The original list came about after someone linked me to a 7 Best Gay Characters In Comics list. While the list was solid, I was inspired to compose my own list of the 25 awesomest LGBTQ characters in comic books and/or comic book themed media/adaptations.
This time we’re celebrating 50+ of the most awesome characters in comic books and comic book themed media.
What makes me the most qualified to compose this list? Besides being a published novelist, a lifelong unapologetic rabid comic book fan, and this being my post and my blog, what else makes me qualified, you ask?
A few ground rules: Typically when queer people, specifically gay males express any form of opinion about their culture, depictions, representation or their mere existence, legions of mofos (usually straight and/or white, mainly white folks) will line up by the droves to talk down to them and dismiss their opinions.
Not here, not now.
This list is based on my criteria and my opinion. The next person’s mileage may vary and that’s cool. I’m not interested in being lectured and talked down to about my list.
Why? Because it’s my list. So if you don’t like my list, go make your own.
And if you love my list, go make your own anyway. No seriously, I’d be curious to see who you would include and why.
I also post this list as a resource for people who might be interested in getting in comics and looking for excellent stories featuring queer characters. I love giving recommendations
So if you want some titles to check out, get at me bro!
With it being 50+ characters, obviously there are some new players, and some major shifts in placings. Some of the rankings may surprise you. They certainly surprised me.
49. Mulan Kato
This one is a huge question mark as there was some potential retconning going on. Anyone who is familiar with the Green Hornet mythos knows why Kato runs the mother fucker. And his daughter continues that tradition. In the Kevin Smith miniseries, it is revealed that Mulan Kato is in fact a lesbian. However that was later retconned out as a joke by writer Phil Hester but we never get a (pardon the pun) straight answer as to whether or not Mulan Kato is a lesbian. Seeing as this is my list, and until proven otherwise, Kato remains on this list.
48. Holly Robinson
Very few women other than Selina Kyle have donned the Catwoman mantle. Understandable. Being the most iconic villainess in comics and one of the most complex anti-heroines, Selina Kyle is an impossible act to follow. Yet Holly Robinson managed to hold her own as an accomplished Catwoman and an exceptional Amazon.
47. Black Cat
Our favorite Marvel catburglar is in fact an equal opportunity romantic and being both an iconic character in the Spider-Man mythos, that qualifies as pretty awesome.
46. Steven Stills
Watching the neurotic Stephen Stills come to terms with his orientation in the Scott Pilgrim comics was both a hilarious and refreshing take on coming to terms with one’s orientation.
45. John Constantine
Even though I’m ranking the comic version, why yes I realize this is a pic from the movie version. I realize the movie adaptation is the Anti-Christ to all things Constantine. I don’t care. When I’m fantasizing/pondering on Constantine being bisexual, he’s going to look like Keanu Reaves, and the two of us are going to “make magic” like WHOA!
44. Rage/Brian Kinney
The Rage comic surprisingly got a lot of mainstream press when it was released and the issues of queers in comics was definitely broached. Another thing I loved about Queer As Folk was the constant comic book references the series made. The creators knew their stuff and as a comic book geek, I appreciated said references. If you know Brian Kinney, you know why he’s just as big a superhero as the ones you see in the funny books. So yeah, inclusion will be included.
The film pretty much confirmed what the graphic novels alluded to and seeing how much of a badass Oxymandius was, it seemed only right that he be included.
42. Celeste Noble
If you’ve read Noble Causes then you know why this woman is a character you initially love to hate but eventually grow to love. Love or hate her, she brought the fierce and said fierce had her bringing all the boys and girls to the yard.
One of the first major lesbians in a mainstream comic book, as well as one of the founding members of the New Mutants team. A queer woman of color to boot. Her mere existence is progressive on many fronts
40. Maggie Sawyer
This character broke a lot of ground both in animation and comics in being an out and proud lesbian character. She also managed to date two of the hottest heroines in the DCU: Batwoman and Renee Montoya aka the Question. If I do the Awesomest Players List, Ms. Sawyer will definitely be included because chick has mad game.
