Confession: I love the Marvel superhero universe. It takes me back to when I would read the comics as a kid. Spiderman, Iron Man and Thor were the pick of those I followed. In the last decade, the films and numerous TV series have been pretty damn cool. often excellently written and with talent on display in every role.
But, it is representative of the LGBTQ population in the real world? My answer would be a resounding no and I don’t think anyone will really disagree. I’m not sure about the reasons, though I suspect it has a lot to do with marketing and perceived audience reaction. The films are making mega-bucks, so who in their right mind would mess with that? Hmmmmm.
If the LGBTQ community exists in Marvel’s spectacular cinematic universe, then they are generally a hidden layer in society. There are no mainstream gay superheroes. There are no trans friends or lovers. It’s all rather sad, really. The comics do have these characters – a handful at least – but they don’t seem to transition to the screen without some form of conversion therapy having been practiced upon them: It seems fine for Valkyrie to be an alcoholic but never let it be known that she is bisexual!
Loki (Played by the marvelous and magnificent Tom Hiddleston) is incredibly popular. Yet the character in the comics is envisaged as frequently shapeshifting into women. His bisexual and non-binary nature has never been explored on the silver screen.
It’s being left to fans to imagine what if …
Marvel is lagging other superhero and fantasy worlds
I do of course write my own lesbian superhero stories … (yes, I’m going to count my lead character as a superheroine on the grounds that she has powers, faces terrible odds but still takes on the bad guys). (Sorry, can’t resist showing these here … well, it is MY blog page!)
You might note that I don’t make an issue of Sapphira being gay on the covers. Because LGBTQ is normal. Being the devil’s daughter is the bit that is ‘out there’! Of course, my books haven’t made it as far as the screen. But you never, ever know ….
So are things improving?
Finally, yes they are! Firstly, there is the young ‘power’ couple, Yukiyo and Negasonic Teenage Warhead who were given an outing in Deadpool 2. They were wonderful, and if not A-Listers in the Marvel universe, they were undoubtedly total scene-stealers.
But here’s the one that I think is showing a change is taking place. Jesica Jones’s new assistant Gillian (played brillinatly by trans actress Aneesh Sheth) is a confident, competent lady who won’t let her moody and often self-destructive superheroine boss get the better of her. She has her life under control and delivers a simple message: Trans people are normal. It’s the superheroes who are weird.
Jesica Jones series should also be commended for having another leading LGBTQ character. Carrie-Anne Moss plays Jeri Hogarth, top rate lawyer who is openly lesbian. What a character actress Moss is! (And she also gets to act in the hottest lesbians & a cello sex scene I’ve ever seen on TV)
Things are changing, moving on. Fantasy has to become more inclusive and Marvel will not be able to get away from it. It is going to happen – big named superheroes will come out in the future. Marvel may even be surprised at just how popular LGBTQ characters can turn out to be.