Let’s Talk About LGBT Characters In Comics

With Northstar getting married and DC getting ready to reveal that one of their longrunning characters is gay, the portrayal of LGBT characters in comic books has become quite the topic of conversation. As a friendly neighborhood comics junkie, I’ll be speaking at two public libraries in New Jersey about their portrayal in super hero comics.

You can check me out at the Stafford library (129 North Main Street, Manahawkin) on Monday, June 4 and Point Pleasant Boro library (834 Beaver Dam Road) on Thursday, June 7. Both programs start at 7 pm. Check out those sites for more information.

This program came out of a pet project of mine. I’ve been researching themes of diversity in comic books for a long time for an ongoing project. After discussing it with several librarian pals, I was asked if I would be interested in leading a discussion on the topic. So I’ll be leading a presentation on the history of LGBT characters in mainstream super hero comics, from the golden age to modern-day Northstar.

Local newspaper the Sandpaper even did a quick little write up about the event here.

The Last Emperor’s Secret Wars

Good pal Pancuco from Action Figs & Things! shared this great clip of Philadelphia based rapper the Last Emperor’s track “Secret Wars”. Last Emp tears it up, describing what would happen if some of the greatest MC’s tussled with some of the best super heroes. Pay attention to the verse about KRS-ONE and Professor X where he just kills it. Check out some more tracks from Last Emperor here.

Project Defense Day 29/30: Jazz and Timberwolf


Timberwolf is a billionaire who has taken it upon himself to be a superhero and protect the Minneapolis area. Kelvin Cornette (I wonder who this is supposed to be) has spent millions of his countless fortunes to train around the world as a super detective/fighter.

Petra Marvich fights crime in Salt Lake City as Jazz. Armed with her mutant ability to shoot out solid sound bursts, she spends her time as a professional adventurer, fighting crime in the Rocky Mountains.

And we’re done with Project Defense! Woo hoo! NBA season, here we come!

Project Defense Day 27: Thunder


Our next hero comes from Oklahoma City and his name is Thunder! Sterling Roddericks  is a scientist at Oklahoma State University who accidentally was shocked by lightning and somehow can now generate it! So he calls himself Thunder.

His costume is lame, just like the real life Oklahoma City Thunder’s uniforms!

Project Defense Day 19: The Hornet


Our next hero is the guardian of New Orleans, the Hornet!

ORIGIN: Christina Paul uses her mutant powers to protect Louisiana.

POWERS:  Hornet is a mutant, who can grow retractable wings as well as fire paralyzing energy blasts from her hands.

OTHER:  Her name is a play on current Hornets point guard Chris Paul, who I go back and forth on whether I like or not.

Project Defense Day 17: The Spur


Today lets keep in the great state of Texas and bring you the Spur!

ORIGIN: David Gervin and his horse Timmy were on a prairie back in the 1880s and they accidentally time traveled to now. Going under the name the Spur, he’s a vigilante.

POWERS:  He’s a cowboy, and he’s wanted dead or alive.

OTHER:  His name refers to Spurs greats George “Iceman” Gervin and David Robinson. The horse’s namesake is Tim Duncan.

Project Defense Day 16: Maverick


Well, the NBA season is back on and lets celebrate with our Dallas themed hero, Maverick!

ORIGIN: When Jason Blackman utters the phrase No Vitt Skee he gains super powers and fights crime in the Big D.

POWERS:  Super strong, can fly. Not super indestructible.

OTHER:  His name refers to Mavs greats Rolando Blackman and Jason Kidd, and his phrase is Dirk’s last name spelled phonetically. His super powers are a lot like Hawk from Hawk and Dove fame.

Project Defense Day 15: Boga the Bull

BullOur next hero is is the bovine guardian of Chicago, Boga the Bull!

ORIGIN: Boga the Bull is an alien from the planet Bovus. He’s been deployed by the Intergalactic Bovan Safety Squad to Earth, where he’s decided to settle as a super hero in Chicago

POWERS:  Master of hand to hand combat, weaponry, super strong, technology, being a bully

OTHER:  His name is Turkish for Bull. I kind of imagine him being like a kinder Guy Gardner.

Project Defense Day 13: Pacer


Our next hero is is the speed racer from Hoosier state, the Pacer!

ORIGIN: Danny Miller was always a speed demon. After being hit by a cosmic rock, he gained super speed.

POWERS:  Above average intellect and fighting skills….Can move at the speed of Mach 7

OTHER:  His name refers to Pacers Danny Granger and Reggie Miller. Kind of funny, but he reminds me visually of Booster Gold.

Project Defense Day 11: Cavalier


Our next hero is is the courageous crusader of Cleveland, the Cavalier!

ORIGIN: Marcy Price puts the skills she learned at Brown University to good work. By day she’s a research librarian, by night she puts her NCAA All American Fencing and Gymnastic skills to work as the Cavalier!

POWERS:  Master of hand to hand combat, weaponry, gymnastics, swordsmanship, research/spying.

OTHER:  There’s a lot of the Barbara Gordon Batgirl in this character. Her name is a reference to Cavs legend Mark Price. She’s still bitter about Lebron.

Project Defense Day 10: Orlando Magic


Our next hero is is the bad ass adventurer based in Orange County, Orlando Magic!

ORIGIN: Magic is a professional adventurer based out of Orlando, Florida. He was a top interpol agent before he decided to go solo.

POWERS:  Master of hand to hand combat, weaponry, pilot.

OTHER:  Yeah, I was at a loss for this one, especially since I didn’t want him to be a repeat of our Wizard character.

