10 Important Gay Moments in Comic Book History

Marvel Comics' gay superheroes, Rictor and Shatterstar, finally kissing is an event that made quite a few headlines when it first appeared in the panels of Marvel magazines. In honor of homosexuality becoming more commonplace in comic books, here are the 10 most important LGBT moments in comic book history including gay comic book characters. As comics become more inclusive, we're sure to get more diverse characters. For example, here are the top Latino comic book characters and top African American heroes who have replaced white ones.

Who were the first gay superheroes? Who are some gay comic characters? Are there any gay comic book artists? While there has been speculation for ages that Batman and Robin are a special kind of teammates, in recent years, there has been less speculation and more confirmation about these LGBT comic book characters and their association with the gay comic books (gay comics) community.

Also check out this list of the best fictional gay role models.

  • When the Rawhide Kid returned to comics in 2003, he was re-branded as gay in the more adult-themed comic book series. While the Kid wasn't sent to any Old West gay bars in between gun slinging, he did affect a different speech pattern and air and attitude more suited to a stereotypical homosexual character. Trite as it may have seemed, he was still representing the LGBT community in a time in history where it went strictly unspoken.
  • 9

    Northstar Comes Out

    The longest rumored-to-be-gay character in mainstream super hero comics was "Alpha Flight's" Northstar. Created in 1979, it wasn't until "Alpha Flight" issue 106 in 1992 that Canadian mutant Jean Paul Baubier finally came out of the closet and told everyone what they already knew.

    Sadly, all of this was in a pretty poorly written and drawn story about Northstar finding an AIDS baby in a trash dump. *rolls eyes*

    All of this got nationwide attention, of course, and although "Alpha Flight" (Northstar's Superteam's ongoing book) was canceled soon after Northstar's outing, his career eventually bounced back after the whole frenzy had passed.

    He eventually found a slot on the true X-Men, where he remains to this day. Also, Northstar has had the same career path as Ellen DeGeneres. Think about it.
  • 8

    Phat and Vivisector from XStatix

    Rictor and Shatterstar may be getting all the gay mutant attention these days, but before these two were out and proud, Marvel mutants Phat and Vivesector were proudly announcing their queer status to the world back in '03. Part of the team X-Statix, who were basically media whores, they were trying to promote their reality show.

    Phat was your typical white trash wannabe Eminem type (artist Mike Allred drew him as pretty much a cartoon dead ringer for Marshall Mathers). His power was, well… to get fat. Essentially, he was an even more trailer park version of classic X-Men villain, the Blob. Vivisector (Myles Alfred) was the intellectual, bookish nerd of the group. With the ability to turn into a feral werewolf-type at will, he and the considerably less intellectual Phat clashed at first.

    Eventually, the two of them became friends and decided to become a couple to boost the ratings of the X-Statix television show. Over the course of their publicity stunt, they both realized they really were gay and started a relationship. They broke it off when they realized that gay or not… neither of them was really attracted to the other.

    Both characters end up dead at the end of the series. But before you go crying "Homophobia!" the ENTIRE team dies at the end of the series. Equal opportunity dismemberment at work.

  • Comic books have been filled with lesbian innuendo for decades; from Wonder Woman tying up bad girls to Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy having pillow fights in their bra and panties in the Batman books. Young straight sexually frustrated males are the bread and butter of the comics industry, after all. But when it comes to actual lesbian main characters in mainstream comics? You can count them on one hand.

    Renee Montoya is one of them.

    Introduced originally in the "Batman" animated series from the 90's, Renee was introduced to comics shortly thereafter. A tough capable cop in the corrupt Gotham City Police Force, she went on to be the breakout star of the series "Gotham Central." 

    But you ain't nobody in the DC Universe 'til you start wearing a goofy outfit, and in 2007, DC gave Renee the stamp of approval and gave her the mask and fedora of longtime DC hero The Question. She's currently kicking ass (along with her ex-girlfriend Batwoman) in Detective Comics.
  • 6

    Apollo & Midnighter

    In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a lot of buzz around Jim Lee’s Wildstorm Universe, mostly due to the fact that Marvel and DC were both going through a pretty sucky period at the time. Among those Wildstorm titles was The Authority. The Authority in particular would get really interesting when writer Warren Ellis came on board and made the team a kind of militant, slightly twisted version of the Justice League.

    The Authority even came with its own versions of Superman and Batman in the forms of Apollo and Midnighter... except this World’s Finest couple was actually a real couple.

    Warren Ellis and later, writer Mark Millar, treated the whole thing rather casually, and the fact that their two male teammates were gettin' it on was never really an issue for the other members of the group.

    They even got married in front of the press in a lavish ceremony. Midnighter was popular enough to eventually even get his own series from writer Garth Ennis, and no one from DC went on Larry King’s show about it.
  • 5

    Batman and Robin Secret Love

    It has been the subject of a million lame jokes for decades, but in the early 50’s it was anything but, and nearly brought about the demise of the American comic book medium. In 1953, some asshole trying to make a name for himself named Frederic Wertham wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent, about how comics were destroying America’s youth. One famously cited example was that Batman and Robin were actually lovers.

    According to Wertham, Batman and Robin inhabited "a wish dream of two homosexuals living together."

    They lived in "sumptuous quarters," without wives or girlfriends, with only an effeminate British butler for company.

    They often shared living quarters, and lounged together in dressing gowns. Not to mention proclivities for costumes, dressing up, and fantasy role play; secretive behavior and double-lives; little interest in women; and of course, depictions of Batman and Robin were frequently homoerotic, visually emphasizing Batman's physique and Robins bare legs and short pants.

    S**t, this guy almost has ME convinced.

    DC was forced to butch up Bruce and Dick, in a manner of speaking, by giving Batman the steady girlfriend of Batwoman, a character literally created to make concerned mothers say "oh, see? He has a girlfriend." She was the comic book equivalent of Katie Holmes (maybe that is why they cast her ass in Batman Begins?)

    Batwoman of course, is now famously a lesbian. Gotta love how things work out.