Mainstream Comic Books Featuring Lesbian Super Heroes
There have actually been quite a few highly publicized lesbian characters in comic books over the years. Compared to gay males they're quite well represented. This is mostly due to the double standard where it is cool for straight males to like lesbians but taboo for homosexual males to be considered "tough" or "badass".
Still, these pioneering superheroes have proven to be positive role models for LGBT youth across the world. Follow along as we discover the history of lesbian superheroes.
Let's hear it for women! Here's a sneak peek:
- The Question
- Karolina Dean
- The Amazons
- Scandal Savage
- Sarah Rainmaker
- Grace and Thunder
As a member of the New Mutants, Karma was always part of the "next wave" of the superhero crowd. She was usually the most mature member of the team and, arguably, one of the most powerful. With the ability to take over another person's mind and control their body, she could potentially take down the largest of threats as long as she was able to keep safe while grabbing the reigns of their psyche.
Karma came out of the closet after finally admitting an attraction to fellow X-Girl, Shadowcat. Unfortunately, while open-minded, Shadowcat was just not able to return the feelings. However, it led to Karma being able to be open about herself in public and hold her head high.
Unfortunately, Karma hasn't had the luckiest life. During the 80s, there was a rather distressing period where she was forced to become monstrously overweight. Although she recovered from her obesity, she would later lose her leg in a heated battle.
If you're interested, you can read about her regularly in New Mutants as well as appearances in various X-Men titles.
I've already said plenty about Batwoman comics. But the fact remains that she is the highest-profile gay or lesbian character in all of mainstream comics. Not only is she an openly lesbian superhero, but she carries her own popular and critically acclaimed title.
Motherly, butch, sensual, and moral, she defies labels. A promising military student, she was given the choice to either deny her sexuality in writing or be kicked out of the marines due to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Rather than break her oath to never lie, she told the truth and began to seek out an outlet for doing good in the world through superheroics instead.
Check her out in Detective Comics and her upcoming title, Batwoman!
The Question (DC)
Of course, you can't mention Batwoman without mentioning The Question. The successor to the original holder of the name, Renee Montoya is a familiar face for Batman fans. Originally introduced on Batman: The Animated Series, she made her way into the comic books and soon after came out as a lesbian. At this point, she was one of the most high profile lesbian comic book characters, and her elevation to superhero status only reinforces her groundbreaking role.
She is also important to Batwoman's backstory, as the two have shared an on-again/off-again romantic entanglement. The two broke up initially because Renee was unwilling to out herself to her police coworkers. They struggle to find common ground while they both deal with their busy lives of stopping psychos from destroying the world.
Mystique? A hero? Well... sometimes. More often than not, this self-serving shapeshifter is working with villains like Magneto but she will just as regularly work for the X-Men. Really, her mood is just as mercurial as her form. She never stays in one spot for too long and quickly gets bored with the people she spends time with.
Except for one person: Destiny, her long-time lover. Mystique was unique in that even as far back as the 70s writers were pretty open about her romantic relationship with another woman. The fact that the pages of Marvel would show off a lesbian comic book character (villain or not) was a big deal.
The two of them lived very happily together for years. While Mystique stayed young and vital due to her superpowers, eventually Destiny grew old and died. Although gone, Destiny's love and affection still hangs over Mystique and informs her of every action.
Karolina Dean (Marvel)
Found in the pages of Runaways, this teenage superhero/alien came to terms with her sexual identity early in the series. She briefly flirted with a fellow teammate, but the relationship didn't go anywhere. Eventually, she found out she was betrothed to a Xavin, a Skrull prince from another world. Skrulls have the ability to shapeshift, and in order to convince her to stay with him, Xavin took a female form.
The two actually embarked on a rather daring and thought-provoking romance. Karolina was happy to have a beautiful woman to date but was often concerned that Xavin still thought of himself as a male. That's comic books for you—adding a transgender subplot only available through superpowers.
Her comic is currently on hiatus but should be back sometime next year. Rumor has it that a major motion picture featuring Karolina and her underage superhero friends will begin production shortly as well. Cross your fingers!
The Amazons (DC)
Yes, the Amazons. As in the group of people Wonder Woman hails from. But, then, what did we really suspect. Their entire culture is based on never, ever allowing themselves to be around men, ever. If you think they haven't discovered a Sapphic side over the years, you're out of your mind.
Of course, recent comic books have really played up the lesbian angle for these iconic comic book characters. In fact, some writers have even implied that Wonder Woman herself is bisexual. Straight out of Greek Mythology, this island of Goddesses beyond the touch of men show what a lesbian community is like, instead of just having a lone character represent an entire sexual orientation.
And hey, they live on Paradise Island! Sounds like Paradise to some folks I know, right?
Another anti-hero, Scandal is the daughter of the immortal supervillain Vandal Savage. Featuring a retarded metabolism herself, she is able to heal from wounds quickly (in hours and days, nothing like Wolverine) and is one of the best melee fighters in the DC universe.
Her homosexuality was not much of a secret. In fact, she was in a very long term relationship with super villain Knockout before the two of them became anti-hero mercenaries in the popular Secret Six title. Unfortunately, Knockout was killed a few years back. Scandal has started to move on and has begun dating a woman with remarkably similar looks to her deceased partner.
Uncompromising and tough, Scandal is a take-no-BS kinda woman. However, she does have her softer side and has shown a great paternal affection for her teammate and friend Bane. Check her and the rest of her wild team of psychos out for some real laughs!
A few more high profile, mainstream lesbian superheroes to consider:
- Sarah Rainmaker (Gen13): A Native American activist and out lesbian comic book character, she is comically but endearingly in your face about political correctness issues. Also, you know, controls the weather.
- Sunfire (Marvel): An alternate universe version of a male character, Sunfire appeared in the dimension-hoping Exiles book.
- Grace and Thunder (DC): These two lesbian lovers have been active with the DC supergroup The Outsiders.
There are plenty of great comic books out there with LGBT characters, so if you're interested, go out there and support them! After all, no one will know you care if you don't vote with your wallet.
For more information about LGBT characters in geek culture, read on to find out about Gay and Lesbian Characters in Video Games