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Mainstream Comic Books Featuring Lesbian Super Heroes

Updated on July 7, 2016

Well, we've already heard all about gay comic book characters, but what about the ladies? Well, there's actually been quite a few highly publicized lesbian characters in comic books over the years. Compared to gay males, they're quite well represented. This is mostly due to the double standard where it is cool for straight males to like lesbians, but taboo for homosexual males to be considered "tough" or "badass".

Still, these pioneering lesbian super heroes have still proven to be positive role models GLBT youth across the world. Follow along as we discover the history of lesbian superheroes. You might just be surprised at how many of your favorite teams and characters have been known to take a walk on the wild side.

Now let's hear it for the girls!

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Karma from X-MenKarma's fat period
Karma from X-Men
Karma from X-Men
Karma's fat period
Karma's fat period

Karma (Marvel)

As a member of the New Mutants, Karma was always part of the "next wave" of the superhero crowd. She was usually the most mature member of the team and, arguably, one of the most powerful. With the ability to take over another persons mind and control their body, she could potentially take down the largest of threats as long as she was able to keep safe while grabbing the reigns of their psyche.

Karma came out of the closet after finally admitting an attraction to fellow X-Girl, Shadowcat. Unfortunately, while open-minded, Shadowcat was just not able to return the feelings. However, it led to Karma being able to be open about herself in public and hold her head high.

Unfortunately, Karma hasn't had the luckiest life. During the 80s, there was a rather distressing period where she was forced to become monstrously overweight. Although she recovered from her obesity, she would later lose her leg in a heated battle.

If you're interested, you can read about her regularly in New Mutants as well as appearances in various X-Men titles.

Batwoman, DC comics most visible LGBT character
Batwoman, DC comics most visible LGBT character

Batwoman (DC)

I've already said plenty about Batwoman comics. But the fact remains that she is the highest profile gay OR lesbian character in all of mainstrean comics. Not only is she an openly lesbian superhero, but she carries her own popular and critically acclaimed title.

Motherly, butch, sensual, and moral, she defies labels. A promising military student, she was given the choice to either deny her sexuality in writing or be kicked out of the marines due to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Rather than break her oath to never lie, she told the truth and began to seek out an outlet for doing good in the world through superheroics instead.

Check her out in Detective Comics and her upcoming title, Batwoman!

Renee Montoya, The Question
Renee Montoya, The Question

The Question (DC)

Of course, you can't mention Batwoman without mentioning The Question.  The successor to the original holder of the name, Renee Montoya is a familiar face for Batman fans.  Originally introduced on Batman: The Animated Series, she made her way into the comic books and soon after came out as a lesbian.  At this point, she was one of the most high profile lesbian comic book characters, and her elevation to superhero status only reinforces her groundbreaking role.

She is also important to Batwoman's backstory, as the two have shared an on-again/off-again romantic entanglement.   The two broke up initially because Renee was unwilling to out herself to her police coworkers.  They struggle to find common ground while they both deal with their busy lives of stopping psychos from destroying the world.

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Mystique (Marvel)

Mystique? A hero? Well... sometimes. More often than not, this self-serving shapeshifter is working with villains like Magneto but she will just as regularly work for the X-Men. Really, her mood is just as mercurial as her form. She never stays in one spot for too long and quickly gets bored of the people she spends time with.

Except for one person, that is: Destiny, her long time lover. Mystique was unique in that even as far back as the 70s writers were pretty open about her romantic relationship with another woman. The fact that the pages of Marvel would show off a lesbian comic book character (villain or not) was a big deal.

The two of them lived very happily together for years. While Mystique stayed young and vital due to her superpowers, eventually Destiny grew old and died. Although gone, Destiny's love and affection still hangs over Mystique and informs her every action.

Karolina Dean- Gay Teenage Superhero
Karolina Dean- Gay Teenage Superhero

Karolina Dean (Marvel)

Found in the pages of Runaways, this teenage superhero/alien came to terms with her sexual identity early in the series. She briefly flirted with a fellow teammate, but the relationship didn't go anywhere. Eventually, she found out she was betrothed to a Xavin, a Skrull prince from another world. Skrull's have the ability to shapeshift, and in order to convince her to stay with him, Xavin took a female form.

The two actually embarked on a rather daring and thought provoking romance. Karolina was happy to have a beautiful women to date, but was often concerned that Xavin still thought of himself as a male. That's comic books for you, adding a bizarre transgender subplot only available through super powers.

Her comic is currently on hiatus, but should be back sometime next year.  Rumor has it that a major motion picture featuring Karolina and her underage superhero friends will begin production shortly as well.  Cross your fingers!

DC's Amazons
DC's Amazons

The Amazons (DC)

Yes, the Amazons. As in the group of people Wonder Woman hails from. But, then, what did we really suspect. Their entire culture is based on never, ever allowing themselves to be around men, ever. If you think they haven't discovered a Sapphic side over the years, you're out of your mind.

