While Ms Marvel may be making headlines, diversity in superhero comics is far from a new trend. Since comics like Batman, Spiderman, and the later adaptations of Superman, superhero comics have been about an outsider trying to fit into the world of the normal; however, not until the 80’s did minorities start taking center stage in their own comics. Characters like Cyborg, Firebrand, and Amadeus Cho (a later adaptation of Hulk) began debuting in their own comics, adding more meaning to this idea of “outsiders.” But not only has the comic industry supported and helped cultivate minority races into pop culture, they also were able to push sexuality differences and gender differences into modern society.
The LGBT community is often overlooked in regards to integration into modern media, however, in the comic industry this is not the case. Heroes such as Northstar, Batwoman, Apollo, and Hulking and Wiccan are all openly part of the queer community and have all been around for quite some time yet none of them seemed to make as big of a splash with the Media as Ms Marvel did. In the case of the comic series Young Avengers, it features the gay couple Hulkling and Wiccan. The couple go through the relatable challenges that all gay teens go through, just as Ms. Marvel goes through all the challenges with being a Muslim American, yet there is no media attention given Hulkling and Wiccan or any of these LGBT superheroes. I was going to do an article about the impact that these comics had on integrating gay youth culture into part of pop culture yet there was nothing there. No major stories, press conferences, blogs, there is nothing. These comics clearly express the challenges of gay youth such as coming out to your parents, showing affection in public, and even figuring out who pays for dinner. Typical things that are important to gay youth culture yet no attention was given to these comics.
The problem does not end here. After conducting more research, I discovered that this not a new trend nor does it only apply to comics. In fact, rarely is attention given to an LGBT character or property. When the controversy of lack of minority races came up during the Oscars, no one was commenting on the fact that there where no members of the LGBT community nominated either. The LGBT community is not represented when discussing lack of minority representation.
While the root cause of this problem can be due to a variety of things, something needs to change. There needs to be recognition of LGBT culture in more books, T.V shows, films, video games, and comics. Kudos to Marvel and D.C for trying to break down those barriers. We have come a long way but we still have an even longer way to go.