Tag Archives: Midnighter

Today, for Spirit Day

a re-posting of “The  Seven Best Gay Characters in Comics” (originally posted September 13, 2010)

Last week, the seven most MISGUIDED attempts at Gay Characters in comics.  This week:  The Seven Best Gay Characters in Comics -   Because the glass is half full, and I know how to swirl it around.

Who am I to make such a list?  What are my credentials?
I’ve read more comics than you have – (Unless you’re Mark Waid, and then I’m sorry for being presumptuous, my superior master) -  And because I have a blog and you don’t.   I found this one on the street near my friend Kevin’s house, and now it’s mine , so no one can stop me.

THE SEVEN BEST GAY CHARACTERS IN COMICS.

7) WICCAN

(BILLY KAPLAN) - (and his boyfriend Hulkling (TED ALTMAN)

Can you guess which one’s called “Hulkling” and which one’s “Wiccan”?

Wiccan is part of a Mighty Marvel Royal Family.

Kissing cousin to damn near everyone.

He is (more or less) the son of mutant Wanda Maximov (the Scarlet Witch), making him the grandson of Magneto (X-Men bad guy), nephew to Quicksilver (X-Men/Avenger asshole), twin brother of SPEED (Young Avengers teen), and step-son (?) to the Silver Age Vision, who used to be the golden age Human Torch -  also Wiccan is first cousin to Luna, daughter or Crystal, who was the ex-girlfriend of the CURRENT Human Torch, which makes Billy Kaplan part of the extended families of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Avengers – requiring every Marvel hero but Daredevil to let him crash on the couch for two days, unannounced.

And Wiccan’s boyfriend, Hulkling, is the son of Captain Mar-vell and a Skrull Princess named Analee.  So he’s an Avengers brat too.

Young Avengers Presents #3

It’s often said that there’s someone gay in every extended family in America (whether you know it or not) and Marvel finally acknowledged it with one of the main families of the Marvel U.

But what really lands BILLY on the list are these scenes from YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS  Issue #3…. Wiccan has spent the issue with his brother, trying to find his missing, presumed dead mom, the Scarlet Witch, and along the way, they’re told she’s not going to be found, and handed this piece of advice….

-and when he’s home later, with Hulkling, he realizes how wonderful THAT moment with his boyfriend is…

Notice, the gay boyfriend isn’t a temptation to deny, or a problem to solve, or a secret to hide from his family – the boyfriend is a magical blessing in Wiccan’s life.  There’s yer hopeful ending, right there, and it comes from someone in the family… the “Dick Cheney’s daughter” of the Marvel Universe, if I may use a metaphor bluntly and badly.

6)  BATWOMAN

-KATE KANE

Pretty. pretty…

After the first few Batwoman issues of Detective I found I liked the comic, but didn’t love the protagonist.  It was BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by J.H.Williams III, over an action -packed Greg Rucka plot about a weird Alice in Wonderland cult -all entertaining as hell — but I hadn’t had that “moment” where I was won over by Batwoman, (or Kate Kane), as a character in her own right.  There was much butt kicking and leaping, but ALL the bat-gang do that.

-
But then, we came to this scene in Detective 856, where Ms. Kane arrives at a charity function dressed in a formal tuxedo, rocking a post-goth, post-Patrick Nagel thing, and strutting like it was her palace.

Her confidence in facing down disapproving relatives and openly flirtatious police captains, won me over but good.
I love her body language, her dialog, that touch of arrogance, all while working clues to a super-crime in her head.  Dare I say it, it reminded me of Bruce Wayne – in a way that Dick Grayson, Tim Drake or Barbara Gordon never did – the way Kate just OWNED that room and the story.


So as of ‘Tec 856, Kate Kane had “it” for me.
As the next few issues followed, and we learned of Kate’s bizarre back story, her brutal family tragedy, her “honorable” discharge from the Army, and her wonderful, complex relationship with her father, this comic became the surprise hit of the year for me.  More of this, thanks!
And oh, yeah.  She’s gay.  Just part of the overall weave, my friends.

5) MARK SLACKMEYER

From Doonesbury.