39. Ramsey Robinson
We learn the young son of Kate Spencer (Manhunter) is revealed to be gay in a future story. This is significant because it shows that queers are family friendly and that we are someone’s child and it isn’t just an adult phase or an attempt to be edgy or political. LGBTQs are family in all respects.
38. Lafayette Reynolds
Granted the comic book version can’t hold the awesome that Nelsan Ellis brings to the live-action counterpart. But damn it, it’s Lafayette, to not include his fierceness would be the gravest sin ever.
I really don’t think this character has been given her due by most writers. She’s far more complex than she’s usually portrayed. If Gen 13 does return, I do hope we see a writer truly actualize her potential.
36. Karolina Dean
One of the cornerstone members of Runaways, her relationship with Xavin certainly covers some interesting ground that’s rarely explored in comics or media in general.
35. Painkiller Jane
A character who can give the likes of Wolverine and the Punisher a run for their money. It’s not often that bisexual heroines land their own television series. For this accomplishment alone, Ms. Jane makes my list.
Before Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, Rictor and Shatterstar were the original occupants of Brokeback Mountain. A fact writer Peter David confirmed with X-Factor. Though he tends to bring the angst, A LOT, Rictor has proven to be a great anchor for Shatterstar and for that matter Jamie Maddox.
33. Jenny Sparks
If you even heard of Wildstorm then you know that the spirit of the 20th Century, Jenny Sparks, had that motherfucking universe on lock. Seeing as her daddies are Apollo and Midnighter, I wouldn’t expect anything less.
What makes Knockout awesome? Too many reasons to list honestly but anytime you a) are a former member of Darkseid’s most elite unit, the Furies, b) manage to fight Big Barda to a stalemate c) capture the heart of Vandal Savage’s baby girl, Scandal. d) all of the above….you can pretty much proclaim yourself the baddest chick walking.
31. Anissa & Grace
Why They’re Awesome: POC, women, and LGBTQ, in comics…yeah they hit the trifecta which meant they would be written off and fridged and oh wait that’s exactly what happened. I knew Thunder’s days were numbered when she stopped wearing the Beyonce blonde wig and went with a natural fro. So why are they awesome? It’s rare to see LGBTQs in comics and even more rare to see two queer people of color. Grace is an amazon (literally) and defies many of the racist Asian tropes that pervade comics and the media in general. These two have proven to be powerful characters in spite of the racism and homophobia they’ve faced in their portrayals. Here’s hoping we see these two ladies in the very near future.
30. Donner & Blitzen
It’s truly tragic that Milestone Comics never got the credit it deserved. Most people would dismiss it as the black comic book company but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Milestone also represented women and queer people in a time when that was unheard of. Case in point: Donner and Blitzen, two excellent cornerstone members of the Shadow Cabinet. I was happy to see them again during Justice League/Shadow Cabinet crossover.
29. Sailor Uranus & Sailor Neptune
I could go on forever about queer characters in manga (both the bad and the good) and quite frankly I think queer characters in manga deserves its own analysis and discussion. But I’ll let someone else handle that one. That said, I do think there should be some representation on this list and I couldn’t think of a finer pair than Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune from Sailor Moon, one of my all-time favorite cartoon series.
28. Victoria Hand
Marvel Dark Reign was actually enjoyable for me. It was interesting to see the villains in charge and to see the story from their perspective. One of the best gems of the Marvel event was Victoria. She had the unenviable task of being Norman Osborn’s right hand and the voice of reason for Psycho McPsycho. But don’t get it twisted. This chick was by no means a glorified secretary. This is the chick who kept the Dark Avengers in line and even laid the smackdown on Moonstone with an energy cannon and put her back in her place. And you know you’re hardcore when you even manage to justify your actions as a patriot whose doing their job and stump Steve Rogers in a philosophical debate.
27. Mystique & Destiny
Despite Marvel’s ban on LGBTQ characters, these two shared a very sweet genuine relationship that was nuanced. With Destiny we see an endearing and vulnerable side of Mystique who is the Baroness of the Marvel Universe. This is one of the best relationships (lesbian or otherwise) ever portrayed in comics.
26. Freedom Ring
Despite the sick and homophobic treatment he was subjected to, Freedom Ring’s awesomeness cannot be denied. If ever given the chance, the first thing I’m doing is resurrecting him and doing him right. One small benefit that transpired is that discussion was sparked and a light was shed on the homophobia that pervades the comic book industry.
