Drawn to Comics: Last Year I Wished for 12 Things in Comics; Here’s What I Got

At the beginning of this year I wrote an article in which I talked about 12 things I was hoping for in comics in 2015. Some of those things happened and then some; some of them, not so much. I’m going to take a look back at the things I put on that list, whether or not they happened, and what I’m hoping for in 2016. I think that while this was far from a perfect year, there were a lot of great things that happened for women and queer people in comics this year. While not all the things I hoped for happened exactly the way I wanted them too, there were a lot of things that made me happy. But there’s always room for improvement in 2016.


1. More Trans Women in Comics

Alysia Yeoh and the other Batgirls in DC Comics Bombshells #6 art by Mirka Andolfo.

Alysia Yeoh and the other Batgirls in DC Comics Bombshells #6 art by Mirka Andolfo.

Yes! This was, in my opinion, the best year ever for trans women characters in comics. Madeleine Flores and Trillian Gunn’s all-ages comic Help Us! Great Warrior introduced us to the trans warrior Leo. In Batgirl #45 Barbara Gordon was the maid of honor in Alysia Yeoh’s wedding. Sera continued to be one of the best written characters in all of Marvel comics in 1602: Witchhunter Angela and Angela: Queen of Hel where she gets to make out with the title character. Over in The Wicked + The Divine we found out that Cassandra is in fact one of the Pantheon. Alysia popped up again over in DC Comics Bombshells as a member of the terrific team of Batgirls. Of course, no recap of trans women in comics would be complete without talking about Jo from Lumberjanes. In a very touching issue she talks about being trans and finding her community in the Lumberjanes with Barney, a Scouting Lad who’s having some of his own identity issues.

Trans women aren’t just appearing on the pages, though. Artist Sophie Campbell is doing a brilliant job over at Jem and the Holograms and Oni Press recently announced that it will be reissuing her book Wet Moon with new cover art and her correct name. Also, when Tess Fowler took over as artist for Rat Queens, Tamra Bonvillain, another trans woman, joined the team as colorist.

What I’m hoping for next

A trans woman superhero. I’ve said this before, but when most people think of comics, they think of superheroes; they think of people who put on a costume and fight crime. In Marguerite Bennett’s DC Comics Bombshells Alysia Yeoh is filling this role with tons of adorableness, pluck and fun, but that’s an alternative universe story. I want a mainstream, canonical trans woman superhero at DC or Marvel.


Captain Marvel (or another new woman superhero) to show up in Avengers: Age of Ultron or Ant-Man

ant-man-and-the-wasp-movie-marvel

There was definitely no Captain Marvel, and The Wasp sort of did show up in the after-credits scene in Ant-Man in the form of Hope Van Dyne looking at a Wasp suit, but it was in a really condescending scene where we were told “it’s about damn time” even though the only ones who made us wait this long were the people at Marvel. Additionally, Captain Marvel got pushed back for the second time, this time all the way to March 2019, and in her place, Marvel offered up a sequel to Ant-Man called Ant-Man and The Wasp. So that means the MCU will have released 20 movies over 11 years before it releases a single movie with a female lead. For shame, Marvel, for shame.

What I’m hoping for next

For the MCU to start respecting its female fans, or at least acting like we exist. Toys and other MCU merchandise often leaves out the female characters from the movies, which is doubly bad because there are barely any women there in the first place. Then, when they announced that they were pushing back Captain Marvel, they acted like female fans should be happy because they’re giving The Wasp, an original Avenger, second billing in the sequel to one of their worst movies. I mean, come on, we’re getting a third Thor movie and a Doctor Strange movie before we get a movie starring a woman.


3. For Skye or Simmons or Melinda May or Bobbi Morse to come out on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hogarth and Jessica from Jessica Jones.

Hogarth and Jessica from Jessica Jones.

NOPE. Instead, each one of those women have had multi-episode storylines focusing on their romantic relationships with men. I try to love this show, but the heterosexuality is so heavy-handed it’s ridiculous.

On the other hand, we did get Marvel’s Jessica Jones, an amazing Netflix show that featured three(!) lesbian characters and hinted at a queer identity for Jessica herself.

What I’m hoping for next

Angie to return in Season 2 of Agent Carter and maybe (please) for a bit of Peggy/Angie action. This new season moves from New York to Hollywood and so right now it’s looking like Peggy’s best pal/favorite flirting partner Angie isn’t making the trip with her. I know it’s unlikely in real life that such a major character would be revealed to be bisexual on ABC, but I can still hope, right?


