Top Same Sex Couples In Comics
Last week, The US Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples had the constitutional right to marry in all fifty states. Many web sites are reporting on the Texas comic shop whose owners opened late so they could be at the courthouse when the ruling came down and get married. Others are running lists of LGBTQ characters in comics. You’ve probably read all of those by now, so instead of doing an article on one of those, I decided to instead do an article on the best same sex couples in comics.
In the Sandman story arc, A Game of You, we were introduced to Foxglove and Hazel. The depth of their relationship didn’t get fully explored until Death: The Time of Your Life, which explored the relationship between love and death not just between them but with Hazel’s son. With Foxglove achieving fame at the cost of staying in the closet and Hazel making an arrangement with Death to spare her son, this story tugged at all the right heartstrings. We definitely find ourselves feeling for Hazel but at the same time, her pain becomes our own as she is hurt by the same things that hurt us, LGBT or not.
It was deeply moving and a story that was a worthy sequel to one of the best Sandman stories ever.
This is one of those relationships that became far too complex, but only because the players involved were complex by their nature. Scandal Savage was the abandoned daughter of Vandal Savage and Knockout was a warrior from Apokolips. Knockout was Scandal’s mole in Villains United, which launched the most popular version of Secret Six by Gail Simone. Their relationship was rocky, with Knockout cheating on Scandal in a trist that nearly destroyed the team. The relationship was so strong, though, Scandal went to hell to save Knockout, and in the end, the pair apparently died together, with Knockout calling Scandal her wife.
This is the relationship doomed by DC editorial interference. Kate Kane’s love life seemed doomed, with her most stable relationship being an unhealthy one with the Question, Renee Montoya. When former Metropolis police officer Maggie Sawyer transferred to Gotham, she began dating socialite Kate Kane, and something clicked, but Maggie had problems when she learned of Batwoman’s dual identity during of all things, a marriage proposal.
The two faced problems stemming from ex-relationships, but the real barrier in their relationship came from DC itself, declaring in light of praise from the media and fandom for the progressiveness of the relationship, that the pair could not marry, not because they were homosexual but because no DC heroes could ever get married. The interference actually drove away series creators JH Williams III & W. Haden Blackman, giving DC a black eye to an already self-mutilated public face.
I’m actually surprised that I could only think of one male couple to put on this list. In Young Avengers, the revelation of these two having a relationship was a breath of fresh air, not just for the fact that neither of them was a terrible stereotype, and it looks like they’re still together into the All-New Marvel Universe, despite how we last saw them spending time apart.
There really should be more male couples in comics where both partners are heroes or strong supporting characters. However, it seems that comic creators seem more inclined to write lesbians than write gay men. Read into it what you will, but there’s need to be an equal representation of gay men to the number of gay men that read comics.
This could be the first depiction of a same sex couple in a DC comic came in the Camelot 3000 mini-series in 1982. Tristan found himself reincarnated as a woman and tortured emotionally for it. However, writer Mike W. Barr gave the two a happy ending after the war was over.
Isolde had to fight for Tristan as much as Tristan fought with herself about her ideas that love could be limited to the notion of one man and one woman. In the end, they ended up together just as they should have all along. They also showed that true love doesn’t see gender, and exposed comics readers to a concept of more than good versus evil.
This relationship was speculated upon for years, but not until recently was it confirmed. The fact that Mystique stayed with Destiny through her old age is a testament to their feelings for each other, and sadly something that we never got to see fully explored in the 1980s, as it was happening. The two even raised a daughter, Rogue, together and could have shown comic readers used to gay characters not existing at all that a gay couple, even villains, was capable of raising a family and atoning for past mistakes. This was one of the subtexts that almost cemented the notion that mutants were an analogy for homosexuals.
This relationship also adds a redeeming quality to the pair, especially Mystique, who by being shown in a loving relationship becomes a more complete person. Just like everyone has flaws, everyone has redeeming, even admirable qualities.
In Legion of Super-Heroes, when Lightning Lass returned to the Legion, one of the friendships that developed for her was with Shrinking Violet, who had gone through a life-changing ordeal by being kidnapped by terrorists so they could pull Legion secrets out of her brain over months, nearly killing her in the process. The Shrinking Violet that came out of it was a lot stronger, as was the Lightning Lass who no longer was relegated to being someone’s weaker girlfriend. Keith Giffen, along with Tom & Mary Bierbaum, took over the Legion and advanced the story by five years, and when Ayla and Vi reunited, it was clearly as a couple. After two reboots did away with this relationship, the original Legion returned and it was revealed that Ayla and Vi were a couple after all, and no big deal was made of it within the comic. Why there weren’t more LGBT characters in the Legion or their supporting cast fails to be explored, although Levitz made Legion Academy student Gravity Lad and Power Boy a couple, and the Bierbaums did make Science Police officer Shvaughn Erin transgender later in their Legion run in an issue that lives in infamy.
However, Ayla and Vi remains not only one of my favorite same sex couples, they are one of my favorite couples, period.
These two never quite got their happily ever after, but the entire way, fans of Love & Rockets were pulling for them to be together forever and ever. Unfortunately, life has a way of taking our first loves away and never giving them back. As the two grew into women, something changed between them that while they remained close, a permanent couple they would never be.
To be honest, I haven’t yet read anything past the third volume of the latest Love & Rockets series, so their relationship may have changed.
Probably the best aspect of this couple is that their creator gave them a happy ending. Their relationship went through so many ups and downs, with Francine wanting the stereotypical happy ending of a husband and children, only to be denied and finally coming to terms with her feelings for her one true love, a damaged young woman who had no interest in anyone but her.
Throughout the years, I rooted for Katchoo and Francine and cursed whenever their togetherness was split apart by circumstances from Katchoo’s past, a new man in Francine’s life, or various other circumstances that got in their way. Along the way, we got glimpses of the future, but even as tragedy struck the pair, something great came of it and we got the ending that we wanted all along.
I was a little hesitant to put them at the top of this list, but from the moment that their relationship was hinted at, it seemed more equal that Harley’s abusive relationship with the Joker, and thus better for a character that has become more and more popular as time goes on. The fact that’s it’s recently been made official that they have had a romantic relationship, although by no means exclusive, means that our favorite unspoken couple is in fact, a real couple. Add to it all, that they seem to have been the unofficial couple that fans rooted for all along.
As partners in crime, Harley and Ivy look out for each other and each one makes up for the other’s weaknesses. Together, they seem more likable, and you can imagine the pair pulling off one huge heist just to do something together, rather than to meet a larger goal. Harley makes Ivy fun and Ivy makes Harley dangerous. These two just seemed meant to be together from the first moment we saw them team up.