For a long time, the comic book medium was dominated by an incredibly rigid worldview rooted in the ideas of heteronormativity and misogamy. Then something happened in 1963 that began to challenge the status quo: X-Men #1 was released. Here, a team of people who are rejected from society simply for being born differently come together and create a new family for themselves while striving to better the world that's cast them aside. Sound familiar? Since then, Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters became an unspoken sanctuary for a bevy of queer allegories that graced the pages of Earth's weirdest heroes.Up until 1989, the Comics Code Authority outright banned any mention of homosexuality in comics published in the United States. Following the lift of the ban, the number of progressive comic series with LGBT+ characters in them has greatly increased thanks to both increased artistic freedom and the advent of web comics. Here are some LGBT/queer comics that are totally worth your time.
In Young Avengers Vol. 1, Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung introduce maybe the greatest comic book couple of all time - Billy Kaplan and Teddy Altman. No, really - they're that adorable. Over the course of both runs of Young Avengers, this continues to be one of the most well-written same-sex relationships in both comics and standard novels. Starting in Vol. 2, Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie introduce new members (America Chavez and Prodigy specifically) to the team that both expand the team in terms of strength and in terms of diversity on the LGBT+ spectrum. If you pick up just one book from this list, make it this one.
As one of the only gay characters to headline her own comic, Batwoman is kind of a big deal. In her youth, our girl Kate Kane was in a same-sex relationship while attending the United States Military Academy in 2006, well within the era of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Upon this revelation, Kate is expelled and moves to Gotham City, where she eventually runs into Batman and becomes inspired to put on the cape herself. Greg Rucka's Batwoman: Elegy is a fantastic place to start which was released right before her self-titled New 52 series.It needs to be noted that after Kate Kane proposes to her longtime girlfriend in the New 52 run, DC Comics forbade the marriage from taking place both on and off panel, stating basically superheroes couldn't be happy, causing the creative team of J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman to walk away from the title, causing a massive drop in sales and a cancellation of the title prior to DC Rebirth.
In one of the most diverse comics probably ever, The Wicked + The Divine is a beautifully drawn romp that's unapologetically awesome. In this story from Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (yup - same team as Young Avengers), every 90 years a Pantheon of deities from various mythological backgrounds are reincarnated as 20-somethings while retaining all of the powers one might associate with a god.
DC Bombshells started as a line of DC Collectibles statues released in 2013, but quickly became a fan favorite, inspiring a digital ongoing series that's just plain delightful. In the series, characters like Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and Batwoman retain their sexual identities while adapting to work together in a team setting in the 1940s. The series is collected in trades and is still an ongoing digital title.