4. More screen time for Renee Montoya on Gotham, and maybe a longterm girlfriend for her

Sara Lance (in white) in Legends of Tomorrow.

Sara Lance (in white) in Legends of Tomorrow.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. NOPE.

What I’m hoping for next

Since this seems like a lost cause, I’m hoping for Sara Lance to get a girlfriend on the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow. She had a few kisses with her girlfriend Nyssa al Ghul before she was killed on Arrow, but I haven’t heard anything about Nyssa joining her back from the dead, and Katrina Law, the actress who plays Nyssa, has been tight-lipped about her character’s presence on that show. So whether it’s Nyssa or someone else, I just really want to see some queer superhero (or antihero) action on my TV.


5. More women — and especially women of color and queer women — creators, especially at The Big Two

The cover for Pasty Walker, AKA Hellcat! #1 with Brittney Williams and Kate Leth right there to the right of Patsy's ear.

The cover for Pasty Walker, AKA Hellcat! #1 with Brittney Williams and Kate Leth right there to the right of Patsy’s ear.

Well, the numbers aren’t great, but they’re maybe better than last year? These numbers are all over the place, with DC sometimes having as many as 32 creators on 25 books (in April) and sometimes as low as 16 creators on 15 books (in July) and Marvel having as many as 20 creators on 26 books (in March) and as few as 8 creators on 9 books (in January). There are a few bright spots, but the numbers are still pretty dang bad.

What I’m hoping for next

Literally just the same thing, I want more women, especially queer women and women of color (and qtwoc), creators. None of the numbers are actually good when you look at them from a percentage perspective. But still, January solicits show 31 creators on 20 books at DC and 20 women on 14 books at Marvel, which are good numbers for those companies. February drops a bit with 21 creators on 19 books at DC. There are a few books I’m looking forward too, like Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, which has Amy Reeder, Natacha Bustos and Tamra Bonvillain on the team; Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat! by Kate Leth and Brittney Williams; and DC Comics Bombshells, written by Marguerite Bennett and featuring a lot of different artists, many of them women. Books like those, with teams full of women, including some queer women and woc, are extremely important to comics and we need more books like them.


6. No more rape in Batwoman, and for Batwoman to get a new series now that hers is ending

Batwoman #34 art by Mark Andreyko

Batwoman #34 art by Mark Andreyko

Well, since her series is over, there’s no more rape, but she doesn’t have a new series, so, yeah.

What I’m hoping for next

Well, a new Batwoman series would sure be nice. She’s one of DC Comic’s most iconic characters and, after the bisexual Catwoman and maybe Harley Quinn, probably the most iconic queer character in comics. It’s bonkers that she doesn’t have her own title right now.


7. The second volume of Pretty Deadly

The cover of Pretty Deadly #6, art by Emma Rios.

The cover of Pretty Deadly #6, art by Emma Rios.

YES! Have you read the new issue of Pretty Deadly? It’s gorgeous and weird and wonderful.

What I’m hoping for next

For the Wicked + The Divine tv show (produced by Milkfed Criminal Masterminds, the company owned by DeConnick and her husband Matt Fraction) to be as queer as the comic, including keeping Cassandra, a trans woman of color. How amazing would it be to see a TV show filled with people of color and queer people and queer people of color, including a trans woman of color, who are all literal gods? That’s my dream; that’s what every TV show should be.


8. Miss America Chavez to show up again on a regular basis

America Chavez on the cover of Ultimates #1, cover by Kenneth Rocafort and Edgar Delgado.

America Chavez on the cover of Ultimates #1, cover by Kenneth Rocafort and Edgar Delgado.

While she doesn’t have her own solo series, she did show up in two this summer’s Secret Wars comics, A-Force and Siege. And now that the All-New All-Different Marvel lineup has debuted, she’s a regular member of the Ultimates along with Blue Marvel, Spectrum, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Singularity. Yay for America Chavez!

What I’m hoping for next

Well, since the Marvel comics are doing a teeny tiny bit better at including women of color in their comics, how about that happens in the MCU? Seriously, the MCU is one of the whitest places in the multiverse. On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. there are a few women like Melinda May and Daisy, in Avengers: Age of Ultron there was Dr. Helen Cho and on Daredevil (and one episode of Jessica Jones) there’s Claire Temple, but that’s pretty much it. Earlier I said that Jessica Jones is an amazing show, and I do love it, but it has a serious flaw in that it barely features any women of color. But this is just par for the course when it comes to the MCU. If I’m not mistaken, Reina, a villain on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the most prominent Black woman in the entire MCU, which is incredibly ridiculous as she wasn’t really that prominent on the show. Marvel needs to step up and start including women of color in their movies and TV shows, with each movie and episode the problem is just becoming more and more insulting.


