“Why Should Northstar have all the fun?”
We’ve come along way from the oppressed years of Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, where the “delusional” psychologist claimed that Wonder Woman’s strength and independence qualified as a lesbian while the Batman and Robin duo stimulated homosexual fantasies. For almost 50 years, gay characters were prohibited in comics thanks to the Comics Code Authority. Yes, absurd beyond reason. But the times have been a changin’ and there are many gay and lesbian characters for all walks of life. Marvel Comic’s Northstar and Mystique come to mind while DC have Batwoman and Obsidian. Also noted are from Midnighter and Apollo from Wildstorm. But one of my favorite gay comic book characters is Billy Kaplan, a.k.a. Wiccan from Marvel’s Young Avengers.
Wiccan is a great gay character because he is a well-grounded character as he lives his life as an semi-ordinary teenager with mutant abilities. As an amalgam of Marvel’s Thunder God Thor and the Scarlet Witch, he can cast powerful spell incantations with lighting generation and flight. The allegory for being different fits well into his secrecy of superhuman powers while his relationship with male teammate, Hulking, is natural, intimate, and passionate with genuine affection for each other. Being gay does not define him because he is full of self-doubt of being a powerful witch, but his love for Hulking strengthens Wiccan. He is human and relatable. Plus, he looks damn good (think a la Chace Crawford or Zac Efron). Wiccan is such a great role model for the gay community that even GLAAD awarded writer Allan Heinberg with 2005 Best Comic Book Award for Wiccan and Hulking.
A quote from Young Avengers Annual #1, one of my favorite comic book issues:
“I was a freak. And I’d spent my whole life hiding. Trying to be the same as everyone else. But I couldn’t hide anymore. And the irony is…the things that made me different…are the same things that me…[Special].”-Wiccan’s boyfriend, Hulking, from Young Avengers