From 1954 to 1989, the Comics Code Authority forbade the inclusion of certain themes within mainstream comics published in America. Alongside excessive gore and rape, “sexual abnormalities” and “perversion(1)” were also forbidden, which, in 1954, included any overt reference to homosexuality. These rules were formulated during the heyday of many comics that have experiences a renaissance through motion pictures, and for a time, restricted who the superheroes could be as people and what the artists could do with comic books as an art form. Despite these restrictions, the representation of LGBT themes comics endured, and are prevalent throughout both independent and mainstream comics today.
We seek to analyze the presence of LGBT themes in comics first by looking at Captain America, the embodiment not only of ‘good,’ but of ‘right.’ Next we’ll observe a range of LGBT characters present across both independent and mainstream comics, from the 1970’s today. Finally, we’ll look closely at two popular LGBT supervillains, and investigate how the role they play in the LGBT comic community may differ from that of the superheroes.
- Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency, Interim Report, 1955 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1955). http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Comic_book_code_of_1954