A recent post of Mike's brought Perry Moore to my attention once again - - particularly Mr. Moore's new novel "Hero" and a very telling list he has compiled describing the fate of gay and lesbian superheroes and supervillains in the world of comics.
Mr. Moore writes in his introduction of the list...
"The following list is a catalogue of the treatment of gays in the medium. The goal is to facilitate discussion and awareness, that fans expect and deserve better treatment of lesbian, gay, and transgendered characters. The very fabric of our society is defined by whom we choose to venerate as our heroes. Things are beginning to change, but for every step forward – and there are some very good ones -- the comic book world has taken some giant leaps back. Most gay characters, even in their small numbers, still remain primarily as villains, minor characters, and victims who are tortured, maimed and killed. Is this a fair representation of LGBT characters in the medium? That is left for you to decide. Yes, bad things do happen to all people, gay people included. But are there positive representations of gay characters to counterbalance these negative ones? Who cares about the death of a gay superhero anyway?"
I wanted to pass on the history - - and more often than not the bloody ways these characters were killed off - - of a few of the superheroes and supervillains that Mr. Moore has catalogued (These are his words, not mine)...
"1st gay male hero to come out in the Marvel Comics Universe, thus making him their most prominent gay hero. Between February 16 and March 9, 2005, Northstar is killed in three different realities, during the most prominent of which, the X-Men’s most popular hero, Wolverine (star of the X-Men movies), impales him through the chest with his metal claws. Marvel’s most prominent gay hero is later resurrected as a murderous zombie assassin."
"Hailed by Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada as the new example of Marvel’s open policy toward gays in their books as “the star of Marvel Team-Up.” Quesada went on to say, “We’ve had more gay and lesbian characters appearing in Marvel comics than ever before.” Marvel Team-Up #24, three weeks after Quesada’s comments, features Freedom Ring, his finger sliced off and then graphically killed with 28 spikes impaling him, including one through the groin and protruding from his anus. Series cancelled with issue #25."
MONSIEUR MALLAH & THE BRAIN
"Sadistic supervillains and gay lovers. One is a talking gorilla and the other is a disembodied brain in a jar. They’ve been searching to create a new body for the Brain so he and Monsieur Mallah may consummate their love. Last appeared in DC’s Teen Titans, aimed at teens. No gay heroes in the book, just these gay villains."
"Depowered and maimed lesbian hero. Fitted with a power-inhibiting headband as punishment. Kidnapped and had her ear ripped off by a villain who makes her girlfriend (the new Captain Marvel) deliver the body part to her father as a ransom note. (Marvel’s “Annhiliation” series, summer 2006)."
"In series “the Boys,” a superhero police force kills hero Blarney Cock, and upon his disembowelment, a gerbil crawls out of his anus. The Boys also blackmail gay heroes with gay sex surveillance photos. (“The Boys,” issue #6)"
"Gay member of superhero group Teenage Kix. Has his thumbs ripped off by superhero police force."
I could go on for quite a long time...
...since those are just six of the first seven characters on Mr. Perry's list... a list of over 60.
This isn't to say that isn't some progress being made to include gay and lesbian characters in comic books - - I personally think that some of the recent issues of THE BOYS are bringing up interesting issues - - but for every Midnighter and Apollo gay couple, there are the acts of violence suffered by those characters.
As Mr. Perry writes about Apollo and Midnighter...
"Thinly veiled gay versions of Superman and Batman. Super-assassin heroes, stars of super group “The Authority.” Book cancelled by parent company Warner Bros for implying Superman and Batman are gay. Book brought back as result of fan-popularity. Apollo attacked and gang-raped by supervillain team. Midnighter has his heart ripped out by supervillain. Couple marries and adopts baby girl and continues to kill threats to our safety in all universes. Midnighter now has his own solo series—without Apollo."