Mark is one of the four founding characters of one of the five best comic strips of the 20th Century  (PogoCalvin and HobbesPeanuts and L’il Abnerare the other four) and DECADES into Mark’s story in the strip, he turns out to be gay.  It seemed a little forced when the idea first arrived, but I never should have doubted Mr. Garry Trudeau, Lord of the Doonesbury.  In fairly short order, Megaphone Mark, the ultra liberal student radical turned NPR radio host settles down with a man who is his opposite in nearly every way – a log cabin Republican, conservative money-pusher named Chase Talbot III (who is the embodiment of Mark’s much hated, ultra-conservative father) and they become a bickering married couple on the radio.  BRILLIANT comics, great satire and very real human comedy for anyone with a passing recognition of the Oedipal Complex or the tropes of 70s family sitcoms.

And yet, they’re in love.

Mark and Chase are separated now, but their time together was a high water mark in what is still the best comic strip running in  American papers.

4)  MIDNIGHTER

-(and his lovely husband, Apollo)
From the ultra right wing, ultra violent Wildstorm series, STORMWATCH, comes the most militant homosexual “super-hero” in history.
What’s not to LOVE about Midnighter?  He’s Gay Batman, for god’s sake.  PLUS he’s got a special instant super-healing power, and a murderous temper which makes him gay Wolverine-Batman.  Which is really gay Dark

Like this guy…only attracted to men, see?

Claw, and that’s the whole enchilada right there.  Gay Dark Claw. Dark Claw, only gay.  And his boyfriend is essentially gay Superman, only  named Apollo.  It makes me wish I was gay, so I could love Midnighter even more.

What started off as a Warren Ellis one-joke about a long believed super-hero subtext, became an actually interesting pair of characters over the next few years of Stormwatch, and then, AUTHORITY.   Midnighter and Apollo were a little more bloodthirsty than you expected, more fiercely loyal to each other than you expected, and more physically affectionate with each other than any other gay characters in comics were at the time, but they were written with wit and cleverness, even if the dialog tended towards sneering British ‘tude, And they were a genuine couple, in love and committed to each other, even adopting a child together.  (A reincarnation of a teammate, but let’s not go THERE).

They really do kiss a lot, these two…when they’re not slaughtering super-villains.

When MIDNIGHTER launched in his own monthly series, the first couple of story lines included one of the BEST time travel adventures ever, and some of the best done-in-one comic tales being published.
He’s Gay Dark Claw.  Does this need to be explained again?

-

3) LAWRENCE POIRIER

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE

Coming out to your family or friends was a dangerous thing to do in 1993. Lynn Johnson, creator of FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, discovered it was a dangerous thing to do on the comics pages of your local newspaper.

When Michael Patterson’s life long friend Lawrence told Michael he was gay, Lynn Johnson received countless hate letters and death threats from around the world….just for showing the comic strip pages that a gay person simply existed.  Over one hundred newspapers in the United States dropped her very popular comic strip until the offendingly gay Lawrence was out of the spotlight … And the intolerance wasn’t just in the real world for this poor teen -  As his fictional story continued, Lawrence told his stepfather he’d met a college boy and fallen in love, and that bit of honesty got Lawrence thrown out of his house.

Now, in the middle of all that abuse and hatred, Lawrence does something remarkable:   He remains polite.  He rages very little, he tells Michael how much he appreciates his friend’s support, and quietly waits for the rest of the world to realize how badly they’re behaving towards him.  He makes this an epic story of dignity in the middle of intolerable behavior from damn near everyone else.  All from a small, slightly terrified 17 year old boy.

THAT’s a Super-hero in my book.

2)  TOLAND POLK

Stuck Rubber Baby
Toland Polk is a fictionalized character, very loosely based on the early life of writer/ artist  HOWARD CRUSE, one of comics’ more notably “out” underground cartoonists of the 70s and 80s.  The 1995 graphic novel STUCK RUBBER BABY is a dense narrative about Toland’s early adulthood, living in the American South in the 1960s, and slowly discovering that he’s slightly racist, and very gay, and that he can only learn to stop being ONE of those things.
One of the best novels I’ve ever read about growing up.  It won the Harveyand the Eisner for best Graphic Novel in 95, as well as a bunch of other best thing-on-Earth awards that year.  Stuck Rubber Baby, stands with Maus, Barefoot Gen or Contract with God, as a rare comic life story that NEVER leaves you.  By the time it’s over, Toland Polk is one of your favorite people.

