The other week, I went to Steel City Con, the Pittsburgh Area’s valiant attempt at a comic con. Lots of vendors, bunch of B- and C-list TV celebs, usually two or three A-listers (last year I got autographs from Shannen Doherty AND Holly Marie Combs!!!), and of course: tons of passionate, weird, lovable pop culture junkies, God love ’em. As I went through through my loot, I realized I had had a gay ol’ time. My two biggest gems? Action figures of Willow and Tara, and All New X-Men #17: aka newly-out Iceman’s first, big (I’m talking full-page panel) gay kiss. This is exceptional, you guys: Iceman has been part of the X-Verse since its very beginnings in 1963, one of the original five X-Men. So how did we get to this place 54 years later? It’s the long line of the quirkiest comic team family expanding its inherent diversity. Let’s take a look.
After a confusing series of deaths, reincarnations, and redesigns, Marvel’s Loki is now starring in his own solo series: Loki: Agent of Asgard, and interestingly, the ill-gotten body he’s inhabiting these days happens to be late adolescent and devastatingly attractive.
In what seems to be an unapologetic attempt to cash in on Tom Hiddleston’s glorious face, the pert-nosed, bright-eyed, twelve-year-old Loki of Kieron Gillen’s Journey into Mystery has been overtaken by the shadow of his old self, and has grown into quite the swarthy, chiseled specimen to boot. Though Loki has never before been deliberately framed as an object of attraction in the comics, it’s no secret that Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki in the Thor and Avengers films has earned him an overwhelmingly female fandom.
Marvel, it seems, is more than happy to give the people what they want, and in a laudable attempt at embracing diversity, Agent of Asgard writer Al Ewing has officially stated that Loki is canonically bisexual and “will shift between genders occasionally”. If this can be taken to mean that Loki is actually gender fluid (as opposed to, say, using female form simply for deceit, which he has done before) he is the first significant Marvel character to identify as such.
Unfortunately, Marvel does have a history of floundering in their attempts to write male protagonists for a female audience. A solo series starring Wolverine’s son Daken as a sexy, edgy anti-hero crashed pretty hard when readers realized that its only hook was “debauched bisexual quotes Nietzsche, hates father, and is occasionally shirtless”. Ewing and Garbett are now tasked with maintaining interest in a series that could very easily dissolve into “debauched bisexual quotes lolcats, hated father, and is occasionally shirtless”.
The question, of course, is: are they succeeding? Are Ewing and artist Lee Garbett (two straight men; an interesting choice, in my opinion) giving readers what they want and deserve in a female-targeted nontraditional comic, or have they set out with good intentions only to miss the mark entirely? Continue reading
So I saw Skyfall on Monday, and although I never expected to do a review of a James Bond movie for a feminist website—the two terms ‘007’ and ‘feminism’ are basically antonyms—hooooo boy, are there a lot of things to unpack, sexuality-wise. For those of you who haven’t seen it, spoilers will abound—this is going to be somewhere between a standard Sexualized Saturdays and a basic Skyfall review—so consider yourself warned.
Fairy Tail is set in the imaginary kingdom of Fiore, and because of this, you can’t necessarily make assumptions about their ideas of sexuality—that is, they may differ from the way sexuality is perceived in the real world.
However, a hundred and thirty episodes and 200+ episodes in, the only character who is obviously written gay in the stereotypical flirtatious effeminate anime style is Bob, the leader of the Blue Pegasus guild. And honestly, I’m a little tired of this being practically the only way queer characters are portrayed in anime. You get the predatory girlish gay guys, and the predatory tomboyish lesbian girls, and that’s about it. So today I’m going to look at Lucy Heartfilia, one of Fairy Tail’s main characters, and speculate that she’s not entirely straight, and think wishfully about the future of the anime and manga world.
Before we go any farther and I start any shipping wars, let me lay something on the table. Lucy is going to end up with Natsu. This is a shounen anime to the hilt, and looking at the way shounen heroes get paired off with shounen heroines, I can tell you: Lucy is going to end up with Natsu. In the same way Supernatural‘s writers will never have the balls to actually put Dean and Cas in a relationship (EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE GAWD), Mashima Hiro is never gonna pair off his leading lady with anyone but his hero, just because that’s the way anime/manga work in this day and age.
THAT SAID: I think there’s a fair case to be made for Lucy’s bisexuality.
In the very first episode we see her fangirling over a magazine’s feature on Fairy Tail (the guild)—but she is particularly squee-filled about the centerfold of FT’s at-that-time-spokesmodel, Mirajane. I don’t know many straight girls who get excited about how hot a booby chick in a bikini looks, so that’s what started me wondering.
Her fangirl crush on Mira continues well into the following episodes, that is, after she joins the guild. She is also often in awe of Erza—although that may in fairness be because Erza is objectively awesome, not necessarily because Lucy is crushing. In one of the OVAs, though, (which lol are toooootally canon >.>), the Fairy Tail girls’ dorm does decide in a poll that the Lucy’s best love-match is Erza.
Although it’s sort of baby steps, and although I think that Mashima Hiro is probably not sitting around in his studio wondering what kind of strides he can make in portraying queer characters today as he draws next week’s Fairy Tail chapter, it is nice that, however unintentionally, Lucy is a girl in a well-known anime who can appear to like other girls without being portrayed like, well, this: