Tuesday, August 13, 2013

OUT THERE: Comics' Other Top 10 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Or Transgender Characters

In making this article, I put aside the usual LGBT 'Top 10' (who for arguments sake consists of Northstar, Batwoman, Apollo, Midnighter, Obsidian, Alan Scott (don't get me started), Daken, Shatterstar, Renee Montoya and Rictor), and was surprised at how the next candidates back were not only often better characters, they represented some of the best comics the medium has ever produced.

So, keeping those usual chart-hoggers aside, here are my Top Ten Other LGBT Characters in Comics:

10) MIKAAL TOMAS (Starman - DC) The last of his race and the third 'Starman', despite having been captured and traded as an alien slave, Mikaal continues to honour his partner Tony's death, fighting injustice on earth - a planet he was once sent to conquer.

9) PURGATORI (Purgatori - Chaos!/Dynamite) Chaos! Comics knew how to interact with fans. While her red-skinned, bat-winged vampiritic alter-ego is better known, the potential of this Egyptian remains untapped. Escaping the slaughter of the her wife (and Queen)'s harem, Purgatori became immortal to enact vengeance.

8) PAINKILLER JANE (Painkiller Jane - Event/Dynamite) With an unrivalled healing factor and fighting skills, the bi-sexual creation of Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada has teamed up with everyone from Punisher to Vampirella, and had her own film and TV series!

7) MANTRA (Mantra - Ultraverse) The flagship heroine of Malibu's Ultraverse was a kick-ass transgender of sorts - drawn by Terry Dodson! Eternal warrior Lukasz, is reincarnated one last time - as a woman. Her only ally, the man who killed him in the first place.

6) CATMAN (Secret Six - DC) One of the most unpredictable on a team of unpredictables, Thomas Blake is as protective of wild beasts as he is his own son. Writer Gail Simone stated Catman was written as bisexual, having had a cool 'bromance' with fellow Sixer, Deadshot.

 Who are the top five 'other LGBT characters in comics?  Click through to the next page and find out!

5) PIED PIPER (The Flash - DC) Pied Piper was a rouge, until Wally West reached out from behind his mask to help him turn his life around. Offside with his parents, the police and the most of the twin cities heroes and villains, Piper consistently tries to change his ballad of a life into something more uptempo.

4) PHYLA-VELL (Guardians of The Galaxy - Marvel) Daughter of Mar-Vell and Moondragon's lover, whether she is Captain Marvel, Quasar or Martyr, Phyla-Vell is the galaxy's most dangerously powerful woman!

3) JOSIAH POWER (Power Company - DC) In his rock-skinned form or his natural guise, the imposing Josiah heads writer Kurt Busiek's organisation of corporate heroes for hire, before returning home to confront life's challenges, side-by-side with his partner Rupert.

3) PROMETHEA (Promethea - Wildstorm/ABC) From writer Alan Moore's America's Best Comics imprint, Promethea, the demi-goddess of creation, has lived inside the bodies of various hosts throughout time. While her modern day host, Sophie, is frequently named a lesbian by her best friend Stacia, in the past, gay comic book writer and artist William Woolcott served as a host body. As the heroine, he dated FBI Agent Dennis Drucker, who after learning his partner was actually a man, killed him.

 1) KAROLINA DEAN  (Runaways - Marvel) 
At first I thought it was a bit naff making a character whose powers light them up like a rainbow a lesbian, but if anyone writes Karolina off as simply that, they are missing one of the greatest characters in writer Brian K Vaughan's hit-smash Runaways.

Struggling with the heritage of her super-villain alien invader parents, 'K' still manages to be a free-spirit and the newfound family's peace-keeper of sorts.

 What do you think?  Grace Choi? Brain? Scandal Savage? Who do you think comics' other Top 10 LGBT characters are?