-

1) ESPERANZA “HOPEY” GLASS.

LOVE AND ROCKETS.

Teen Hopey, mind you.

Ahh….Love and Rockets - the 80s comic book you could give your date, andshe would “get it”.  QUICK HISTORY LESSON: Fangirls started hanging around comic shops because of Jaime Hernandez’ “LOCAS” series in Love and Rockets, long before Sandman was a gleam in VERTIGO’s creepy eye.

Though it started as the sci-fi story of two giggling, pro-solar mechanics named Maggie and Hopey (and Maggie’s major crush, RAND RACE), the series, LOCAS, quickly became about two unemployed EX-pro-solar mechanics/ slackers who hang around the LA Hispanic 80s Punk Rock / Wrestling world, falling in and out of trouble (and love) while picking up an ASTOUNDINGLY complex and interesting supporting cast.
What holds the series together, is that EVERYBODY loves the adorable lead character, Maggie Chascarrillo –

Ray loves Maggie.  Speedy loved Maggie.  Penny loves Maggie.  Izzy loves Maggie, and the readers love Maggie, but MOST of all, HOPEY loves Maggie.

Hopey really, really loves her.  It makes Hopey’s jackboot-wearing street-cynic party-girl butch-punk lesbian heart melt every time she’s in a room with Mags, and Maggie loves Hopey right back, except Mags couldn’t give up men forever, even for Hopey….which is the basis for much of the drama in the first decade of their relationship.

We’ve all watched Hopey’s heart break a few times, and along the way, I think we all fell in love with the abrasive little bitch who couldn’t play the bass worth a damn.  She was annoyingly human, after all.

Jamie’s not mean to Hopey…she gets to kiss Mags every now and then.

The stunning artwork by author/artist  Jamie Hernandez didn’t hurt the reader’s enjoyment of the series either.

THERE WAS NO ROOM FOR MORE

I didn’t write about Anole, or Graymalkin, or any of the gay X-Men, because I confess I rarely read X-Men books (there’s simply too many), and I’m not familiar with their stories, sorry.  Krazy Kat was strongly considered, but Kat went from being male to female so regularly, that Ignatz may have been bisexual, instead of gay, without knowing it, and who needs that confusion?  There was simply no room for Bitchy Butch (Roberta Gregory’s wonderfully awful dyke character fromNaughty Bits), or Element Lad, orConstantine, or any from the legion of lesbian detectives, wonderful characters all.

-And finally…

Get yer mind out of the gutter right now, soldier!

… I never brought up Peppermint Patty and Marcie because they aren’t lesbians, all right?  Get over it people.  They both had a crush on “Chuck”, and ONLY Chuck, never each other… and you can’t tell a person’s orientation simply because of how they wear pants.  Marcie didn’t even LIKE softball.  Good GRIEF! Don’t be such a hater.

TY THE GUY OUT!

Here now, your comic book moment of zen:

THE TOP SEVEN WILDSTORM COMICS

So, DC announces their imprint, WILDSTORM COMICS, is pulling up stakes and going quietly into that good night.  That’s too bad.  We’re told it’s part of a streamlining of DC’s business machine as it moves into the west coast movie industry, but it’s still a failure if the books ain’t selling enough to keep ‘em going.

“So long, Wildstorm“.  We can’t say we hardly knew ye, as you were here for quite a while, and you left an impression.  Sure, you stole every character you had, some of it bordering on criminal, but happily quite a bit of what Wildstorm did was quite good.  And since I’m in a good mood, we’ll leave the mistakes behind for today and focus on…

THE TOP SEVEN WILDSTORM COMIC BOOKS OF ALL TIME

7. WildC.A.T.S.

Trust us, this is nothing like the X-Men. For instance, the dwarf is smoking, and the guy with claw hands is taller.

This is not on the list for the characters or the premise, certainly, as that all sucked.  And it’s not for the entire run, obviously, because most of it sucked, and that’s primarily because the characters and the premise sucked.  But there were moments in that series where the craft of its creators was so high, that you had to sit back and marvel at how GOOD and fun comics could be when done right.  During the Alan Moore run (illustrated by Travis Charest, amongst others), or during the Travis Charest run, (written by Alan Moore, amongst others), WildC.A.T.S. was big and sexy and delightful and the PERFECT little pocket of escape from the world.

