Tag Archives: Heroic Love

Heroic Love: Donner & Blitzen… Snarky, Super, Queer, & Ahead of Their Time

This pride month, we’ve been highlighting LGBTQ heroes in comics in our “Heroic Love” series. Today let’s take a look at one of the most revolutionary and little known couples in comics — Donner and Blitzen.

Only two years after Northstar came out as gay in 1992, and long before the string of gay marriage, proposals, and marriage comic book characters like Batwoman came out in the mid to late 2000’s,  Donner (aka Gerri Brauer) and Blitzen (aka Valerie Kameya) were happily committed to each other in one of comics first openly lesbian relationships.

In fact, their relationship remains one of the very few examples of a positive, secure, and equal LGBTQ relationship in comics today (Thunder and Grace Choi are another great example)

Most other LGBTQ superheroes are either single, or in a relationship with a non-powered individual who often plays damsel in distress to the other partner’s hero (though this is a trend with non-powered women in relationships with male heroes as well).

Putting the spotlight on superheroes of color, socioeconomically marginalized heroes, LGBTQ heroes, and religious minority heroes, Milestone Comics was a head of its time in many ways. However, because of the imprint’s short tenure, we didn’t get to know many of these characters as well as we would’ve liked. Here’s what we know about the super-couple Donner and Blitzen….

Donner (aka Gerri Brauer)

Donner has superhuman strength and is invulnerable to most physical attacks. Born Gerri Brauer, the German granddaughter of a Nazi geneticist, her superpowers may be due to some early tampering by her grandfather. When she was young, she was involved in Neo-Nazi gangs, but later saw the error of this and dedicated her life to justice, joining the Shadow Cabinet, where she fought alongside her now girlfriend Blitzen (aka Valerie Kameya). When the Shadow Cabinet’s leader Dharma tried to imprison the Cabinet’s members, she broke them out and formed a new group called Heroes. She first appeared in Icon #9 (1994) when she fights alongside Blitzen and Icon to defeat the villain Holocaust who had tried to recruit Icon’s sidekick Rocket to join the villainous Star Chamber group.

Blitzen (aka Valerie Kameya)


We don’t know much about Blitzen, but we do know that she was once a scientist named Valerie Kameya, and she developed a serum that endowed her with superhuman speed. The serum allows her to not only move but also to think supremely fast, making her a force to reckon with in battle. After joining the Shadow Cabinet she fell in love with Donner and the two became one of the first open lesbian couples in comics. She’s known for being brutally honest and like her girlfriend, she has a past of not-so-heroic deeds. She first appeared in Icon #9 (1994) alongside Donner. She also joined Donner in forming the new group Heroes.

 (from “Meet Milestone : A Palestinian Superheroine, A Lesbian SuperCouple, & A Kleptomaniac Supergenius”)

Heroic Love…Unrequited: Karma (Xi’an Coy Manh)

Karma (Xi’an Coy Manh)

Before she was a mind-possessing badass who was the first recruitment to Charles Xavier’s new X-men team the New Mutants, X’ian Coy Manh had a tough life. Growing up in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, her mind-control powers manifested when protecting her twin brother Tran Coy Manh from an attack by a Viet Cong soldier.  Tran went on to abuse his own identical powers, and Xi’an, along with her mother and younger siblings escaped from Vietnam by boat after her father a South Vietnamese colonel was killed.

On the journey she and her mother were sexually assaulted and her mother killed, leaving Karma an orphan and the caretaker of her siblings. This is the state that led her desperately to possess Spider-man’s mind to protect her little brother and sister. After a showdown between her, the mind-controlled Spider-man and the Fantastic Four who were possessed by her evil brother Tran, Xi’an absorbed her brother’s mind completely and became Karma. Later, in a Battle with Cameron Hodge, she was severely injured and had to have her leg amputated. It was replaced with a bionic prosthetic.

She’s been a loyal member of the X-men for decades, with brief stints away from the team to pursue other interest, including a job as a librarian at the University of Chicago, where she met and fell in love with Kitty Pryde (currently known as Shadowcat).

The two have been close friends, but Karma believes that Kitty would not be able to reciprocate her feelings and so has not pursued her own. Karma has been in no other known romantic relationship. Recently, Kitty had returned the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, where she has had a casual and undefined relationship with Iceman, and is appearing in Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel‘s X-men series.

Kitty Pride finds Karma in the wreckage of the school…

Love doesn’t always work out for everyone, not even superheroes.

Today Karma is a member of the Astonishing X-men team, along with Gambit, Iceman, Northstar, Wolverine, and Cecilia Reyes. Created by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, Karma first appeared in 1980 in Marvel Team-Up #100. Coming out and confessing her feelings for Kitty in 2003, she was one of the first lesbian characters in a mainstream comic.

Heroic Love: Grace Choi & Thunder [LGBT Pride Month]

Happy LGBTQ Pride Month! Meet awesome, queer, badass supercouple GRACE CHOI & THUNDER

Thunder (aka Anissa Pierce)  is the superpowered daughters of DC superhero Black Lightning. After striking a bargain with her father that she would wait until she graduated college to get into the family business, Anissa donned a costume, took the name Thunder, and started her journey into superheroics on the very day of her college graduation. With the power to control her own density, Thunder can make herself invulnerable, and she can create powerful shock waves by stomping on the ground. Soon she was recruited by Nightwing’s superhero team The Outsiders, where she met Grace Choi.

Thunder (Anissa Pierce) in action

Grace Choi grew up incredibly differently than Thunder.  Of Amazonian decent, Choi was abandoned as a child and grew up alone in the world. As a young girl she was exploited and abused in a child prostitution ring until she escaped and found work in the metahuman community. Her Amazonian blood endowing her with superstrength and invulnerability, she often worked as a bouncer.choi

She was working as a bouncer at a metahuman nightclub when she was recruited to The Outsiders, a gig she decided to take because it paid better.  Years later she encountered the man who had held her prisoner. She freed the children he had taken prisoner for his new prostitution ring and beat him to within an inch of his life deciding at the last minute not to kill him.

At first Grace and Thunder bucked heads on the team, constantly fighting.  However, they eventually put their differences aside and find that they share a different sentiment for each other altogether. They soon began dating, and eventually moved in together.  When  Batman kicked Thunder off The Outsiders team, Grace threatened to leave the team and continued to invite Thunder along on the team’s missions without Batman‘s permission, continually trying to convince him that she belonged on the team. When Thunder’s father was in trouble and the Justice Society of America was trying to arrest him, Grace helped him to fight them, calling him her “in-law”.

The Outsiders v.3 #46

The couple is still going strong today. Though Grace Choi is not currently appearing in any series, she is occasionally referenced in the new animated series DC Nation, in which Thunder appears along with her father Black Lightning  and her sister Lightning (aka Jennifer Pierce).