It’s 2016 and we’re finally starting to see some diversity in one world that has sorely needed it for quite some time: comic books. For years the pages of both Marvel and DC Comics were packed with no shortage of anguished, macho white men while relegating not only women, but also people of color and the LGBTQ community to the sidelines (or reserving them as sidekicks). Thankfully, publishers are finally realizing that the their audience has grown into a wonderfully diverse plethora of people and the pages of their books are starting to reflect that.
Slowly but surely Marvel has been flipping the script on LGBTQ superheroes, and you could actually say it started four years ago when Marvel debuted the first gay wedding in comics, in which Alpha Flight’s Northstar finally married his longtime partner. For Marvel this was downright huge and while it wasn’t a particularly prominent hero in one of the big name books, it was still a step in the right direction.
Fast forward to now and Marvel is going to roll out not one, but two different books starring LGBT heroes. And all we can say is that it’s about time. Iceman, a founding member of the X-Men, came out as gay in 2012 and starting in 2017 will be in a book of his very own. America Chavez, a Latin-American LGBTQ teenaged superhero also known as Miss America, will also be receiving her own comic. Chavez has been particularly prominent during the most recent Civil War II story arc and has quickly become a fan favorite. Both books are planned for release in early 2017.
While these books definitely represent progress, it’s hard not to envision Marvel doing more. The LGBTQ community’s finally receiving some recognition in the comics is definitely important, but it carries nowhere near the impact that appearing in larger media would. We’re still a long way off from an openly queer character making an appearance in the MCU, for instance, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start moving in that direction.
Marvel has long used its video games as an excellent platform through which it can introduce characters to new audiences or continue to advertise them in order to maintain a certain degree of relevancy. The company has courted the mainstream casual audiences through one casino platform hosting plenty of Marvel themed games including heroes like The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man with familiar and easy to play slot reels that appeal to just about everyone. This could also be a a great, low-risk way to familiarize audiences with characters like Miss America. Pretty much everyone knows who Iceman is and thanks to his founding father status he’s made plenty of video game appearances, but Miss America has only been an extra character in a pinball game and an included character in the ensemble Lego Marvel’s Avengers. Miss America is a terrific character with tons of potential so it would be great to see Marvel take advantage of her and the rest of the Young Avengers by giving them their own video game, whether it’s through a casino platform, an app, or something else capable of reaching a large audience with minimal effort.
All in all, we’re still happy to finally see Marvel doing more to recognize this important demographic. Marvel is making a lot of the right moves but we’d still like to see them do more in the future and we hope that someday soon we’ll be seeing an LGBTQ character on the big screen.