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A gay old time in comic book history

Posted 9:34am on Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2010

The new gay character in Archie Comics is hardly the first. Here's a quick look at how gays have (or haven't) been represented in the comics universe:

•Through most of the last century, the Comics Code Authority (the comic book regulatory body) prevented creators from even bringing up the subject as they deemed all comics to be for children.  

Manga (Japanese comics), European comics and more serious strips have been introducing homosexual characters into their work in order to reach a new audiences, provide modern examples of social issues and infuse their work with drama.

Northstar, the leader of Marvel Comics’ Canadian super team Alpha Flight, was created in 1979, but he didn’t reveal his sexuality until 1992. It hasn’t been addressed any serious way since.

•The watermark for the first balanced, somewhat-developed gay couple in comics are Wildstorm’s Apollo and The Midnighter. Introduced in 1999, they’re two Superman and Batman-like heroes, and members of The Authority — where the couple had comics’ first in-panel gay kiss, gay marriage, and are fathers to an adopted child.

•In 2002, the first openly-gay comics character to star in his own campy comedic mini-series was The Rawhide Kid, inside the pages of an adults-only Marvel Comics imprint.

•Two current member of Marvel’s Young Avengers (created by Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Allen Heinburg in 2005) — Hulkling and Wiccan — are boyfriends.

•One of Gotham City’s newest crime-fighters and a current first-responder of the Bat signal is the current incarnation of Batwoman, a lesbian introduced in 2006 by writer Greg Rucka.

•In 2007’s Buffy: Season Eight by Dark Horse Comics (which continues the story of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series), gay characters Willow, Tara, Kennedy and Andrew all show up and in a controversial issue; Buffy herself has had repeated romantic encounters with a girl who was in love with her.

•Despite the rumors and apparent closeness, Batman and Robin are both officially straight. And Paradise Island, the all-female home of Wonder Woman, does not contain any outed amazons at the time of this report.


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