Tara McClay was one of those characters who was impossible not to fall in love with. Throughout her time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she evolved from a meek girl who was uncomfortable in her own skin and constantly apologized for her very existence to an extraordinary woman. Her relationship with Willow was also unique because it was the first time that we saw Willow as the dominant one in the relationship. Arguably the best portrayal of a lesbian relationship on television, the storyline featured two amazing characters who were in love who happened to be women as opposed to it being a scintillating lesbian storyline for November sweeps. Tara debunked a myriad of stereotypes in being a positive portrayal as a lesbian, a Wiccan, and a heroine.
24. Ianto Jones
What was interesting about Ianto Jones is that although he was involved in one of the premiere m/m pairings in sci-fi, he didn’t identify as queer. As he stated he was never attracted to men, just one man (Jack Harkness). Ianto evolved with each episode and went from a virtual stand-in redshirt, to one of the most popular characters on the series. His stoic demeanor, dry humor was the perfect foil for the charming and dashing Harkness. And like the rest of you, I was in therapy for six months after Children of Earth.While gone, this awesome hero will never be forgotten.
Won’t lie. A bisexual black stripper in a comic book gives me some serious concerns, but from what I’ve been seeing of this character thus far, she’s showing a lot of promise. Here’s hoping I continue to be surprised with her new ongoing series.
One of the things that unsettled me about my last list was that there was only one trans/genderqueer character on my list. It wasn’t for lack of searching but the few I did find, well…..the less said about the cisfail the better. I remembered this cartoon when I was a kid but I was too young to remember the details and appreciate the cartoon/comic for what it was. Here’s more info on the series for anyone who would like to check it out.
While most people know Satsu best as Buffy’s first female love interest, she is easily hands down one of the most underrated characters of Season 8. Disciplined, focused, a skilled fighter, while green there are definitely shades of Kendra in this slayer. Satsu has proven herself to be an invaluable player countless times. Here’s hoping we see more of this exemplary slayer.
Apollo is another excellent character who doesn’t always get played to his full potential and there’s been fail aplenty with the handling of him also. Seriously writers, Ben Bruckner from Queer As Folk, use him as a reference for Apollo. They both have the Zen thing going. Speaking of whom, I realize that if there’s ever a live-action movie, Rober Gant would be the perfect choice.
The fact that the son of Wolverine (Marvel’s Mary Sue) is an LGBTQ (and POC) is trailblazing in its self. I’m also laughing at the homophobic fanboys because their favorite Mary Sue has the icky queer genes which was passed to Daken because EVERYONE knows that the gay gene comes from the father.
*in Nelson Muntz voice* HA HA!
While a villain and your quintessential bad boy, Daken makes no apologies or excuses about who he is, including his orientation and as Bullseye learned, he’s more than willing and capable to settle any grievances that anyone may have about him being bisexual. The pheromone powers…..I’ll be in my bunk.
In short, Daken isn’t gay (or bi) as in happy, he’s queer as in FUCK YOU!!!!!
While Karolina Dean gets a lot of praise for being the lesbian on Runaways, to me Xavin was the progressive character whose mere existence broke down a number of barriers.
Badass alien warrior = THE SHIT!
Badass alien warrior who defies the gender binary = THE SHIT!
Badass alien warrior who proves that white is not the default for being human by portraying herself as a black person = THE SHIT!
Yes Xavin rocks it on too many levels. Why she was written off is nothing short of a scandal in itself because she needs to return like yesterday.
17. Thom Creed
While he’s technically never appeared in a comic book, Thom Creed, the protagonist of the late Perry Moore’s Lambda Award winning novel Hero, is a trailblazing character whose story takes place in the comic book themed universe.
Thom is an affable protagonist. A star athlete, he’s quirky. Think Peter Parker with a hint of Connor Kent. The story’s mythos is a blatant satire/parody/homage of both DC and Marvel Comics, much in the spirit of the film Sky High. It’s a fun story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Ironically, one of the things that makes Hero successful is the light-hearted prose which is juxtaposed against the heavy social issues it addresses. We’re talking everything from homophobia to healthcare, war, racism poverty to divorce.This coming of age tale is also candid and honest. Hero is a conscious engaging dramedy and a fun read at that. I highly recommend it for comic book fans or fans of a very good story.
