When the mutant superhero Iceman came out last month — thanks to a one-two punch of his prying telepathic teammate and a time-travel visit from his younger self — he immediately became the most prominent gay comic book character. But his revelation was far from the only story line involving gay, lesbian and transgender characters in the fast-evolving world of comic-book narratives.
In October, Alysia Yeoh, a transgender friend of Batgirl, and her girlfriend Jo were married in a simple ceremony unmarred by super-villainy; Peter Parker, perhaps better known as Spider-Man, attended the wedding of Max Modell, his scientific mentor and gay colleague; and Wiccan and Hulkling, a superpowered gay couple, joined a division of the Avengers along with Hawkeye and Songbird. In August, Wonder Woman officiated a lesbian wedding, and since June, fans have been treated to the monthly adventures of Midnighter, who is out about his heroic identity and his sexual orientation. That month also saw the first issue of “Stripling Warrior,” which features superheroes that are gay and lesbian — and Mormon.
“The industry is catching on pretty quickly to the fact that diversity can improve sales of comics,” Josh Siegel, founder of Geeks Out, wrote in an email. “So publishers are evolving their lines of books to showcase queer characters in a number of interesting ways.”