Tales from the Four Color Closet: A Rising Tide?

Art by Stephen Byrne
Art by Stephen Byrne

Hello again! Been a while since I did a Tales from the Four Color Closet piece, looking at the state of LGBTQ+ representation in comics and related media. I’ve been a little busy with more general reporting for the site, working on my own books, and looking for new artists. But I was drawn to do it this week, because this week was a pretty good week.

Well, in comics, anyway.

This week had a surprisingly large amount of LGBTQ+ inclusion, I found. Ranging from background characters with few or no lines, to queer characters front and centre, the very focus of the comic.

Art by Amanda Conner
Art by Amanda Conner

Of my personal pull list pick-ups this week of seventeen books, 11 featured LGBTQ+ characters. From bi and pansexual representation (Harley Quinn, Catwoman) to gay male representation (The Ray, Iceman, Red Racer, Stallion), and queer icons too (Wonder Woman). Of my personal weekly stack, that is just over 64% of the books I read.

Obviously, the overall percentage of representation in the total list of released books in this one week would be a lot less. After all, week by week, there are generally a lot of comics released. However, it is arguably a higher figure and level of representation than we have seen in a long while.

And so far, this year looks to keep getting better. With Marvel and DC both set to have ongoing books with LGBTQ+ leads (which, in fact, DC have been doing for a while now, and have had a fair few mini-series of that description too).

Art by David Nakayama
Art by David Nakayama

And we know from the Supergirl story towards the end of last year that this representation matters. It literally can save lives. In a world with an increasing air of oppression and apprehension for LGBTQ+ people every day, it is nice to be able to see us more in our favourite medium, and even as heroes.

The high number is important. The more characters that represent broader examples of humanity, whether it be sexuality, race, gender, anything – the more examples there are, the more often they are likely to occur and appear, and the more likely they can be there for those who need them.

We are approaching a time where the LGBTQ+ needs as many heroes as we can get, as well as the inspiration to be those heroes and stand up. That comics are including us more visibly, more frequently and more importantly is huge.

So yes, this was a good week. And it can get better.

About Joe Glass

Joe Glass has been contributing to Bleeding Cool for about four years. He's been a roaming reporter at shows like SDCC and NYCC, and also has a keen LGBTQ focus, with his occasional LGBTQ focus articles, Tales from the Four Color Closet. He is also now Bleeding Cool's Senior Mutant Correspondent thanks to his obsession with Marvel's merry mutants.

Joe is also a comics creator, writer of LGBTQ superhero team series, The Pride, the first issue of which was one of the Top 25 ComiXology Submit Titles of 2014. He is also a co-writer on Stiffs, a horror comedy series set in South Wales about call centre workers who hunt the undead by night. One happens to be a monkey. Just because.

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