Project Defense Day 8: Bobcat


You can say our next character is the courageous catlike Bobcat!

ORIGIN: Bobcat (realname: Addie Morrison) is a mutant whose body changed into an orange catlike humanoid while in college. Inspired by the other heroes, she’s decided to use her new found feline powers to protect her home city of Charlotte.

POWERS:  Superhuman agility and tracking…retractable claws in her feet and hands…enhanced tracking senses….

OTHER:  I kind of envisioned her to be a more friendly version of Feral. Her name is a reference to former Charlotte Bobcats draft pick Adam Morrison, who had a very successful college basketball career and now tears up the court for the KK Crvena Zvezda team in Serbia.

Project Defense Day 9: Unseld the Wizard


Our next hero keeps the Beltway safe at all times, Unseld the Wizard!

ORIGIN: Unseld is a fairly pleasant wizard during the time of King David the Brave, who by accident transported himself into modern Washington DC. He uses his magical powers to help people in the DC area.

POWERS:  Unseld knows a variety of magical spells, pretty much allowing him to do whatever he wants. However, in hand-to-hand combat he is particularly vulnerable.

OTHER: Unseld is a reference to Washington Bullets great Wes Unseld.

Project Defense Day 8: Heat


Our next hero is literally the hottest hero on Miami’s South Beach, the Heat!

ORIGIN: Little is known about the Heat, even to himself! He’s an amnesiac alien from Mercury who crash landed in Miami. He does remember that back on his home that he was a policeman of some sort, so he has allied himself with the city to protect it.

POWERS:  Heat gets his name from his abnormally  hot body temperature. He can channel it around himself as a force field for protection or flight. Based on the higher gravity of Mercury, his body is extremely dense which gives him super strength. He’s a master of an alien form of combat as well.

OTHER:  In case you couldn’t figure it out, he’s kind of like the Martian Manhunter of Miami.

Project Defense Day 6: The Hawk

The Hawk

Our next hero is the winged protector of Atlanta, the Hawk!

ORIGIN: Leonard Turner is a billionaire playboy by day but protects the city of Atlanta by night as the Hawk. Think like Batman, Green Arrow, Iron Man etc. Just a rich dude who wants to use his powers for good.

POWERS:  They would tell you, but then they’d have to kill you. They can take care of themselves and the city just fine.

OTHER:  Leonard is a nod to former coach/player Lenny Wilkins, and Turner is the surname of former owner Ted Turner. The color scheme is taken from their really awesome mid 1970s uniforms that the Atlanta Hawks sported.

Project Defense Day 4 and 5: Nick R Bakker and Brooke Lynn Netz

Nick R Bakker and Brooke Lynn Netz

Our next two heroes are a team that guard the New York New Jersey area, Nick R Bakker and Brooke Lynn Netz!

ORIGIN:  Bakker and Netz are two government black ops agents who have set their sites on New York City. After getting the green light from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the duo went ahead with their plan to serve as the areas top paramilitary agents, keeping the area safe.

POWERS:  They would tell you, but then they’d have to kill you. They can take care of themselves and the city just fine.

OTHER:  Why a duo? Because both teams play in NYC. Why the silly names? Because there is nothing you can do with the theme of a super hero being a pair of shorts or a net. This was the best that I could come up with.

Project Defense Day 4: The Spirit of 1776

The Spirit of 1776

Keeping Philadelphia safe from super villains, criminals and even irate sports fans, its  the Spirit of 1776!

ORIGIN: Historian Julius Dawkins was examining the Liberty Bell and was struck by lightning. After recovering, he noticed that he noticed that he was stronger and faster then before. Strongly influenced by his love of the American Revolution, Julius created a comic book and set out to keep his city safe.

POWERS:  Spirit has above average strength and speed. He is also extremely dangerous in hand-to-hand combat, as he is a highly ranked mixed martial arts practitioner. His costume is made of bullet and fire proof material.

OTHER:  Coming up with this character was a little difficult, especially since my first impulse was to do some Agent 76 type Nick Fury character. Instead, I decided to make his appearance over the top and go with a more Golden Age styled character. His name is a bit of a tribute to the Julius Erving/Darryl Dawkins squad in the early 1980s.

Project Defense Day 2: Raptor

RaptorOur next hero is the courageous creature from the cretaceous age who protects the greater Toronto area from criminals, Raptor!

ORIGIN:  An alien expedition to Earth during the dinosaur age lead to a series of experiments that caused a small velociraptor, leaving the creature highly advanced. An exploration to the north left the creature frozen and in suspended animation for nearly 200 million years. The creature was found in an iceberg and taken to the University of Toronto’s zoology department in a block of ice. Much to everyone’s shock, the dinosaur was still alive. Naming himself Raptor after what the scientists called his species, he was able to communicate verbally to them and is trying to adapt to being a humanoid dinosaur in 2011. He lives and works at the University of Toronto, helping explain what the dinosaur age was really like. Raptor considers himself a scientist of sorts as well, often venturing out into the city.

POWERS:  Raptor has strength, speed and agility that exceed anything possible of a human. He has heightened tracking, vision, scent and hearing abilities. As a show of goodwill to his human coworkers, he has become a vegetarian.

OTHER:  Seriously, what other hero would it be than some sort of dinosaur? The red anthropomorphic dinosaur wasn’t intentionally inspired by Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur, but the trunks were. I love how so many of Kirby’s monsters wore shorts–whether they wanted to or not, and I would assume that Raptor would be modest in that regard.