Comics
Published June 25, 2020

Celebrate Pride with These Marvel Heroes

A Marvel Unlimited spotlight on our LGBTQ+ characters!

LEARN ABOUT EVEN MORE CHARACTERS HERE!

Whether an X-Man, Avenger, (Young) Avenger, Runaway, or even a solo vigilante, all of these characters have left their larger mark on Marvel by simply being themselves.

Celebrate Pride month by reading the comic stories behind a few of our LGBTQ+ characters on Marvel Unlimited!

And, tune into the Women of Marvel podcast for a roundtable of Marvel creators who share how their identities have shaped their creative paths. Hosts Sana Amanat and Judy Stephens are joined by writers Vita Ayala (MORBIUS, ACTS OF EVIL), Tini Howard (EXCALIBUR, THANOS), and Leah Williams (THE AMAZING MARY JANE, GWENPOOL STRIKES BACK), all of whom talk about how they've navigated storytelling, their careers, and their own personal journeys. Listen to the full episode below!

Let’s get to know…

ICEMAN

One of Professor Xavier’s Original Five students, youngest X-Man Bobby Drake was regarded by his peers as the class clown. Although, his vast elemental powers countered that casual demeanor! Over time, Drake has gained greater mastery over his snow and ice form, and can create near-impenetrable structures as a self-sustaining ice machine. In fact, his Omega level-status was confirmed in HOUSE OF X/POWERS OF X, the saga that established a new mutant age on the island nation of Krakoa. (HOUSE OF X #1)

Even though his history dates back to 1963’s UNCANNY X-MEN #1, it took Drake decades to embrace his truest self. Since then, Iceman has thrived.

Read an adult Bobby’s solo adventures in ICEMAN (2017), followed by his second volume, ICEMAN (2018). Both runs cover everything from family drama, Super Villain drop-ins, some “old” Amazing Friends, and even dating! Or, get up to speed with Iceman’s latest appearances as a mutant brigadier in Dawn of X series MARAUDERS (2019).

Iceman (2017) #1

Iceman (2017) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

NORTHSTAR

Jean-Paul Beaubier is a high-flying speedster and founding member of Alpha Flight—he’s also the first Marvel character to come out on panel! Read his revolutionary admission here, a groundbreaking moment in Marvel Pride history:

Alpha Flight (1983) #106

Alpha Flight (1983) #106

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Northstar broke records a second time with his marriage to longtime partner Kyle Jinadu. Their wedding in ASTONISHING X-MEN (2004) #51 was the mutant fête of the decade, a Super Hero ceremony that (unbelievably) went off without a hitch.

Northstar

Most remarkably, Jean-Paul is one of the fastest heroes in the Marvel Universe, giving Quicksilver a run for his money. His powers of flight and lightspeed stamina work in concert with Aurora, his twin sister.

WICCAN

Young Avenger William “Billy” Kaplan is a mage empowered far beyond his years—he has particularly strong control over his electro-kinetic and teleportation skills. For that reason, he has been recruited by senior Avengers and Sorcerer Supremes to combat a variety of threats. Arcane resurrections, reality-obliterating mutants, Wiccan’s got a spell for that.

His aged-up version played a prominent role in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME (2016), although it was the AVENGERS: CHILDREN’S CRUSADE event where he truly came into his own.

When his manipulative mind powers started spiraling out of control, Billy set out to find the one person who could help him—the Scarlet Witch, also the woman purported to be his mother. Industry great Allan Heinberg delivered this super-powered coming-of-age tale, assembled here.

HULKLING

Theodore "Teddy" Altman is a changeling by birth. The son of Captain Mar-Vell and a Skrull Empress, he has often used his shapeshifting skills to blend into (or break out) of the crowd. Young Hulkling has had a complex beginning, broken out in YOUNG AVENGERS (2005) #9-12.

Hulkling_Family

In addition to being a cosmic power player, Teddy is Wiccan’s current fiancé. He is set to play a major role in the upcoming EMPYRE event, returning to his Kree and Skrull heritage to lead his people in an alliance that promises conflict with Earth’s heroes. For more details on Teddy’s turn as a ruler, pick up one-shot LORDS OF EMPYRE: EMPEROR HULKLING (2020) #1, on sale soon.

