Tag Archives: LGBTQ superheroes

5 Ways To Make Your Superhero Miserable

So, you’ve probably heard by now all the fuss about writers J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman leaving DC Comics after the editors told them they couldn’t write Batwoman‘s marriage. Big hulabaloo ensues. DC replaces them with an openly gay writer to make themselves look better, and they defend themselves by saying the no marriage thing had “nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the character,” but rather because, as Dan Didio said at Baltimore Comic Con

“Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.”

Okay…

I mean, fine. It’s true. Heroes of the super variety do tend to basically have shitty lives. Batman can’t hold on to a lady friend, Iceman basically almost destroys the world, Rogue can’t get anywhere near first base…

But let’s think about this for a second.  Marriage is kind of a sensitive topic in the LGBTQ community.  You know, the institution being not-so-fictionally denied them until about oh two and a half months ago.

So an editorial board denying one of its few LGBTQ heroes the chance to get married without some kind of story referencing DOMA or something and then saying it has “nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the character” is sort of like putting a giant banana on a comic full of Black characters and saying it has nothing to do with race… Oh wait… that happened too.

Point is, sure maybe they didn’t decide Batwoman couldn’t get married because they are against gay marriage, but rather because they don’t want any of the Bat family getting married (which isn’t actually what they said, they only said they don’t want them having happy personal lives, but whatever). Nonetheless, it’s pretty ignorant to pretend the denial of marriage in general has nothing to do with the LGBTQ community.   Add on top of that the fact that they created an alternate universe Alan Scott, the classic Green Lantern, who was gay and proposed to his boyfriend only to see the boyfriend die like 2 seconds later. Smell an unfortunate trend? But let’s stick with their story and accept that it wasn’t anti-gay marriage, just kinda dumb and insensitive.

Bananas are bananas. Put them on a picture of a bunch of Black folk, they’re not just bananas anymore… regardless of the intent. Is DC’s decision anti-gay? Probably not. Is it ridiculously stupid? Yup.

To exemplify just how stupid, here are 5 other ways that DC could make sure Batwoman’s personal life stays full of suck (mildly spoilery if you don’t keep up with your DC).

1. Paralyze her

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What could possibly be worse for a hero who’s “committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests,” by punching and kicking things than taking away their ability to punch and kick things. Oracle (Batgirl) knows a thing or two about it, lucky for her she’s also a super computer whiz and managed to stay in the game that way. But what about our military-trained, party-girl Kate Kane? Here’s betting she go on a twenty-year drinking binge and destroy her marriage before Batman bought her bionic legs or something. Then she could be all sad and wompy all the time about how she alienated her wife and was half-android now.

2. Kill her wife.

You know what’s more traumatic than not getting married? Getting married and then watching your significant other die. Just ask Katana. The whole kill the love of your life thing is totally a staple of hero adventures. It’s basically how women got into the business at all. Got a hero? Here, have a woman he can love and lose so he can go all dark and gruffy, just how we like ’em.  And it makes life totally worse if you give the hope of happiness first and then rip it cruelly away and scar them for a good long forever. Just look at Katana, she’s been talking to her husband’s spirit in a sword for some 30 years now.

3. Kill her son. 

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Seriously, the potential for a miserable personal life only increases with marriage (no jab intended at you lucky couples), but honestly, imagine if Kane was allowed to marry her beloved, and then they have a successful in vitro, despite all odds, and raise a happy plump little boy name BatAwesome, who lives a solid 10 years only to be used to try to murder you and ultimately get killed by his own clone.  Ya. That’d really suck, wouldn’t it TaliaBatman?

4. Blow up her whole planet. 

Actually, maybe not. Superman seems to be doing alright with all that baggage…

5.  Kill every single woman on Earth in one fell swoop, except her. 

LOL. Ya that’d suck, right?  Brian K. Vaughan was clearly playing off of that male fantasy to be the only male option on Earth when he killed off all but one guy in Y: The Last Man. But imagine it the other way around. A woman who loves women stuck in a world full of dudes… I can’t even deal with the level of sad and effed up that is. But now imagine if she had been married to Mags when that horrible ish went down. Rather than a man alone in a world full of women (with mostly violent intents towards him) searching desperately for his girlfriend, you’d have one really really lonely, miserable, sexually-frustrated Batwoman.

Okay, that’s a stretch, but you get the point, right? Marriage is maybe sort of totally a big deal for everyone, but it’s especially poignant for those denied the right, and the wound is still fresh, so maybe a little extra thought on this one DC? Maybe no hard fast rules that you blanket across your mostly white, male heroes. If you’re gonna have a diversity of heroes, you might want to have a diversity of miseries too, ya?

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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)

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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.

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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.