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The issue where Midnighter violates a Captain America analogue with a jackhammer was a bit problematic, though.

IT'S MILLARTIME!

when Ellis created them they were very much a subtle but undeniable version of Superman and Batman as a couple - a neat idea but like a lot of Ellis stuff a bit dry and conceptual, he's never really been big on character stuff that wasn't just himself blown out of proportion. Then Millar comes along and it's shit like that all the time. So I was wondering if they'd make it in at all and a bit suprised to see them so high up - but there's no denying their high profile and do a lot of asskicking.
posted by Artw at 1:00 PM on July 2, 2012


Sorry Mike, I'm going to take the exact opposite position here because my reaction to the list was that they had me right up to yet another "tee hee, these two beloved children's characters are secretly fucking!" Patty and Lucy reference and then I just sighed once more and left frustrated. I guess they didn't have room for Velma jokes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:01 PM on July 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not sure where your "sometimes a tad racist" stuff is coming from, ts;dr - can you clarify?

yes, it is the exotism of the repressed sexualized foreigner that keeps coming up in Königs comics. Turks or Spaniards are rarely more then latently homophobic sexual objects for the german characters.
These are racist cliches in my eyes.

And then there are his anti-islamic comics.
posted by ts;dr at 1:07 PM on July 2, 2012


Garth Ennis may be a bit of a provocative suggestion, but I think he's written gay characters quite well. Of course, the debate is whether that's coming from a sincere place, or if he just hacks out positive & 'normal' gay characters to act as a critical buffer and counter-balance the less tasteful stuff he writes.

I think around about the time of Kevin someone took him aside regarding all the buggery jokes and he really took it to heart.

At the same time, he still has a bunch of buggery jokes.
posted by Artw at 1:15 PM on July 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


And then there are his anti-islamic comics.

I can understand the exotic dark-skinned Other criticism, certainly, but you're going to have to do a bit of explaining (and translating) if you're trying to convince me that those "anti-islamic comics" are something other than fair game political/religious cartoons, of a sort you find all over the world. I'm open to your implication that there's something awful about them, just need you to explain a bit what you feel is problematic about them.
posted by mediareport at 2:29 PM on July 2, 2012


Hmm. Those really don't need a lot of translation
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on July 2, 2012


No Zot! ? Booooo!
posted by Bonzai at 5:46 PM on July 2, 2012


Not a bad list - surprised Revolutionary Girl Utena wasn't there, though. But everyone's got a favourite comic that's obscure to someone else, I guess...
posted by Sedition at 5:52 PM on July 2, 2012


Those really don't need a lot of translation

Yeah, they seem like pretty much garden variety critiques of stupid religious nonsense. Not sure where that violates some basic human right or anything.
posted by mediareport at 5:43 PM on July 3, 2012


The Utena comic is just completely overshadowed by the anime (which is utterly amazing).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:03 PM on July 3, 2012


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