AMERICA CHAVEZ

Chavez hails from the Utopian Parallel, a lush, wonderland dimension of female-only inhabitants that was once threatened with destruction. After both her mothers died to save their world, America upheld their legacy as a Young Avenger and member of the Ultimates, growing into a team player mentality as she broke away from loner habits.

Beyond super-strength, flight, and incredible one-liners, America’s signature move is punching star-shaped holes through dimensions.

Start with YOUNG AVENGERS (2013), then try her 2017 series. Writer Gabby Rivera brings America to life, and it’s gorgeously illustrated by Joe QuinonesStacey LeeJen BartelRamon VillalobosFlaviano Armentaro, and more.

KAROLINA DEAN

Teen Runaway Karolina Dean has an easy, breezy nature that defies her extraterrestrial abilities. A daughter of the Majesdanian race, Karolina was gifted a bracelet by her parent that, when removed, allowed her to project solar energy and fly.

Upon discovering that her parents were aligned with a Super Villain cult called the Pride, Karolina joined her fellow Runaways to live out a life of clandestine crimefighting in her native Los Angeles. If you’re looking for her pivotal issue, try RUNAWAYS (2005) #8.

NICO MINORU

AKA Sister Grimm! Runaway Nico similarly discovered her parents’ ties to the Pride, and has been an original member of the team since her first appearance in RUNAWAYS (2003) #1. A sorceress by birth, Sister Grimm’s magic functions with an unusual caveat—she can never cast the same spell twice. This has led to some inventive invocations, given that Nico must always be specific, lest her random magic becomes chaos magic!

Nico
A summoning of Presidents Past in RUNAWAYS (2008) #13!

Nico was also a member of A-Force, an all-female super-team led by She-Hulk that addressed multiversal threats, ranging from cosmic castaways to giant bugs!

In RUNAWAYS (2017) #12, Nico and Karolina solidified their romantic relationship after years of devoted friendship.

THE MIDNIGHT ANGELS

Ayo and Aneka are the Midnight Angels, a duo of freedom fighters that helped build Wakanda's modern monarchy in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ BLACK PANTHER (2016).

Midnight_Angels 2
From BLACK PANTHER (2016) #3.

Former Dora Milaje, or soldiers to Wakanda’s Royal Family, Ayo and Aneka abandoned their post to forge their own path. Together, they inspired democracy by creating a military force to address the violent rebellions that nearly buckled Black Panther’s throne.

[RELATEDThe Big Players in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Black Panther’]

Their story actually began in the pages of BLACK PANTHER: WORLD OF WAKANDA (2016), a secretive love that grew outside the disciplined walls of the palace. Novelist Roxane Gay introduced this pair as polar opposites… who found each other over a shared sense of justice. The entire series is now free on Marvel Unlimited, so you can read the origin of the Midnight Angels in full.

Midnight Angels_2
From BLACK PANTHER: WORLD OF WAKANDA #2.

KARMA

The niece of a Madripoorian crime lord, Vietnam-born Xi'an "Shan" Coy Manh overcame a legacy of violence to become a dedicated New Mutant and X-Men faculty member. Upon her first meeting with Professor X, Karma was a bright young woman saddled with a great deal of responsibility. Her chief concern has been raising her two younger siblings, Leon and Nga.

Her powers are psychic in nature—Karma can seize control of another’s mind, or plant herself into their consciousness or body. She is multilingual, speaking French, English, and Vietnamese.

If you’re looking to read Shan’s current exploits, start NEW MUTANTS (2019) on Marvel Unlimited, following the original squad. For her earliest Marvel history, we recommend MARVEL TEAM-UP (1972) #100, her first appearance by co-creators Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #100

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #100

What is Marvel Unlimited?

BLING!

Roxanne Washington is Bling!, X-Man-in-training and a dedicated student of Krakoa. Her diamond exterior grants her durability and superhuman strength, but her greatest power may be her thirst for knowledge!

Bling!
Let’s talk mutant history in X-MEN (2004) #174!

The daughter of hip-hop legends, Roxanne is no stranger to the spotlight, although she much prefers to live outside the shadow of fame. One of her most notable moments came in X-MEN LEGACY (2008) #228, a devastating (but ultimately victorious) battle against mutant vampire Emplate.

