Updated on December 10, 2021
Once again, it’s LGBT Pride Month, the annual month-long celebration of LGBTQ rights, individuals, and culture.
While I’ve written plenty about LGBTQ comic and animated characters/series, I thought I’d make a list of some of my favorite ones. Note they’re not in any particular order, and they’ll likely change in the future. And yes, they’re mostly from comics. While things are improving, animation still offers too few characters (that aren’t either dated stereotypes, “word of gay” as TV Tropes puts it, or one-shot/very minor characters).
“Dykes to Watch Out For”
Alison Bechdel’s famous comic strip was a favorite of mine during its day. One of my favorite characters in the strip was Mo, who A) always wore something striped (sometimes to others’ gentle mockery) and B) was prone to ranting about some issue (also sometimes to others’ mockery).
Favorite moments: The parody names for products, store chains, etc. “Medusa” as a giant online bookstore; the “Home Despot” home improvement store; and so on. There were even a few Acme products (like in “Looney Tunes”).
Koi Boi’s a supporting character in “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.” A trans man, Koi Boi (real name: Ken Shiga) has the Aquaman-like ability to telepathically communicate with sea creatures (particularly fish) and survive underwater.
Amusingly, Ken takes his superheroing duties quite seriously, while still making aquatic puns (“the scales of justice,” etc.).
Favorite moments: The time Ken tried to write a dating profile for Doreen (aka Squirrel Girl).
Harley was one of the best characters on “Batman: The Animated Series.” Of course, she quickly became a favorite of others, and soon entered most versions of the Batman mythos since. Later stories imply or outright state she’s in an on-again, off-again open relationship with Poison Ivy.
Favorite moments: Harley’s fight with Luthor’s henchwoman, Mercy, in the 90s “World’s Finest” animated TV-movie.
Wonder Woman’s been a superhero mainstay for decades. I grew up watching her on “Super Friends” and the 70s Lynda Carter TV series, plus various later incarnations. Diana’s also had a variety of memorable comic runs.
Recent stories have finally become more open about same-sex relationships existing on Paradise Island/Themyscira. “Wonder Woman” writer Greg Rucka also stated that Diana herself is bisexual.
Favorite moments: “Wonder Woman” (vol. 2) #170, when Lois Lane spends an entire day with Diana.
Kevin‘s been a welcome addition to Archie’s comics. I enjoyed his own solo series, which ranged from finding a boyfriend to its admittedly odd and unresolved ending (a super-strong evil clone running amok).
Favorite moments: Kevin’s appearance on “Ellen” in-universe, to face off against “12 Million Moms”; Kevin marrying Clay Walker, an African-American man he meets as an adult in the “Life With Archie” series.
“Lumberjanes” features the adventures of a group of friends at a girls’ summer camp, where strange supernatural goings-on occur.
Favorite moments: Ripley briefly gaining demigod-like powers, allowing her to… create cats; Mal and Molly’s relationship; the “Scouting Lads,” a neighboring camp and the Lumberjanes’ male counterparts; the gang’s expletives or expressions all inspired by famous women (“oh my Bessie Coleman!”); the mermaid rock musicians (and nitpicking over how stuff can work underwater); Jo’s parents being two men (and an interracial couple).
“Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast”
“Kyle’s” focuses on the soap opera-like lives of a group of men who live at a Long Island-based, gay-oriented bed and breakfast. Occasionally a bit NSFW.
Favorite moments: The time everyone dressed up as their favorite Legion of Super-Heroes members for a party; Jake, a man from Indiana, moving in (and telling others that not everyone in the Hoosier State’s homophobic); Frosty, the B&B’s pet Siberian Husky dog.
“A Couple of Guys”
“A Couple of Guys” is a comic strip about the lives of a gay couple in New York: Eric, a waiter and part-time actor; and his husband Joey, a police officer. Sometimes a bit NSFW.
Favorite moments: Eric’s conversations with his small shoulder “conscience” angel and devil; the comic book interests of Miguel (Eric and Joey’s friend); Andy, Eric’s younger brother, who can sometimes be even flightier than Eric (though Andy’s grown more mature lately).
“Scandinavia and the World”
“Scandinavia” features the countries of the world as anthropomorphized human versions. Among the strip’s Nordic country stars include Sweden, who’s in a relationship with Åland. Sweden also tends to be the strip’s “straight man,” often dealing with the antics of countries like Denmark. (The strip’s cartoonist is Danish herself.)
Favorite moments: Sweden’s reaction to losing Eurovision; Sweden telling his nephew Scania a lie about his parentage.
“Steven Universe” is the popular Cartoon Network series about a young boy named Steven and his three guardians, the “Crystal Gems”: pedantic Pearl; easy-going Amethyst; and stoic Garnet. Garnet in particular is a “fusion” of two individuals, Ruby and Sapphire, who’re in a relationship and acknowledged as such.
Favorite moments: The episode where Steven travels back in time to form a band consisting of past versions of himself (and the “lesson” from all this he sings at the end); Garnet’s reaction to seeing Steven fuse for the first time.
- Tom Hale (Marvel)
- Ian Soo (Marvel)
- Iceman (Marvel)
- Pied Piper (DC Comics)
- Maggie Sawyer (DC Comics)
- Clay Walker (Archie)
- “Questionable Content” (Jeph Jacques)
Who are your favorite LGBTQ characters?