We Can Be Heroes

This week the Eleventh Stack blog is celebrating Pittsburgh’s Pride Week with a series of posts about the Library’s LGBTQ/QUILTBAG resources. Although any time of year is a good time to read LGBTQ literature and history, this week is very special to many of our readers and patrons. We hope you enjoy our efforts.


The Advocate published a great piece around the time Man of Steel was released on how that film works as a gay allegory. It hits on a lot of the reasons why I wanted to focus on superheroes for this post – primarily the struggles dealing with secret identities and being seen as “other” (#mutantandproud, yinz.) Luckily, we’ve been given some actual LGBTQ characters over the past few years to push it even further.

Northstar hangs with the X-Men. He’s French-Canadian. He has superhuman speed and durability. And he was one of the first openly gay superheroes in American comic books. Yep, he came out way back in 1992. However, it wasn’t until he joined the X-Men as a regular member in 2002 that his love life became a part of stories. He married his boyfriend, Kyle Jinadu, in 2012. That looks like my kind of wedding.

I love the Runaways series. They have a dinosaur named Old Lace, for Pete’s sake.  Basically, a group of teens learns their parents are not at all who they thought they were and they themselves have powers. Karolina Dean finds out that she is an alien – part of  the Majesdanian race (aren’t alien names great?). After harboring a crush on her fellow Runaway, Nico, she married Xavin – a shape-shifting alien, who naturally takes female human form.

Renee Montoya was a long -time detective with the Gotham Police. But after being outed by Two-Face and framed for murder, she had enough of that biz. She spent some time with the Birds of Prey, but she has since taken over the mantle of The Question. I’ve only known Renee as Jim Gordon’s second-in-command, so I was excited to find out about this new direction for her. (The original Question was the inspiration for The Watchmens Rorschach, so he has to be good!)

Batwoman is probably the most high-profile lesbian comic book characters out there. She’s dated Renee Montoya, but has been in a relationship with Maggie Sawyer, another Gotham detective, since 2011.  She’s super smart and even led the Detective Comics series for a bit, following the Battle for the Cowl run.

For even more from DC:

A few bonus reads: Rat Queens came recommended by a few co-workers and is described as “Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack.” I definitely want to go to there. And while not a comic book, Perry Moore’s Hero follows Thom Creed, a young superhero in training who has to decide whether or not to join the organization that once spurned his father, at the same time as coming to terms with the fact that he’s gay. It’s one of my all-time favorites.

– Jess, who thinks a cape is the perfect accessory


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2 responses to “We Can Be Heroes

  1. Well done for flying the LGBT flag! I’ve had “Hero” on my to be read booklist for some time – I must get round to reading it. I have a soft spot for Kevin Keller (Archie Comics) as positive role model in comics

  2. Pingback: June 2015 Recap | Eleventh Stack

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