Comic book fans had lots to rejoice about yesterday when Marvel Studios announced its upcoming slate of new films. In addition to sequels for the critically and commercially successful Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy films, Marvel is making history with its first film led by a black superhero, Black Panther, and its first anchored by a female, Captain Marvel.
It’s just the latest move coming out of comic book culture, where publishers have been redefining mainstream heroes as a more diverse bunch. Many of the familiar (straight, white, male) characters — most of which got their start decades ago — are being joined by a growing number of heroes that reflect a richer representation. In addition to the female Captain Marvel, Marvel’s also recently started publishing series focusing on a female Thor, a black Captain America and a wildly successful book based on a Muslim American teenager, Ms. Marvel.
This surge in inclusivity extends to LGBT characters as well. From lesbian crimefighter Batwoman to young mutant Benjamin Deeds, there’s a growing number of queer mainstream characters that could become the next Batman, Wolverine or the Flash, conquering the box office or leading a television series.
“As pop culture goes, it's never been hotter to be a geek,” wrote Jono Jarrett, a founding board member of GeeksOUT, an organization dedicated to promoting LGBT inclusiveness in the geek community. “Politically, across the world queer visibility and acceptance are on the rise—or where it's not, it's being challenged like never before.”
With this momentum on and off the page, could it be long before we see an LGBT superhero take the spotlight on the large or small screen?
Learn more about the state of queer characters in comic books today, AFTER THE JUMP …