• Lady Loki, Catwoman and Catwoman, and the Green Lantern. (Marvel / DC Comics)Source: Marvel / DC Comics
When your grandparents know who Tony Stark is, it's clear superheroes are dictating pop culture. So how does the comic industry portray LGBTQIA+ characters? Here are some super-folks who might be more queer-friendly than you thought.
Mathias Gaugg

9 Sep 2016 - 3:14 PM  UPDATED 9 Sep 2016 - 3:14 PM

1. Deadpool

There's not a lot to be said about the fourth-wall-breaking 'merc with a mouth' that you won't have picked up from the inescapable release of the Deadpool film, except, of course, that he's pansexual. It's easy to miss amid the constant stream of jokes the mercenary fires at the speed of an AK-47, but it's true. In fact, as a brutal, foul-mouthed fratboy who happens to also like dudes, Deadpool might be the greatest indicator that queerness is something both audiences and creators of superhero fare are finally willing to embrace... even if it needs to be wrapped in jokes and explosions.

2. Catwoman, and Catwoman again

You may know Selina Kyle's Catwoman as a leather-clad Michelle Pfeiffer or a toned-down Anne Hathaway. What you may not know, however, is that she's another super-lady whose bisexuality has never been addressed onscreen. She made headlines with it in comics, sharing a kiss with – stay with me – Catwoman, a mantle which was being worn at the time by Japanese heiress Eiko Hasigawa. What's better than one queer Catwoman? Two queer Catwomen in love, that's what.

3. Aqualad

Jason Momoa is already busy teaching the world that Aquaman doesn't just talk to fish, and in the comics, his protege Aqualad is doing the same. Jackson Hyde, the newest Aqualad on the block, has recently come out as having a boyfriend, as a sidenote to having a set of water-bending abilities beyond even the King of Atlantis. His new title looks poised to explore what it is to be a young, black, queer hero.

4. Loki

Currently male onscreen, the Norse trickster god has a fluid approach to gender in the comics, in keeping with the character's mythological counterpart. Recent stories see the charismatic supervillain transitioning between male and female forms as desired, ignoring rigid gender definitions in true Loki style. So if Tom Hiddleston ever tires of male Loki, we could see the Goddess of Mischief in film...

5. Black Canary & Nyssa al Ghul

Besides being super-friends with Wonder Woman and Superman, Black Canary is best known to some as the longtime partner of Green Arrow. On the small-screen version of Arrow, however, Ms. Lance is happily partnered with assassin and sometime Batman-villain, Nyssa al Ghul, because let's be honest: everything is better with a lesbian superhero couple.

6. Mystique

The X-Men are often seen as queer icons, facing oppression for being born the way they are. Yet while openly gay director Bryan Singer brought mutant Mystique to the forefront of this group, the movies still haven't addressed her relationship with a woman - the clairvoyant Destiny. There's still room for this pairing onscreen, though, as the lifespan of the X-Men film series seems, well, superhuman.

7. Daken, aka Dark Wolverine

The Japanese-Canadian son of Wolverine, Daken isn't shy about being queer; a signature move of his is to plant a kiss on a flustered male opponent without warning. Always ambiguous about his orientation, Daken's cavalier attitude is just one thing he inherited from his old man Logan... along with the claws and, occasionally, the Wolverine mantle itself.

8. Batgirl of Two Worlds

Alysia Yeoh is many things: roommate to Barbara Gordon's Batgirl. Outspoken cat-fancier. But most notably, a transgender person of colour in mainstream comics, who isn't treated as a curiosity. Meanwhile, a version of Alysia from an alternate reality (because these are comic books, after all) has now graduated to superhero status herself, joining the League of Batgirls.

9. Green Lantern

No, not the one from the movie. The Green Lanterns are light-wielding intergalactic peacekeepers – I'll say it, they're space cops – and Alan Scott was the first. This iconic Green Lantern has since been re-imagined as an openly gay superhero, committed to his fiancee, Sam Zhao.

10. Hulk & Thor, 2.0

Avengers Hulk and Thor are household names nowadays, thanks to their big-screen exploits. But you may not know their junior counterparts, Hulking and Wiccan, who do their namesakes proud as members of the Young Avengers. What's more, Teddy Altman and Billy Kaplan's enduring relationship makes them the poster boys for young gay superhero couples.