By now, you might have heard a few whispers about a particular Supreme Court ruling. No big deal or anything, just a sweeping judgment calling for the legalization of same-sex marriage across the United States of America. One of the coolest things is how the shifting political landscape has come to reflect the changing cultural landscape for the LGBT community as well. One big area where this community has made large strides is that of comic books. Here are a few of our favorite couples in comics who can all finally get hitched, if that’s their prerogative, that is.
Apollo and Midnighter (The Authority – Wildstorm)
What if Superman and Batman were a couple? That’s pretty much the idea in “The Authority” during its run in the early 2000s. The hyper-violent take on Justice League-style super heroes turned most of the “cape-and-tights” tropes on their heads with profanity, violence, death, destruction and…progressive gender politics. The two characters, Apollo and Midnighter, were essentially the book’s own pastiches of Bats and Supes and put a hurt on supervillains that would make even the most hardened nerd wince. Writer Mark Millar (of “Kick-Ass” fame) gave the two their wedding in 2002, and it was actually the first same-sex wedding to ever occur on page in a mainstream comic, years before it made its way to the pages of Marvel and DC. As noted in this LGBT resource guide, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, which means that this comic was actually a full two years ahead of America when it came to equal rights. Not bad for a book more traditionally associated with gore than gay-politics.
Francine and Katchoo (Strangers in Paradise – Self-published)
Katchoo and Francine are one of the most important couples in comics, even if you aren’t necessarily familiar with them. They’re not necessarily a queer couple but their relationship is definitely…complicated, which is why we put them here. For the uninitiated, Terry Moore’s “Strangers in Paradise” was a black-and-white indie comic that was largely self-published between 1993 and 2007. It was also one of the most important comics of the ’90s leading the way—alongside other indie creators like Daniel Clowes, the Hernandez brothers, and Peter Bagge—for the indie revolution that brought out new paradigms in comic book storytelling. The friendship and on-again/off-again relationship between the two main characters, Francine Peters and Katina (Katchoo) Choovanski, is romantic, exciting, heartbreaking, and, most of all, real. Moore was doing important things with queer characters long before the mainstream and “SiP” (as it’s affectionately known) remains one of the best character stu
dies in comics.
Kevin Keller and Clay Walker (Life with Archie – Archie Comics)
What would you think if we told you one of the most progressive and boundary-pushing comics of the modern times is “Archie?” Well it’s no joke because the world of Riverdale is dealing with some of the most realistic issues in America today, one being the marriage of active U.S. military officer Clay Walker and longtime partner Kevin Keller. Creator Dan Parent was nominated for a GLAAD award for the series and how it handled the subject. The first openly gay character of the “Archie” series went on to his own well-received mini-series. All your favorite characters from the series were in attendance at what might have been one of the most fun fictional weddings ever.
Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer (Batwoman – DC Comics)
J.H. Williams III’s work on “Batwoman” was a terrific run with some of the best art and covers in the industry month after month. But even cooler than the experimental story-telling and superb colors was the downplayed way this book really shook things up in the DC universe. With little to no fanfare, Batwoman (aka Kate Kane) revealed her identity to current Gotham police commissioner Maggie Sawyer and then proposed to her longtime partner in costume. If only DC Comics was half as progressive as the rest of the United States we’d actually be able to see the two finally have a wedding. It’s too bad io9 reports that DC continues to be a stick in the mud and refuses to allow the character to actually be married for a number of empty and silly reasons. When a comic book publisher is looking less progressive than the Supreme Court, you know it’s time to rethink things.
While there are plenty of great reasons to be excited and things have definitely come a long way, there’s still a long way to go. Companies like DC and recent issues over the portrayal of Marvel’s Spider-Man show that the LGBT community and its allies have still yet to reach true equality in American society. Hopefully, however, we can have the reality match the fiction soon enough.