Of course, recent comic books have really played up the lesbian angle for these iconic comic book characters. In fact, some writers have even implied that Wonder Woman herself is bisexual. Straight out of Greek Mythology, this island of Goddesses beyond the touch of men show what a lesbian community is like, instead of just having a lone character represent an entire sexual orientation.

And hey, they live on Paradise Island!  Sounds like Paradise to some folks I know, right?

Scandal Savage: Butch and Proud
Scandal Savage: Butch and Proud

Scandal Savage

Another anti-hero, Scandal is the daughter of the immortal supervillain Vandal Savage.  Featuring a retarded metabolism herself, she is able to heal from wounds quickly (in hours and days, nothing like Wolverine) and is one of the best melee fighters in the DC universe.

Her homosexuality was not much of a secret. In fact, she was in a very long term relationship with super villain Knockout before the two of them became anti-hero mercenaries in the popular Secret Six title. Unfortunately, Knockout was killed a few years back.  Scandal has started to move on and has begun dating a woman with remarkably similar looks to her deceased partner.

Uncompromising and tough, Scandal is a take-no-BS kinda woman.  However, she does have her softer side and has shown a great paternal affection for her teammate and friend Bane.  Check her and the rest of her wild team of psychos out for some real laughs!

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Sarah Rainmaker from Gen13Sunfire from ExilesGrace and Thunder kiss
Sarah Rainmaker from Gen13
Sarah Rainmaker from Gen13
Sunfire from Exiles
Sunfire from Exiles
Grace and Thunder kiss
Grace and Thunder kiss

Honorable Mentions

A few more high profile, mainstream lesbian superheroes to consider:

  • Sarah Rainmaker (Gen13) - A Native American activist and out lesbian comic book character, she is comically but endearingly in your face about political correctness issues. Also, you know, controls the weather.
  • Sunfire (Marvel) - An alternate universe version of a male character, Sunfire appeared in the dimension-hoping Exiles book.
  • Grace and Thunder (DC) These two lesbian lovers have been active with the DC supergroup The Outsiders.

There are plenty of great comic books out there with GLBT characters, so if you're interested go out there and support them! After all, no one will now you care if you don't vote with your wallet.

For more information about LGBT characters in geek culture, read on to find out about Gay and Lesbian Characters in Video Games

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    • Gilbert Smith profile image

      Gilbert Smith 7 years ago from New Mexico

      Lesbian indie comics: No thank you. Lesbian superheroes: Hubba hubba!

      No but seriously, I think independent comics specifically about gay issues tend to marginalize and categorize, rather than promote, their characters. Putting gay characters into mainstream comics and making sexual preference a non-issue seems much more progressive.

    • girlincape profile image

      Kasey Rubenstein 7 years ago from California

      Wow. Your articles make me want to read more comics like nobody's business. Especially Batwoman.

    • Len Cannon profile image
      Author

      Len Cannon 7 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Yeah, Batwoman is definitely my favorite new hero introduced in some time.

    • thehands profile image

      thehands 7 years ago

      A good list. I didn't know about most of these; thanks for sharing. (I was half-expecting Poison Ivy to make it on here, but I guess that aside from being a villain and not a hero, her affection for Harley Quinn is more subtext than anything else.)

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Cool hub.

    • jasonycc profile image

      jasonycc 7 years ago from South East Asia

      Wonderful compilation. I love reading X-Men comics. I didn't know Karma and Mystique were lesbians. Now I do.

    • Len Cannon profile image
      Author

      Len Cannon 7 years ago from Brooklyn, NY

      Well, Mystique is kind of hard to classify. Is someone who can be anyone of any sex even really a woman? I guess it is all self-identification. If you really think about it too hard your head might pop.

    • MollyMiigwan profile image

      MollyMiigwan 6 years ago from Naples

      I didn't know there were so many! Thank you for the awesome hug-- great job!

    • mosaicman profile image

      mosaicman 6 years ago from Tampa Bay, Fl

      Wow, i'm not that into comic books. I'm a casual reader and follower of characters. I didn't know they had homosexual characters. Interesting though. Thanks for the info. Cool Hub.

    • profile image

      guest 6 years ago

      Hmmm, I thought that Wonder Woman was portrayed as clearly lesbian but open minded enough to play with the idea of male lovers...and over time clearly disappointed with male attitudes and weaknesses.

    • eddgrr profile image

      eddgrr 6 years ago from NYC

      I never knew that Mystique had a female lover! Learn something new everyday haha.

    • profile image

      EmoBarbie520 6 years ago

      What about Cassie in "Hack/Slash"?

    • Best Games profile image

      Best Games 6 years ago

    • Right On Time profile image

      Right On Time 6 years ago from Australia

      There was nothing about this hub that I didn't like

    • Klena profile image

      Klena 6 years ago from England

      Fantastic, informative hub with a few figures I didn't know before now! Thank you for the hub and recommending new titles for me to look into :)

    • profile image

      Nightweaver 6 years ago

      I'm going to go check out Batwoman now, thanks!