16. Danielle Baptiste
Danielle has certainly come into her own. I wasn’t really certain about her taking over as the bearer of the Witchblade but she definitely held it down and Sara Pezzinni is a tough act to follow. But Baptiste really hit her stride as the Angelus. I’ve been enjoying her storyline and I’ve really enjoyed her blossoming relationship with Finch which has been surprisingly tasteful. But the real victory is that the Angelus is one of the few single titles that’s headlined by an LGBTQ.
The reasons for why Gear rocks and why he’s earned his rightful spot on this list can be found here. In short, a gay superhero on a Saturday morning cartoon show, DOESN’T HAPPEN! This stud is 10 kinds of badass.Many of you may recall the television series Static Shock, the hit WB Kids cartoon that was based on the Milestone comic. Static (Virgil Hawkins) had a best friend named Richie Foley who in later seasons discovered he had latent ablities as a technopath and became Static’s crimefighting partner known as Gear. What makes this 10 kinds of awesome is that for those of us who knew the history of Static in the comics, something very special was happening.
In the comics, Richie Foley was in fact Richard Stone, one of Virgil’s best friends in high school and a gay teen. With FCC regulations the way they are, gay characters are not allowed on a kid’s cartoon show. But for us LGBTQ comic book fans and others in the know, we knew what Dwayne McDuffie and others were trying to accomplish. They could’ve just as easily have easily have adapted another of Static’s friends or created a brand new character for the show. It should also be noted that Dwayne McDuffie, Bruce Timm and co. have consistently been inclusive and brought the win on POC, feminist and other issues with their other series, Batman, Batman Beyond, Superman and Justice League. McDuffie even confirmed on his website that the cartoon version of Richie Foley WAS indeed a gay character and a gay superhero at that.
14. Ultimate Colossus
Making Ultimate Colossus a gay man was hands down one of the most brilliant moves in comics. The very concept debunks most of the homophobic stereotypes that inundate society. He’s the powerhouse of the team and is physically stronger than every other member. He maintains that poetic soul without being a pansy as lesser writers would’ve made him be as a gay character.
He’s a powerful masculine man who happens to be gay and in comics…that never happens. His storyline was compelling and educational for fans who may have had little if any interaction with LGBTQs. Also making the hawtest X-Man (aside from Cyclops) the gay one: WIN!!!!!!
Not sure if the live-action movie version featured 616 Colossus or Ultimate Colossus. It really doesn’t matter because you’re a fool if you think I”m about to pass up a chance to partake in some Grade-A beefcake like one Daniel Cudmore.
Contrary to what Rob Liefeld and other bigots would have you believe, warriors can be like totally gay. While almost android and childlike in demeanor, writer Peter David has managed to give Shatterstar plenty of personality with his bashful charm. Shatterstar manages to pracitcally steal every scene he’s in. What’s more is that David finally confirmed what comic book fans knew all along, that Shatterstar and Rictor (emo boy) are the original one true brokeback pair. Whatever you do, never mock his star tattoo, less you wind up on the receiving end of a severe beatdown as a few Las Vegas bar patrons learned the hard way.
When it comes to Greek and Roman mythology, history revisionists will do their damnedest to erase gay elements from history. If they had it their way, they would have you think that Zeus and Ganymede were platonic drinking buddies. This is why you should never believe that homophobic Frank Miller 300 bullshit as fact. The Spartans were like totally gay! The Greeks were like totally gay! And you know who else was like totally gay, one of the mightiest warriors in history, Achilles.
Introduced as a rival to Wonder Woman, Achilles broke much ground right there. Because queer characters are rarely (if ever) placed on equal footing with the prominent cis heterosexual superheroes, especially those who happens to be a member of the Trinity and a flagship title for DC.