9. For Renee Montoya, Cass Cain and Steph Brown to become permanent members of the New 52 Universe

Cass Cain on the cover of Batman & Robin Eternal #3, cover by Tony Salvador Daniel, Sandu Florea and Tomeu Morey.

Cass Cain on the cover of Batman & Robin Eternal #3, cover by Tony Salvador Daniel, Sandu Florea and Tomeu Morey.

This is one of the few things on this list that’s actually totally happening right now! Renee is a regular in Detective Comics, Cass is in Batman & Robin Eternal and Steph has popped up in a bunch of places in the Bat-verse. Yay!

What I’m hoping for next

For more women of color heroes, like Renee Montoya and Cass Cain, to get prominent roles in comics. Representation matters! I say it over and over again. I’m really glad that Monica Rambeau is back at Marvel in the Ultimates title, that Ms. Marvel is a member of the All-New All-Different Avengers team, that we have the new series Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur and that the new Blade series is going to be about the original character’s daughter, but both Marvel and DC really need more women of color in prominent spots in their comics.


10. More comics characters to come out

The old Catwoman (right) making out with the new Catwoman (left), art by Garry Brown

The old Catwoman (right) making out with the new Catwoman (left), art by Garry Brown

Well, this year we’ve got confirmation that Harley and Ivy are a couple and that Catwoman is bisexual. Over at Marvel, Angela, who is the star of her own title, was shown to be in a relationship with her trans woman partner Sera; and Iceman, one of the most famous X-Men, came out as gay. Jo from the Lumberjanes came out as trans, as did Porcelain in Secret Six. Also, did you know that Jughead from the Archie comics is asexual?

What I’m hoping for next

More of the same. I won’t be happy until every comic book has at least one trans character and one gay character. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask for.


11. More comics creators to try to make things better

Some of the changed dialogue in the collected edition via MTV

Some of the changed dialogue in the collected edition via MTV

DC really stepped up and when they published the first trade paperback of The Batgirl of Burnside, they took out the transmisogynistic lines and changed a lot of dialogue. That’s how you show that you’ve learned and that you care about trans readers. Over at Image, when Kelly Sue DeConnick was starting to write trans characters, she put out a call for trans comic book fans that she could consult with (one of them was me). Other creators are doing the same thing, trying to make sure that they avoid harmful and incorrect tropes and stereotypes.

What I’m hoping for next

Again, more of the same. Comics as a whole still have a long way to go before they’re actually a doing a good job when it comes to hiring women, people of color and queer people, and including those characters in their books.


12. Legend of Korra comics that show some sweet Korrasami action

Some of Williams' terrific Korra art via Comic Book Resources.

Some of Williams’ terrific Korra art via Comic Book Resources.

While these haven’t come out yet, the creators did promise that their relationship would be a big focus. Also, Brittney Williams will be doing the art for the series!

What I’m hoping for next

For even more all-ages comics to feature queer characters. This was a good year for all-ages and YA comics and queer comics, Boom! Studios had a bunch, with Adventure TimeSteven UniverseLumberjanesHelp Us! Great Warrior and Giant Days, and the youth-focused Batgirl has Alysia Yeoh and Frankie, but it would be really cool to see DC and Marvel include more queer characters in their books aimed at younger readers.


New Releases (December 9)

InSEXts #1 (Aftershock)

Betty and Veronica Friends Comics Annual #246 (Archie Comics)

Adventure Time #47 (Boom!)

Giant Days #9 (Boom!)

Harrow County #8 (Dark Horse)

Batman & Robin Eternal #10 (DC)

Catwoman #47 (DC)

DC Comics Bombshells #6 (DC)

Gotham Academy #13 (DC)

Harley Quinn Vol 2: Power Outage TPB (DC)

Harley Quinn Vol 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab HC (DC)

Starfire #7 (DC

Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death #3 (Image)

Monstress #2 (Image)

All-New Hawkeye #2 (Marvel)

Gwenpool Special #1 (Marvel)

Runaways: Battleworld TPB (Marvel)

Scarlet Witch #1 (Marvel)

Spider-Gwen #3 (Marvel)

Star Wars Annual #1 (Marvel)

Ultimates #2 (Marvel)


Welcome to Drawn to Comics! From diary comics to superheroes, from webcomics to graphic novels – this is where we’ll be taking a look at comics by, featuring and for queer ladies. So whether you love to look at detailed personal accounts of other people’s lives, explore new and creative worlds, or you just love to see hot ladies in spandex, we’ve got something for you.