I'll bet these comics are pretty good. Kind of like the X-Men, only with better writing.

Okay, it WAS the X-MEN with a dwarf where the bald cripple was supposed to be, but it had NONE of that eighty-five year back-story to remember while the leaping and punching went on.   And let’s never take it away from the Jim Lee-illustrated issues – consistently the best Jim Lee ever looked. I usually like Jim Lee art, but I LOVE Jim Lee WildCATS art.

All so pretty. And that's not the Hulk back there. Or Superman in a white cape.

-

6. Danger Girl

If you’re a boy, and you like naked chicks with guns, or if you’re a girl, and you like other girls to be naked, and carry guns, than this was your comic.  To be fair, there were times that the characters would hang-glide in a bikini with guns, or sneak into a museum wearing a leather cat-suit, while carrying guns, but I think you get the idea.

I imagine you can see the appeal of this title, no?

It was the comic book version of Charlie’s Angels, only with more naked girls, and probably more guns.  J. Scott Campbell’s delightful sequel to Gen13, and more innocently fun, somehow, even with all the bums and guns.  It’s says it’s for adults, but it’s really for the trapped teenager in all of us.

5.  Midnighter

Come on, you love him too! And he's nothing like Batman.

Without question, Wildstorm’s single best character.  He’s gay Dark Claw, and as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I couldn’t get enough of him.  Apparently, I’ve gotten all I’m gonna get.  He’d be on this list  just for his starring role in The Authority, but his solo series started strong, stayed strong, and even petered out strong.  I don’t want to give away the punch line to the time travel story arc that starts it, but it may be my favorite time travel comic story of the last twenty years.   Created by Warren Ellis and Brian Hitch in their stellar run on the otherwise not stellar Stormwatch, Midnighter is too good a character to lose.

4.  Ex Machina

In every way, shape and form, comics for adults, and by that I don’t mean that it was another parade of tits and swords like Danger Girl was.  Instead it was a mixture between a super-hero potboiler and a complex soap opera about municipal politics.  Something that only an adult would get, or be interested in, no matter how many jet packs or talking evil robots show up on the cover, it was just for us aging fanboys.  Indescribably odd, but entertaining as hell.
Written by Brian K. Vaughn, and drawn by the lovely Tony Harris.

3.Planetary

NOTE: Doc Savage is not on this cover. Nowhere on this cover.

The three step formula for this series was quite simple:  Every issue Warren Ellis and John Cassaday would
a)  Re-imagine a beloved old character (such as Doc Savage, Godzilla, The JLA, etc) and then…

b)   Beat them to death.

c)  Then the three weirdest “investigators” in the world would show up and do astoundingly weird things, and they would find out what happened.

That's also not Doc Savage in the logo, upper left.

Eventually it turned out, it was all part of one big weird plot featuring the “fourth man” and the “secret history” of the world, and it was all cool as hell while it was going on, especially Elijah Snow.

The series itself died and was resurrected years later, more alive than before.  And though it wasn’t his very first gig, it was the gig that gave the world a semi-regular visit with John Cassaday, for which we all owe Wildstorm a thank-you.

2. Authority

This is where All-Star Superman grew its balls. And that's not Batman, or Superman or anyone like the Justice League anywhere in this image.

An exploration of the theme of the benign, but fascist super-hero, first played with in Alan Moore’s Marvelman – I mean Miracleman – no, I mean Marvelman.  But rather than feeling like a re-hash, AUTHORITY featured such a line-up of top flight creators for so much of its run (Warren Ellis, Brian Hitch, Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Glen Fabry, Gene Ha, Mark Millar and more) that it had no choice but to be interesting.  My favorite characters were Midnighter and Apollo, but Hawksmoor, Jenny Sparks, The Doctor, maybe even Kev…all running a tight, close second…..  I understand the series started welcoming members of the WildCATS and GEN13 on board as sales lagged, but the first decade of the AUTHORITY was, as we said back then…da bomb!

1.  Astro City

That's not Superman on the sign, and he's not talking to Wonder Woman. What IS it with you people, seeing things that aren't there?