11. Xena and Gabrielle
How Xena is awesome, let me count the ways. Of course if I did that, there wouldn’t be enough memory on the internet to list all of her praises and accomplishments. Here’s hoping I can do her justice. She’s the greatest TV action heroine of all time. The television series was creative and took massive risks. Sometimes the results were disastrous and other times they were an epic payoff. Xena’s story was a poignant one, an unlikely champion looking to atone for her dark past. While that storyline has been done before, the writers did it immensely well. Said redemption was aided by her companion and soulmate, Gabrielle. And the latter’s transformation from wide-eyed bard to powerful warrior princess heir apparent was epic in itself.
Most people thought Xena was powerful because her fighting skills were second to none and while that’s true, the astute observer will also note that she was powerful because she outwitted her foes. Whether warlord, monster, demon or god, Xena was always at least two steps ahead of her enemies. Between her cunning, her combat skills, her sharp mind, she easily rivals Batman and if those two ever met, I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended in a stalemate, and I even wouldn’t be shocked if she actually beat him.The comics kept to the spirit of the series and by that virtue alone, Xena takes her rightful place in this elite list. And for that matter so does Gabrielle.
10. Marissa Rahm
The heroine of the Milestone miniseries: Deathwish. Milestone did something few comic book companies have done in giving a trans heroine her own story. This post sums up why this series is so significant:
“This mini-series did a remarkable thing: it let the reader know the life and struggles of a transgender person but also let everyone know how those with varying gender dysphoria and expressions are sadly cast out of mainstream society, even GLBT society.”
09. Scandal Savage & Catman
So recent news just broke from the lovely and ever awesome Gail Simone that Catman is in fact bisexual. It makes perfect sense to me. Why? Because no straight man (real or fiction) has ever been that hawt! It’s always refreshing to see a royal badass who happens to be queer rather than being defined by his orientation alone. AWE-SOME!!!!
The reintroduction of Kate Kane as a lesbian super heroine was met with a lot of skepticism and rightfully so. The last time a gay character was hyped up and given their own series, we got the Rawhide Kid and the less said about that minstrel show the better.
However Greg Rucka assuaged all concerns when the first issue of her run on Detective Comics hit stands. JH Williams III artwork was breathtaking and it complemented Rucka’s writing brilliantly. Batwoman was portrayed as a rich, complex, complicated and layered character and it’s little wonder that her run on Detective was a breakaway smash hit. As is her spinoff series.
Two complex and engaging characters who happen to openly gay and in a loving relationship who can still kick ass and take names, and are fun and unique and role models for LGBTQs. Role models as in NOT NORTHSTAR. Young Avengers has been one of the best kept secrets in Marvel and these two are a prominent reason. Whether it’s Hulkling schooling the terrorists on the Bible or Wiccan being a legacy character as a Maximoff and having the baddest mother fucker on the planet (Magneto) as your grandfather, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this pair.With the rampant bigotry that pervades the comic book industry, these two give me hope. Here’s hoping that they’re setting the standard for new LGBTQ superheroes to come.
A Jewish Wiccan lesbian character who evolves from sidekick to powerhouse (and the most powerful character in the series) and arguably embodies the theme of empowerment more than the titular heroine. Joss discussed this once on one of the audio commentaries regarding side characters embodying the theme of the show moreso than the titular characters.
Because Buffy and Angel are essentially superheroes and at times larger than life, there’s always a bit of a disconnect with the audience because as superheroes, they have to always be at another level. Whereas say Willow or even Wesley, we see what the characters are at the beginning of the series and how they’ve evolved and grown that by the end of their respective seasons, they personify the theme moreso than the main characters because they’re allowed to be more human and grow more than say a vampire or a slayer. Most of what I mentioned about Tara applies to Willow. She is epitome of the sidekick whose done right.
05. Wallace Wells
In regards to Wallace Wells, he achieved something that I’ve rarely seen from other characters. He made being gay cool. Wallace is the mentor, he’s the comic relief, he’s got the mystique and he’s got style. He was one of the few characters in the series that actually had his shit together. He wasn’t flamboyant but he was open about who he was. Being gay wasn’t a tragedy for him, it was a part of who he was. Based on many of his antics and his personality, I’ve also determined that Wallace is my evil comic book counterpart. Because we are tooooooo much alike. TRU FAX! TRU FAX!