Read her most current appearances in Dawn of X’s FALLEN ANGELS. A later addition to Psylocke’s commando crew of misfits and revenge-seekers, Bling! joined the team in issue #5.

RICTOR

The mutant Rictor, AKA Julio Richter, makes waves. Specifically, seismic ones. Able to control the vibrations of Earth’s core, he can create earthquakes of any magnitude, and his power continues to grow! Although first introduced as a supporting character in X-FACTOR (1986), Rictor’s Super Hero career kicked into high gear after he joined Cable’s X-Force in issue #11.

While a member of Multiple Man’s mutant detective agency, Rictor reexplored his relationship with X-Force colleague and best friend, Shatterstar. Despite a dimension of difference, the two enjoyed a long-running romance in X-FACTOR (2005), starting with issue #45. Today, things have slowed down between the two, given that Rictor is busy portal-ing between mystical fairy realms and Krakoa in EXCALIBUR (2019).

X-Factor (2005) #1

X-Factor (2005) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

SHATTERSTAR

Before joining Multiple Man’s crew in 2005’s X-FACTOR, Shatterstar, “Gaveedra-Seven,” was a genetically modified renegade from Mojoworld with training as an arena gladiator! Along with a healing factor and extrasensory perception, Shatterstar can open portals between dimensions.

Shatterstar

Check out his first brush with Cable’s New Mutants in NEW MUTANTS (1983) #100, a dust-up that would lead to his recruitment in X-FORCE (1991).

Or, if you’d like the scoop on his origin and parentage, try X-FACTOR (2005) #259. This issue revealed that Shatterstar is the actual son of Soldier of Chance Longshot and mutant pop star Dazzler! But what started as a temporal trip down memory lane became a full-fledged battle against Mojo and Spiral.

Shatterstar

STRIKER

An original student of AVENGERS ACADEMY, Striker, AKA Brandon Sharpe, would lunge into combat and ask questions later. Deemed the “Human Electric Chair,” Striker’s hotheaded nickname spoke to his hotheaded ways. At the series’ midway point, issue #23, a personal turmoil was revealed that gave readers an inside look at just how much the teen was going through. Thankfully, Power Pack’s Lightspeed was on hand to offer her guidance and support through Brandon’s admission, and, being queer herself, could give some advice on how to feel secure in your own identity.

Striker_Lightspeed

We recommend starting with AVENGERS ACADEMY (2010) #1. It’s Striker’s first appearance, and also introduces the first class of students with burgeoning super-powers.

MYSTIQUE

Although long vilified amongst humans and mutants, Mystique’s true nature is as elusive as her appearance. Society’s unwillingness to accept her natural state has left her adrift and without clear alliances. Although, there has been one constant force of good in her life—her wife, Destiny. A mutant precognitive whose gifts are both a blessing and a curse, Destiny helped raise Rogue alongside Mystique, and this found family of three found happiness, however fleeting.

Given her powers, Mystique’s age is unknown, although it’s now confirmed that her past with Destiny stretches back to the 19th century. (X-TREME X-MEN #1, HISTORY OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #2)

Mystique

In X-MEN (2019), Mystique finally aligned with the rest of mutantkind, aiding Charles Xavier and Magneto on a mission of utmost importance in X-MEN (2019) #6, coming soon to Marvel Unlimited.

DR. CHARLENE MCGOWAN

You may not know of Dr. McGowan yet, but you’re sure to read more of her soon! Introduced in IMMORTAL HULK (2018) #6, McGowan is a scientist who was responsible for experimenting on Bruce Banner’s zombified Hulk ego while working with the Shadow Base organization, an initiative started by General Reginald Fortean.

But, her ties to the nefarious Shadow Base are rooted in a personal mission, and McGowan has proven herself one of the Hulk’s latest allies. Try her first appearance, and read through issue #24!

For even more LGBTQ+ spotlights, be sure to check out our complete list on Marvel Unlimited!

 

Looking for more classic arcs and Marvel must-reads you can read for FREE? Read online here, or download or update the Marvel Unlimited app for iOS or Android at the Apple or Google Play app stores today.

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