Kurt Busiek’s and Brent Anderson’s love letter to everything we live and breathe about comic book heroes.  I think this is the series that started the trend of “sampling” characters from other companies with a boldness that bordered on plagiarism.

The Thing, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Superman...none of those characters are in this drawing, seriously. You'll never find them.

It wasn’t hard to figure out the disguises that Kurt and Brent, and cover artist Alex Ross, put on Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four, but that was entirely the point of the fun.  This was ALL one crazy What-if-Elsworlds-Imaginary story that we got to play in, and it was always, always, always a treat to visit.

ASTRO CITY started as an Image Comic, then it became part of the Homage Comics line, which was absorbed into the Wildstorm line, which is now being cancelled.  Astro City will survive this.   There will always be a place for this book with fans, no matter how many publishers it leaves in a smoking ruin.

Honorable mentions:

Sleeper: Too tied into Wildstorm Universe continuity to be truly compelling, but Ed Brubaker’s scripts and Sean Phillips’ art were too good to dismiss.  I read them in spite of myself.

Arrowsmith: World War One fought with Harry Potter magic, with doughboys riding dragons, fighting goblins, and getting covered in mud in a trench.  Like Fables with way more explosions.  By Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco.

GEN 13: The Horny X-Men.  J. Scott Campbell, Adam Hughes…all so pretty and meaningless, but fun and silly when you just want a snack.

TY THE GUY OUT!

Here now, your comic book moment of zen:

THE SEVEN BEST GAY CHARACTERS IN COMICS.-

Last week, the seven most MISGUIDED attempts at Gay Characters in comics.  This week:  The Seven Best Gay Characters in Comics -   Because the glass is half full, and I know how to swirl it around.

Who am I to make such a list?  What are my credentials?
I’ve read more comics than you have – (Unless you’re Mark Waid, and then I’m sorry for being presumptuous, my superior master) -  And because I have a blog and you don’t.   I found this one on the street near my friend Kevin’s house, and now it’s mine , so no one can stop me.

THE SEVEN BEST GAY CHARACTERS IN COMICS.

7) Wiccan

(BILLY KAPLAN) – (and his boyfriend Hulkling (TED ALTMAN)

Can you guess which one's called "Hulkling" and which one's "Wiccan"?

Wiccan is part of a Mighty Marvel Royal Family.

Kissing cousin to damn near everyone.

He is (more or less) the son of mutant Wanda Maximov (the Scarlet Witch), making him the grandson of Magneto (X-Men bad guy), nephew to Quicksilver (X-Men/Avenger asshole), twin brother of SPEED (Young Avengers teen), and step-son (?) to the Silver Age Vision, who used to be the golden age Human Torch -  also Wiccan is first cousin to Luna, daughter or Crystal, who was the ex-girlfriend of the CURRENT Human Torch, which makes Billy Kaplan part of the extended families of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Avengers – requiring every Marvel hero but Daredevil to let him crash on the couch for two days, unannounced.

And Wiccan’s boyfriend, Hulkling, is the son of Captain Mar-vell and a Skrull Princess named Analee.  So he’s an Avengers brat too.

Young Avengers Presents #3

It’s often said that there’s someone gay in every extended family in America (whether you know it or not) and Marvel finally acknowledged it with one of the main families of the Marvel U.

But what really lands BILLY on the list are these scenes from YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS  Issue #3…. Wiccan has spent the issue with his brother, trying to find his missing, presumed dead mom, the Scarlet Witch, and along the way, they’re told she’s not going to be found, and handed this piece of advice….

-and when he’s home later, with Hulkling, he realizes how wonderful THAT moment with his boyfriend is…

Notice, the gay boyfriend isn’t a temptation to deny, or a problem to solve, or a secret to hide from his family – the boyfriend is a magical blessing in Wiccan’s life.  There’s yer hopeful ending, right there, and it comes from someone in the family… the “Dick Cheney’s daughter” of the Marvel Universe, if I may use a metaphor bluntly and badly.

6)  Batwoman

-KATE KANE

Pretty. pretty...

After the first few Batwoman issues of Detective I found I liked the comic, but didn’t love the protagonist.  It was BEAUTIFULLY illustrated by J.H. Williams III, over an action -packed Greg Rucka plot about a weird Alice in Wonderland cult -all entertaining as hell — but I hadn’t had that “moment” where I was won over by Batwoman, (or Kate Kane), as a character in her own right.  There was much butt kicking and leaping, but ALL the bat-gang do that.