I will say that the movie adaptation corrected where the graphic novels began to slip. Towards the end of the graphic novels, Wallace became too over-the-top and bordering on a caricature. However Kieran Culkin’s performance stayed true to the spirit of the character and he did Wallace right. I would love to see him get his own spinoff. You hear that Mr. O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim creator? Spinoff.
04. Jack Harkness
Jack Hawtness Harkness. An omnisexual action hero from the 51st century who headlines his own hit series. While that in itself is groundbreaking, there’s so much to this character, I don’t even know where to start. He’s a paradox of sorts. On one hand he’s dark and grim and easily makes Batman and Angel look like Superman. Yet you often forget that because of his charming, warm, seductive aura. His mere voice sounds of something too warm to be set in such a dark grim world like Touch Wood Torchwood and he’s the star of the show. But he’s not Batman or Angel, and while he’s certainly the warmer of the three, he’s also the darkest. Where there are some things the dark avengers won’t compromise on, Harkness will do so in a heartbeat. He will cross that line for the greater good.
Behind that shiny veneer is a chasm of darkness and pain. After all, a man who cannot die has nothing to fear. And it would take nothing short of a timelord with a haunting past to cure him. But we love him. Every unspeakable act has been done to this man and he comes back. He always comes back. Always dashing, always seductive. No matter what he does, you know he’s fighting for the greater good and is willing to sacrifice anything for it. And if you think you can keep Harkness down, well, you don’t know Jack!
03. Renee Montoya
Although Batwoman got the most press about being a lesbian super heroine who would headline her own series, I don’t think Renee Montoya has gotten the proper recognition she deserves. Not surprising seeing as she is a queer woman of color.
That stops now!
Many people missed a real gem in Renee Montoya who became the faceless crime fighter the Question. 52 was groundbreaking in that each week there was a new story for well 52 weeks and the writers managed to tell a cohesive and powerful story. Too bad they couldn’t repeat this with Countdown. But one of the true gems was that many C-list characters were allowed to take center stage. One of them was Renee Montoya who we saw evolve from a tragic protagonist to an unlikely and formidable heroine.
Why she doesn’t have her own title and isn’t on a team has my eyes rolling faster than pinwheels.You hear that, DC? GIVE THIS WOMAN HER TITLE! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW!
02. Kevin Keller
His mere existence in the Archie universe is progressive in and of itself. What’s more, his introduction was actually handled with RESPECT! Keller is likable guy who does the impossible and bests Jughead in an eating contest, he’s a fellow comic book junkie and a journalist (were we separated at birth?). Handsome, intelligent, exceptionally kind, he’s an excellent addition to the Riverdale.
He’s a character that happens to be gay who happens to be family friendly and kid appropriate. And when it comes to LGBTQ characters, that never happens.
More than that, the Keller miniseries is giving queer teens pracitcal real life advice that they can use now!
Why is Keller significant: http://prismcomics.org/display.php?id=2033
Contrary to what others would have you believe, his being gay is not a lifestyle, but a part of who he is. And who is Kevin Keller? AWE-SOME!!!!!!
Why He’s The Awesomest: A dark anti-hero that happens to be an unapologetic gay man who is not only one of the most powerful characters in the universe but one of the few hardcore badasses in comics who can call Wolverine, Deadpool, Sabretooth, Punisher and Batman a bunch of punk asses. Midnighter basically is a standing contradiction on the perception of the gay man. He’s not weak, flamboyant, timid or needs to be rescued by the mythical straight boy. He’s proof that masculinity, strength and being an alpha is not exclusive to cis straight men.
He’s a role model to gay boys (young and old alike) that you can be queer and still be a badass. But more importantly, he’s a lesson to cis straight readers that our orientation does not define our characters, we do. And we can be whatever we want to be including BAMF who are EPICALLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!
Also my dreamcasting of the Midnighter movie with Misha Collins.
Haven’t forgotten about it. DC: MAKE THIS HAPPEN! NOW!!!!!
Y: The Last Man
Love & Rockets
Strangers In Paradise
None of these were really my personal cup of tea, but they are very popular and I’m sure some of you readers out there might enjoy them so you may wanna check out.