The five most powerful and important LGBT storylines in Marvel Comics’ 80 year history
Colourful comic strips bearing the Marvel logo have been lifted to the big screen for more than a decade, but the publisher is more than just Chris Evans’ biceps and Scarlett Johansson playing a character that is both a cis woman and not a tree.
The billion-dollar studio has brought the comic book landscape into an vivid and critically-acclaimed cinematic universe, but the first MCU film was only back in 2008.
Marvel Comics itself started 80 years ago.
And while superhero movies aren’t exactly known as beacons for representation (in fact, they’re more lighting rods for the lack of it) the Marvel Comics have contained groundbreaking LGBT+ figures and storylines, and here are five of them:
1. Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins #13, (1993).
A young woman whom is the last in line of a family of defenders against an ancient evil who happens to be a lesbian.
Victoria Montesi was Marvel’s first lesbian character and was pretty much the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer, balancing real-world problems with battling and battering mystical monsters.
She struggled to get the best of both worlds throughout the series, with an unsupportive family who viewed her sexuality as sinful.
2. Young Avengers (2005).
Well, the adults can’t have all the fun.
Young Avengers featured two major characters, teenagers Hulkling and Wiccan, from the get-go.
The couple are openly in a relationship in the series, which readers praised and connected to to earn Marvel its first GLAAD Award Best Comic Book Award in 2005.
3. All-New X-Men #40 (2015).
Not all comic-book necessarily deal with the supernatural and out of the world adventures. Sometimes, the journey of simply accepting who you are and coming out can be a pivotal plot-line.
Bobby Drake, otherwise called Iceman, is a founding member of X-Men and, after 50 years, is practically a piece of furniture. But it takes meeting his younger self to realise who he truly is.
Being gay and an X-Man was a struggle for Bobby, but with the half of his fellow mutants, he finally accepts himself.
4. Astonishing X-Men #51 (2004).
When this issue hit the newsstands in 2004, it was as divisive as it was impactful.
Astonishing X-Men #51 saw the wedding of Northstar and Kyle Jinadu. Marking the first gay marriage in the Marvel Comics.
Beast wedded the couple, conducted the ceremony and said: “Then I pronounce you husbands, and partners for life. You may kiss the groom. Both of you.”
5. Alpha Flight #106 (1992).
Northstar, the Canadian superhero, can jet off at supersonic-speeds, fly, and project photonic energy blasts. He was also the first gay X-Men character.
He first appeared in 1979, where flickers and hints of his sexuality were occasionally inked onto the pages. But it wasn’t until 1992 that his sexual orientation became the cover story.
His comic series was never particularly popular, but his coming out story resulted in the issue completely selling out in just a week.