When the Supreme Court of the United States of America made it legally clear that not allowing people to marry because they happen to be the same sex is a messed up relic of the past, there was much rejoicing: rainbow confetti tossed into the air, rainbow wedding cakes sliced with delight, and I hear even Rainbow Batman made a guest appearance at the Rainbow House in DC.
But where exactly does that leave queer Blerds and their allies? While we already know that the m-word is forbidden in the comics world when it comes to keeping heterosexual superheroes in the limelight (just look at Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson, Clark Kent and Lois Lane, T’challa and Ororo Munroe, and the whole confusing mess with Arthur Curry and Mera for starters), it’s easy to see that for queer couples, much like in real life, the problems are far more severe.
One notable example occurred back in 2013 when creative team J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman left what at the time was really one of the few consistently flourishing New 52 titles, Batwoman, due to editorial intervention preventing Kate Kane from marrying her girlfriend, Maggie Sawyer. After Dan DiDio himself spoke on the subject and claimed that the job of a superhero is to set their personal lives aside (read: tumultuous unhealthy romances for everyone!), it became even more clear how entrenched this kind of thinking is in the comics community.
Since many of DC’s canonical LGBTQIA characters were either dead, erased, or given very little time on panel for a good while it appeared Marvel had to carry the bulk of the LGBTQIA representation with characters from the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Woman for instance, not to mention still riding the wave of their first same sex marriage between Jean-Paul Beaubier and Kyle Jinadu. Recently, however, DC has publicly confirmed that all three of the Gotham City Sirens are queer (although who didn’t know about Pam and Harley, honestly?) as well as bringing back the Midnighter series featuring an openly gay main character. Between these small but progressive steps as well as a whole host of independent titles gaining traction, we might even see solid queer relationships appear in the respective cinematic universes. Though the current lineup for the Suicide Squad film seems to be a missed opportunity, it’s possible we might see another queer comics proposal appear once more should there be a Young Avengers movie or television show franchise:
In fact, what’s stopping us from seeing evidence of the relationship between Kimber and Stormer in the popular Jem and the Holograms comic make it on screen, too (okay, less plausible, but still not impossible!)?
Matrimony might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t see more representation of how different people exist in the world as comics begin to embrace how diverse their audiences really are. This could be the year art imitates life and allows big name comic companies to capitalize on this monumental historic moment, especially when it comes to queer characters of color (the return of Grace Choi and Anissa Pierce, anyone?). For now, perhaps all we can do is finish celebratory rainbow cake slices, support the queer comics creators and characters that already exist, and hope.