Robot 6

Add two more names to the list of gay superheroes

From "X-Factor" #45

From "X-Factor" #45

As Gay Pride Month winds down, Pink Kryptonite takes a cursory look at the state of gays and lesbians in superhero comics. It’s the usual suspects, mostly — Wiccan and Hulkling, Obsidian, Batwoman, The Question, etc. — with two notable, and very recently added, exceptions: Marvel’s Shatterstar and Rictor.

That’s right, those C-list mainstays of the X-Universe Shatterstar and Rictor. Last week’s X-Factor #45 ended years of online speculation — and in-story winks — about the nature of their relationship by showing them reuniting with a kiss.

Witnessing the moment, Strong Guy says, “Uh-kay. Didn’t see that comin’.” Judging from the number of fan sites devoted to the pair, he’s about the only one who missed the signs.

Some of the sites, of course, contain slash fiction. But others, such as Shattering the Earth, chronicle the characters’ histories and sift countless issues searching for clues about their sexuality and formerly theoretical romance.

Rictor was created in 1987 by Louise Simonson and Walter Simonson, and introduced in the first volume of X-Factor. Shatterstar is a quintessentially early-’90s creation of Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza who debuted in New Mutants #99 before becoming a regular in X-Force. The two characters were teammates, and close friends, in the latter title.

I drifted away from the new volume of X-Factor a couple of years ago — I’d be hard-pressed to give a reason, though — but I recall writer Peter David giving sly nods to fan speculation about Rictor, who lost his earth-moving powers during “M-Day” before joining X-Factor Investigations. (A funny exchange between Jamie Madrox and Rictor about Quicksilver and Shatterstar comes to mind. Shattering the Earth says it was Issue 14, and who am I to doubt the webmaster?)

The low-key “outing,” such that it is, is sure to delight some fans and likely annoy or anger others. But what I find interesting is that the reveal managed to slip largely beneath the radar in a week when more eyes were focused on Batwoman’s debut in Detective Comics.

(Image via Heroes & Hunks, which is NSFW.)

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Comments

14 Comments

Hoo rah! About time Marvel let that play out…it’s the 21st Century, ferchrissakes!

The article title here is actually a little offensive and also inaccurate. Rictor’s bisexual, not gay, and bisexuals get ragged on heaps with the whole ‘bi now, gay later’ stuff by both gays and straights. It’s why the people in our community use words like LGBT if we’re trying to generalise.

It’s a fantastic development though, as regards the comic itself.

Could I love this more? its so well drawn and sweet and feels like natural progression of a relationship rather than shock value marketing. I just LOVE that absolutely no fuss has been kicked up about it either, sure, that may be because they’re pretty unknown, but it’s also because being gay is finally, finally not such a big deal anymore, no one bats an eyelash, no one cares, and that really does feel like equality. Freedom to be as mundane and uninteresting as the rest of the masses ahah :D

god, I love this

Flanuer there is clearly no intent to offend anywhere in this article, lower those hackles!

My hackles are lowered, Malenkym. Your monitor would have exploded if they were not. ;)

I certainly believe there is no intent to offend in this article, it instead seems like something trying to be progressive. It’s important to say though; ignorance, no matter how benign we feel it is, is fail and so we must educate the ignorant until ignorance is no more.

Only thing that offends me is the lack of spoilers, I won’t get this issue until later this week and I’ve been loving how Peter David has been throwing these big “woah” moments into recent issues and people have managed to not openly spoil anything.

“Great. Just what the world needs.”

I know you’re being sarcastic but you are right. This IS what the world needs.

bobbydigital20g

July 1, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Northstar isnt dead, he was just inducted as an official X-Man recently by wolverine and cyclops, and yes, hes still gay.

Hooray! About time for these two! I remember way way way back in “X-Force” how the two of them always seemed to be together and there always seemed to be something…well, I guess the term nowadays would be “bromancy” about the two of them. Now hearing this made me cheer and cry at the same time, because I am currently broke and am an obsessed enough Shatterstar fangirl to go back and buy all the back issues that I’m missing (which is…ugh…all of them!) since, like Mr. Melrose, I sort of fell away from X-Factor for some unknown reason. Still…huzzah!

Thanks for the link! I’m so glad to see this item being picked up. This really IS what the world needs more of.

I’ve seen alot of the mainstream news outlets touting this as the first male/male kiss in comics… That doesn’t seem right. Maybe first in a Marvel book? I remember Obsidian getting a kiss from his boyfriend in Manhunter (an ecellent GLBT inclusive title), also, I’d be surprised to learn Apollo and Midnighter never locked lips on panel. Anyone with a billion comics on microfilm wanna school me?

“The article title here is actually a little offensive and also inaccurate. Rictor’s bisexual, not gay, and bisexuals get ragged on heaps with the whole ‘bi now, gay later’ stuff by both gays and straights. It’s why the people in our community use words like LGBT if we’re trying to generalise.”

Sexuality is defined by the person, not the observer. We don’t know for sure yet, but it’s entirely possible that Rictor, DESPITE having a girlfriend in the past (even one he didn’t have sex with, like Rahne), DOES now view himself as gay. See also Willow Rosenberg, who was in a long term relationship with a guy, but after meeting her first girlfriend identified herself consistently as gay, not bisexual, and has had relationships with women exclusively since then.

Yeah I always felt that story line of Willow becoming gay was poorly written. She was obviously bisexual and should have continued to be written that way. Unless you want me to believe that she never really loved Oz in and Xander in the first place. Which would be completely lame. The problem with gays and straights is that they don’t know what to do with bisexuals. Y’all have a boring either or mentality. I am hoping that PAD keeps Rictor as a bisexual man.

Yeah!! in my splendid estimation the superhero gay and lesbian persons look like the immense times in the fields of medieval ages which was delineated gothic characters of the celestial shield of fetish things/times.

Nimetullah Sucuksu

September 10, 2013 at 3:12 pm

That’s right, those C-list mainstays of the X-Universe Shatterstar and Rictor

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