-
But then, we came to this scene in Detective 856, where Ms. Kane arrives at a charity function dressed in a formal tuxedo, rocking a post-goth, post-Patrick Nagel thing, and strutting like it was her palace.

Her confidence in facing down disapproving relatives and openly flirtatious police captains, won me over but good.
I love her body language, her dialog, that touch of arrogance, all while working clues to a super-crime in her head.  Dare I say it, it reminded me of Bruce Wayne – in a way that Dick Grayson, Tim Drake or Barbara Gordon never did – the way Kate just OWNED that room and the story.


So as of ‘Tec 856, Kate Kane had “it” for me.
As the next few issues followed, and we learned of Kate’s bizarre back story, her brutal family tragedy, her “honorable” discharge from the Army, and her wonderful, complex relationship with her father, this comic became the surprise hit of the year for me.  More of this, thanks!
And oh, yeah.  She’s gay.  Just part of the overall weave, my friends.

5) Mark Slackmeyer

From Doonesbury.

Mark is one of the four founding characters of one of the five best comic strips of the 20th Century  (Pogo, Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts and L’il Abner are the other four) and DECADES into Mark’s story in the strip, he turns out to be gay.  It seemed a little forced when the idea first arrived, but I never should have doubted Mr. Garry Trudeau, Lord of the Doonesbury.  In fairly short order, Megaphone Mark, the ultra liberal student radical turned NPR radio host settles down with a man who is his opposite in nearly every way – a log cabin Republican, conservative money-pusher named Chase Talbot III (who is the embodiment of Mark’s much hated, ultra-conservative father) and they become a bickering married couple on the radio.  BRILLIANT comics, great satire and very real human comedy for anyone with a passing recognition of the Oedipal Complex or the tropes of 70s family sitcoms.

And yet, they're in love.

Mark and Chase are separated now, but their time together was a high water mark in what is still the best comic strip running in  American papers.

4)  Midnighter

-(and his lovely husband, Apollo)
From the ultra right wing, ultra violent Wildstorm series, STORMWATCH, comes the most militant homosexual “super-hero” in history.
What’s not to LOVE about Midnighter?  He’s Gay Batman, for god’s sake.  PLUS he’s got a special instant super-healing power, and a murderous temper which makes him gay Wolverine-Batman.  Which is really gay Dark

Like this guy...only attracted to men, see?

Claw, and that’s the whole enchilada right there.  Gay Dark Claw. Dark Claw, only gay.  And his boyfriend is essentially gay Superman, only  named Apollo.  It makes me wish I was gay, so I could love Midnighter even more.

What started off as a Warren Ellis one-joke about a long believed super-hero subtext, became an actually interesting pair of characters over the next few years of Stormwatch, and then, AUTHORITY.   Midnighter and Apollo were a little more bloodthirsty than you expected, more fiercely loyal to each other than you expected, and more physically affectionate with each other than any other gay characters in comics were at the time, but they were written with wit and cleverness, even if the dialog tended towards sneering British ‘tude, And they were a genuine couple, in love and committed to each other, even adopting a child together.  (A reincarnation of a teammate, but let’s not go THERE).

They really do kiss a lot, these two...when they're not slaughtering super-villains.

When MIDNIGHTER launched in his own monthly series, the first couple of story lines included one of the BEST time travel adventures ever, and some of the best done-in-one comic tales being published.
He’s Gay Dark Claw.  Does this need to be explained again?

-

3) Lawrence Poirier

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE

Coming out to your family or friends was a dangerous thing to do in 1993.  Lynn Johnson, creator of FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, discovered it was a dangerous thing to do on the comics pages of your local newspaper.

When Michael Patterson’s life long friend Lawrence told Michael he was gay, Lynn Johnson received countless hate letters and death threats from around the world….just for showing the comic strip pages that a gay person simply existed.  Over one hundred newspapers in the United States dropped her very popular comic strip until the offendingly gay Lawrence was out of the spotlight … And the intolerance wasn’t just in the real world for this poor teen -  As his fictional story continued, Lawrence told his stepfather he’d met a college boy and fallen in love, and that bit of honesty got Lawrence thrown out of his house.

