Xavin explaining not fitting in to male-female gender roles in Runaways. via
Both print comics and webcomics seem to be paying more attention to being inclusive these days, especially when it comes to LGBT characters. I've long treasured the diversity that's out there in webcomics if you dig a little bit, but even the comics you don't have to dig for are starting to include characters of color and queer characters. Jeph Jacques, for example, upped the inclusion ante at Questionable Content last year when two women of color and a white transwoman appeared in a one-panel diversitysplosion. Other comics seem to be moving in the same direction. Maybe next Randall Munroe will strike a blow to androcentrism and retcon the xkcd stick figures into being female-to-intersex pansexuals of color.
To celebrate inclusion in comics and encourage more, I'd like to put forward my top five list of the best genderqueer characters in comics.
Now, maybe there's a bigger subtext that I'm missing. I'm coming at this as a mom and a feminist, not necessarily as a comic book reader, so perhaps I don't understand all the nuances of this world—I'll own up to that. But when my son is starting to find himself interested in all things "Super," then I feel my opinion counts for something. We're barely scratching the surface of superheroes—there is a whole lot more out there that is even more sexist, and racist—but just what we've seen so far has left this feminist mom clutching at her non-existent pearls.
Since those early days of running around doing Batman-themed dressup, Batgirl has been my favorite superheroine.
She's less cutesy than the Sailor Scouts, nerdier than Nightshade, wears more clothing than Wonder Woman, and has a greater variety of super abilities than my second-favorite superheroine, Storm (but it's really close, so don't hate on me, X-Men fans).
Comics haven't always been a bastion of feminist values, but they have given readers some fairly positive examples of characters with disabilities over the years. I've pulled together a brief list of characters who are more than just tropes meant to teach a Very Special Lesson.
I would be remiss for not mentioning The Spirit, Frank Miller's PG-13 cleavagefest opening tomorrow. The Spirit features the longest roster of female talent in a comic book adaptation this whole year, but it's sadly a bunch of overstylized nostalgia - and a desperate amount of pandering eye candy for fanboys. And, according to Miller, this is all in the name of restoring manhood! More after the jump....
Bad news in the superhero world over the past few months: the downturn
in the economy is impacting comic book publishers, and both Marvel and
DC Comics are canceling a whole of bunch of their midlist superheroes.
Unfortunately, the midlist is where a lot of titles featuring women and
superheroes of color live in the comic book world. As a result, comic
book diversity seems to be the biggest casuality of all these