If you have a comic that you’d like to see me review, you can email me at mey [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

Mey Valdivia Rude is a bisexual Latina trans woman living in Los Angeles. She's a writer, comic consultant and a trans activist. She's a bruja, a femme, a pop princess and she loves comic books, witches, dinosaurs and crying. She has a cat named Sawyer and a very successful twitter.

Mey has written 574 articles for us.

16 Comments

  1. I want to see a lot more comics with female leads. Marvel is improving, as is Dark Horse and smaller publishers like Boom, but there is still a lot of weeks where every title from a publisher has a male lead. Still, I manage to buy 4-5 really good titles every week so I’m pretty happy with that.

    There are a couple of good comics out this week to add to the above list.

    New Romancer #1 (DC Comics) which is about a coder working on a dating app who uses the writing of Ada Lovelace to accidentally summon history’s greatest lover: Lord Byron.

    Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Robyn Hood #17 (Zenescope) I don’t like most of Zenescope’s titles, but this one does have a lesbian witch (Marian Quin) who lives with Robyn and two cats.

    Pathfinder: Hollow Mountains #2 (Dynamite Entertainment) Two of the party (the human cleric Kyra and the elf rogue Merisiel) have a long running relationship (since the 2nd arc).

    • If you google “Jessica Jones Bisexual” you’ll find a whole bunch of articles where people on the show said that Jessica has a “fluid” sexuality, and in interviews Carrie Anne Moss keeps on saying that her character and Jessica have a complicated relationship that’s filled with “flirtation”

      • I wouldn’t consider comments made by actors in the press to be the same as the show hinting at a queer identity for Jessica. Actors and even writers/showrunners say a whole lot of things that never actually come to fruition on screen. I’d love Jessica to be queer as much as the next person, but until something is explicitly said or done on screen to show that she is, I’m not holding my breath.

        Also, I’d much sooner buy Jessica & Trish as a couple than Jessica & Hogarth. Jessica & Trish literally can’t be in a room together without being flirtatious, touching, etc.

    • There’s this scene in the show that feels like a hint to me.

      Jessica gets a call and answers it with booty call joke and Jeri asks if she realises it was her calling to which Jessica responds something like “yeah duh, what about it” Jeri seems curious about that response but doesn’t follow up on it because Jessica is demanding why she called.

      It’s not much but it felt like a moment I’ve had in real life before.

  2. I watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. week after week, and still, three seasons later, it baffles me that Melinda May isn’t queer. Not that I very much mind her relationship with Andrew/ Lash (people of color in love on tv is my very close second favorite thing, directly after queer women in love, though my all time first favorite thing- despite being basically a unicorn- is queer women of color in love together on tv).

    Still, Melinda just pings so hard for me.

    I am happy about Ivy Queen and Harley Quinn! I don’t read comics, but I’ve loved both of those characters since the Batman animated TV series in the 1990s. That’s a canon relationship I can totally get behind!

  3. We shouldn’t overlook webcomics, either, given how vibrant the field is. A few I might point out include Christopher Baldwin’s (once of “Bruno”) current “Anna Galactic”, and even the newly resurrected “Little Dee”; the long-running “Gunnerkrigg Court”; the inimitable (and often NSFW) OGLAF; and the utterly intriguing “Decrypting Rita”, as well as the same artist’s “Five Glasses of Absinthe”.

    (Can I include links? I’m new to the site, so I’m not sure if that’s a “done thing” here, and if so, whether as BBcode, HTML, or something else)

    • Yes yes yes! Also: “Namesake” by Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melancon (which features multiple queer ladies and at least one trans woman), “O Human Star” by Blue Delliquanti (one of the main characters is a trans woman who is also a robot), “Dumbing of Age” by David Willis (lots of queer ladies and at least one trans woman), “Missing Monday” (queer lady romance)… there’s really a LOT of webcomics out there with queer ladies front and center, and a number with trans ladies as well.

  4. It was a pretty good year. Definite room for improvement though. I NEED a new Batwoman series! Besides that, if I could have another wish fulfilled, it would be for America Chavez to have a solo title of her own written by a badass female writer. It could be in addition to her role in the Ultimates, just like how Squirrel Girl has a solo book and is on the New Avengers at the same time.

  5. Yet another year where I wish Batwoman got her own series (I threw away the wish where she finally got married since apparently they can’t happen to any of the characters). Hopefully 2016 is the year! <3

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