Now, in the middle of all that abuse and hatred, Lawrence does something remarkable:   He remains polite.  He rages very little, he tells Michael how much he appreciates his friend’s support, and quietly waits for the rest of the world to realize how badly they’re behaving towards him.  He makes this an epic story of dignity in the middle of intolerable behavior from damn near everyone else.  All from a small, slightly terrified 17 year old boy.

THAT’s a Super-hero in my book.

2)  Toland Polk

Stuck Rubber Baby
Toland Polk is a fictionalized character, very loosely based on the early life of writer/ artist  HOWARD CRUSE, one of comics’ more notably “out” underground cartoonists of the 70s and 80s.  The 1995 graphic novel STUCK RUBBER BABY is a dense narrative about Toland’s early adulthood, living in the American South in the 1960s, and slowly discovering that he’s slightly racist, and very gay, and that he can only learn to stop being ONE of those things.
One of the best novels I’ve ever read about growing up.  It won the Harvey and the Eisner for best Graphic Novel in 95, as well as a bunch of other best thing-on-Earth awards that year.  Stuck Rubber Baby, stands with Maus, Barefoot Gen or Contract with God, as a rare comic life story that NEVER leaves you.  By the time it’s over, Toland Polk is one of your favorite people.

-

1) Esperanza “Hopey” Glass.

LOVE AND ROCKETS.

Teen Hopey, mind you.

Ahh….Love and Rockets - the 80s comic book you could give your date, and she would “get it”.  QUICK HISTORY LESSON: Fangirls started hanging around comic shops because of Jaime Hernandez’ “LOCAS” series in Love and Rockets, long before Sandman was a gleam in VERTIGO’s creepy eye.

Though it started as the sci-fi story of two giggling, pro-solar mechanics named Maggie and Hopey (and Maggie’s major crush, RAND RACE), the series, LOCAS, quickly became about two unemployed EX-pro-solar mechanics/ slackers who hang around the LA Hispanic 80s Punk Rock / Wrestling world, falling in and out of trouble (and love) while picking up an ASTOUNDINGLY complex and interesting supporting cast.
What holds the series together, is that EVERYBODY loves the adorable lead character, Maggie Chascarrillo –

Ray loves Maggie.  Speedy loved Maggie.  Penny loves Maggie.  Izzy loves Maggie, and the readers love Maggie, but MOST of all, HOPEY loves Maggie.

Hopey really, really loves her.  It makes Hopey’s jackboot-wearing street-cynic party-girl butch-punk lesbian heart melt every time she’s in a room with Mags, and Maggie loves Hopey right back, except Mags couldn’t give up men forever, even for Hopey….which is the basis for much of the drama in the first decade of their relationship.

We’ve all watched Hopey’s heart break a few times, and along the way, I think we all fell in love with the abrasive little bitch who couldn’t play the bass worth a damn.  She was annoyingly human, after all.

Jamie's not mean to Hopey...she gets to kiss Mags every now and then.

The stunning artwork by author/artist  Jamie Hernandez didn’t hurt the reader’s enjoyment of the series either.

THERE WAS NO ROOM for MORE

I didn’t write about Anole, or Graymalkin, or any of the gay X-Men, because I confess I rarely read X-Men books (there’s simply too many), and I’m not familiar with their stories, sorry.  Krazy Kat was strongly considered, but Kat went from being male to female so regularly, that Ignatz may have been bisexual, instead of gay, without knowing it, and who needs that confusion?  There was simply no room for Bitchy Butch (Roberta Gregory’s wonderfully awful dyke character from Naughty Bits), or Element Lad, or Constantine, or any from the legion of lesbian detectives, wonderful characters all.

-And finally…

Get yer mind out of the gutter right now, soldier!

… I never brought up Peppermint Patty and Marcie because they aren’t lesbians, all right?  Get over it people.  They both had a crush on “Chuck”, and ONLY Chuck, never each other… and you can’t tell a person’s orientation simply because of how they wear pants.  Marcie didn’t even LIKE softball.  Good GRIEF! Don’t be such a hater.

TY THE GUY OUT!

Here now, your comic book moment of zen: