While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is (extremely) slowly expanding to include a more diverse pool of characters, Marvel Comics have been stepping on the gas in that department. And we are living for it.
[Pictured: Rictor and Cullen Bloodstone in Excalibur (2019) #8]
LGBTQ+ Marvel characters have been around since the dawn of the company, but they have mostly been in the closet. Same sex relationships between characters were left “up to interpretation” following the good old “we all know what’s going on here, but let’s not talk about it”. Thankfully, this is not the case anymore. Creators, many of whom are members of the community themselves, are becoming braver and braver and in recent years we have had dozens of suspicions finally confirmed.
In 1992, and after 13 years in the closet, Northstart became the first Marvel character to be confirmed as gay in Alpha Flight #106. In 2005, Young Avengers Teddy Altman and Billy Kaplan (aka Hulkling and Wiccan) finally paved the road for wholesome and consistent LGBTQ+ representation, becoming a fan-favourite sensation.
[Pictured: Hulkling and Wiccan in Young Avengers: Children’s crusade #9]
Even then, it wasn’t until 2012 that Teddy and Billy shared their first on-panel kiss, in Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade #9. In fact 2012, was the year the engine was turned on and since then Marvel Comics did not take their foot off the rainbow gas. A couple of months after Teddy and Billy’s first on-panel kiss, Northstar and Kyle Jinadu made history as the first Marvel same-sex couple to get married on-panel in Astonishing X-Men #51.
[Pictured: Northstar and Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men (2004-2013) #51]
Although this was the first same-sex wedding to be depicted in the comics, it was certainly not the first one in the Marvel Universe. There is a lesbian couple that might well have beat Northstar and Kyle Jinadu to it.
The epic love story between Raven Darkholme and Irene Adler (aka Mystique and Destiny) began back in 1981. Since Destiny’s first appearance it was clear that the two women were lovers. Their intimate relationship, as well as the fact that they raised a child together (who is none other than the x-man, Rogue) were more than enough clues. But as the years passed and especially after Destiny’s death in 1989, their relationship was forgotten and never validated by an on-panel kiss until 2019 in The History of the Marvel Universe #2.
[Pictured: Destiny and Mystique in The History of the Marvel Universe #2]
Although it was already common knowledge amongst fans that Mystique and Destiny were lovers, sharing this on-panel kiss marked a huge milestone. Lesbian women have historically been dismissed and labelled “close friends” or “roommates”. And tiptoeing for decades around Mystique and Destiny’s romantic relationship without ever diving into it, only added to that problem. But thankfully this is all in the past, because Destiny and Mystique weren’t only “roommates”, they were WIVES.
In the current ‘Dawn of X’ series by Jonathan Hickman, mutants have acquired the ability to come back from the dead. This means that Raven finally has the chance to be reunited with Irene. Multiple flashbacks have teased that possibility and in X-men (2019) #6 Mystique is seen to straight up demand the resurrection of Destiny in this epic panel, where she refers to her as her wife.
[Pictured: Mystique in X-Men (2019) #6]
As Destiny has been dead since 1989, it is fair to assume that the two women got married before then, making them the first known same-sex couple to wed in the Marvel Universe. Covid-19 has unfortunately interrupted new comic book releases, so we will have to wait a little longer than expected to find out whether the two women will be together again. But if they are, we are definitely hoping to see an on-panel vow renewal!
Thanks for reading! For this year’s Pride month we created a series of enamel pins that give a light touch and a nice twist to the current times. Check them out on Kickstarter!