The Comics Pimp – Superheroes & Sexuality
Rarely has sexuality been explored in comics. Particularly in superhero comics, publishers have shied away from defining the sexuality of heroes, gay or straight. What changes have occurred have been recent, and in some cases, quite welcome.
In 1999, DC Comics revealed that two members (Apollo and Midnighter), of a team of seven superheroes, were gay. It was presented not as a focal point of the ongoing story, but simply as one aspect of the characters, who as it turns out, were also the first openly gay superhero couple. The Authority challenged all the stereotypes of gay men.
While writing X-Men, Grant Morrison wasn’t afraid to show his characters’ sexuality, particularly Scott Summers (Cyclops) getting horny for Emma Frost. Now that they have become an item, their sex life is seamlessly integrated into the X-Men’s ongoing storylines. Without a doubt, they have become the most sexual couple in comics.
In 2010, Batwoman became the lead feature in one of DC Comics’ flagship titles, Detective Comics. It was the first time in years that Batman was not in the starring role of the title, and it featured Kate Kane, the first lesbian superhero in mainstream comics to get her own series. Similar to Apollo and Midnighter, Batwoman’s sexuality is not the focus, but it enters into play when the story dictates it, as it would for any character, gay or straight. Though the relationship was short-lived, Batwoman dated another Gotham City heroine, the Question.
Recently, even the crime-fighting obsessed Batman warmed up to Catwoman’s charms. After years of flirting, the opposites attracted, becoming lovers. After she became pregnant, readers of Catwoman’s adventures speculated that the daddy could be Batman.
Superheroes, once seen as the bastions of abstinence, are quick to adopt a lifestyle change. In recent years, we’ve seen everything from the marriage of Storm and Black Panther, to the unexpected kiss between X-Factor’s Rictor and Shatterstar.
Is it any surprise that a bunch of women and men running around in spandex might get it on once in a while? It was only a matter of time before sex got in the way of fighting crime.