  1. Some of the best homo characters are in the LSH, we have;
    Element Lad, one of the first to come out without actually coming out. The [then] 30th century didn't need to bother with dealing with peoples preferences, it simply wasn't worth the attention. Older LSH fans recall the hilarious moment Lighning Lass made a play for him on a date and he tried to reject her advances without stating why [giggle, it was the 60s after all] and even later when he dated Shvaughn Erin, she loved him but he couldn't, er, return the favour. Unrequited love at its best, and handled far better than the clumsy Dawnstar and Wildfire unrequited angle.
    Pity in th eFive Years Later arc the writer had Shvaughn turn out to be a man whod taken sex-change tablets [yeah, if you wanna change your sex in the future, just pop a pill] to attract more gay followers to the book. THEY responded by wanting Shvaughn back.
    so much for political correctness

    Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass - the truly great pairing.
    For years Salu [violet] had dated Duplicate Boy and secretly fancied Collossal Boy, and Ayla [LL] had for the longest time dated wannabe Wolverine-type Timber Wolf, but then they started dating each other...
    Lesbian fans of the LSH adored this couple, as they weren't sensationalist or over-hyped. They were portrayed as just another couple. Bisexuality was accepted in the future LSH century as just another life-choice; you could flit from man to woman with ease and not judged.
    When the LSH book was rebotted with the 'Archie' Legion, their romance was erased, and in its place Shrinking Violet had a bset friend in Kinetix [one of the most despised Legionnaires ever by the fans] and it was broadly hinted they would be the new 'lesbian' couple but it never materialised, thankfully.
    The newest reboot of the LSH saw Vi and Ayla's relationship return, tho they have been relegated to background characters since.

    Mon-El. When he turned up in the Superman books a couple of years back, it was again hinted broadly that he was bi-sexual, mainly as a by-product of his home planet Daxam being 90% male, and that Shadow Lass had to do all the running and pursue him when their relationship first got going. Well, if you spent 1000 years trapped in the Phantom Zone, youd probably only want ass if it had hair on it, too[!] The writer wisely declined having him look for a possible boyfriend in Superboy.
    And he recently became the temporary wearer of a Green Lantern ring in the LSH run - now THAT is a dead giveaway, lol!

    Northstar - he of Alpha Flight. Once a decent role model for gay rights and super-heroes, he has since become a stereotype. and the fact he never stops going on about being homosexual either dosent help matters.

    Daken - Wolverine's son. Rumoured to be homosexual, and an amusing sub-plot had him lusting after super-stud [and straight as one of his flame bolts] Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four.

    Ipthieme and Althea from Wonder Woman. Two Amazons from opposite sides of two tribes, who fell in love - and promptly split when one tribe declared war on the other, and Ipthieme had been revealed to be helping the other side.

    Phillipus of the Amazon Guard and Queen Hippolyta - not an actual lesbian 'ship, but Phillipus had a serious crush on her best friend, which was never reciprocated.

  2. Damnit Dan! There goes my top ten filler article of the week. Ha ha, no. But very cool and interesting list. I really learned some new things myself.

    Oh, and at least they made Pipe a badass again before erasing that continuity.

  3. And now thx to karl, I really learned new stuff:)

  4. Also to add - back in 1986 [SO long ago now, *sigh*] I had just joined my LSH APA group, and the big storyline that year was the mysterious 'Who Is Sensor Girl' ongoing plot.
    We were discussing it [by snail mail, no thing such as computers or email back in those days, lol!] and some were discussing what was happening with Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet. I had NO idea what they were talking about [SO young and SO naïve in those bygone days, *sigh* again] as the girls had always been seen with boys and had to prise it out of some others what was going on with them, as I knew nothing about lesbians back then [made up for it since, lol!].

  5. Thanks guys! Dale mate, you always crack me up. Glax you don't charge ;-) I'm glad Piper was beefed back up too. Countdown had alot to answer for.

    Karl, I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't get things due to youth! You're bang on with the Legion, I had Lightning Lass on my list right till I hit publish, though forgot about Mon-El. As you say he fits the bill nicely.

    I guess like with the Amazons in Wonder Woman there were so many great options in the Legion to pick from it just shows how ahead of many media mainstream comics actually are!

  6. Thank you for putting Karolina in there, Dan. She gets left off when the discussion comes around so often, and not only was she a well rounded character, but her powers were kick ass, and pretty too. Yes, I said pretty. Some of us just like rainbows. Karolina was a beautiful person. I miss the Runaways.

  7. I think she gets left out a lot too Random. After I took the usual top 10 out of the running, she was instantly my #1. If anyone can create great characters from scratch it's writer Brian K.

  8. Lying Cat would have nothing to say to that.