    • PR Morgan profile image

      PR Morgan 6 years ago from Sarasota Florida

      I think it would be interesting if some of the movies would delve into this sub genre. It could bring new life into an overplayed superhero movie market...I may have to read some of these comic books!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Who knew? I should never have given up reading comics! ...and what amazing art work! Thanks for this fascinating and informative hub.

    • MathLizard profile image

      MathLizard 6 years ago from Reading PA

      The marvel character Phyla-Vell, the sister of Captain Marvel who eventually acquires the quantum bands to become the new Quasar, is also a lesbian. She had a relationship with Moondragon. Not one of the more important characters, but worth a mention.

    • edw4rdcull profile image

      edw4rdcull 5 years ago

      I think it is to approach an audience of a different taste and identify the characters with the gay community

    • profile image

      Pam Harrison 5 years ago

      Best lesbian indie comic so far: A Deviant Mind!

    • jake13edward profile image

      jake13edward 5 years ago from Redlands Ca

      I already knew all these lesbians were lesbians.

    • scentualhealing profile image

      scentualhealing 5 years ago from Georgia

      thank you for their information

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 4 years ago from Irvine

      This pretty much validates the fact that comic books really are not for children any more. If, when I was 12 years old, and understood the intimations of lesbianism, I would have up-chucked my Oscar Myer hot dogs, potato chips, and Jell-O. Sorry if I'm not being PC, but that's just the way I feel. Why DC and Marvel feel it's necessary to push this down the throats of its readership is because its audience has become so old and decadent.

    • KristyEsc profile image

      Kristy Escoto 4 years ago from Minnesota

      This is wonderful, this really makes me want to get into comics. If I had knows I'd probably be geekin out by now!

    • Rae Saylor profile image

      Rae Saylor 3 years ago from Australia

      Awesome list ;-) Your hub makes me want to read more comic books. I especially love Batwoman. Voted up!

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      But didn't Wonder Woman have a boyfriend in man's world?

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Modesty Blaise was a regular comic strip character in the evening tabloids from the 70's onward. Modesty an adventuress went on a series of capers battling malevolent adversaries some ecentric some sadistic.

      Miss Blaise seemed to have a slight sadistic streak herself when dealing with opponents. Her own fulfilling relationships remain unknown but she was always in command having an underling do her bidding or in control where males submitted to her demands.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 2 years ago from London England

      I recall a serialised version of the first Modesty Blaise novel in a daily tabloid as early as 1965. This was certainly a new innovation as a superheroine. The book came out in 66 and the rather campy film in 67 with a B grade remake in the 80's. The strip endured and the Modesty Blaise anthology enlarged. I read only one account of a physical liasson with a male and it was because she felt sorry for him but distinctly i remember a relationship with an adolescent girl. Anyway Emma Peel who predated Modesty Blaise by six months was a better superheroine. Full of self confidence, witty quips and a saucy smile. Mrs Peel is a legend.

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings.

      The premise of Batwoman being a lesbian is quite feasible. She is an entity of the night not conforming to conventional values. Being impartial to her male adversaries males for a strong character in defeating them. Where as Wonder Woman i always visualised as entirely feminine albeit an Amazon Warrior and historical evidence puts the Amazons as having male auxilliaries under their command or at least mating with males to produce offspring.

      the gadfly

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings!

      Why not enter the mysterious realm of Oh. Wicked Wanda!

      A mid 1970's strip featuring glamorous female characters of

      all persuasion augmented by a mad scientist, a zombie and

      stone gargoyles coming to life as gimps. In addition there was

      a previous strip a decade prior namely Jet Dream and the

      Dream team albeit only 9 issues of campy gender bending.

      Enjoy if you must

      the gadfly

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings!

      The strip character Brenda Starr, reporter, may fall into this category.

      She was a woman who kept up with the times. Adventurous, ambititous and fashion conscious. After her tempestuous divorce preceedings Brenda (now editor of the newspaper) beferiended a female confidante.

      Consider the possibilities!

      gadfly

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings

      The premise of Batwoman is quite plausible considering the amount of information available from her profiles. In the beginning Batwoman meerly dealt with small time 'hoodlums' or crime syndicate Mr Bigs and/or their henchmen. Now Batwoman does battle with malevolent entities and inhuman creatures. Good for her!

      sweet dreams

      the gadfly

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      Darklings

      To think of the Amazons in myths as Lesbian is an interesting concept which can be applied to super heroine comic strips. However archeology has revealed to us types of Amazons where the women fought alongside their men. In ancient Persia for example, priestesses underwent training to fend off unwanted male attention. In Hindi myth there were the fierce battle maidens who rode in brass plated chariots. More recently there were the amazon guard of the African kingdom of Dahommey, braver and more skilled at fighting than their male counterparts.They were permitted to marry once they completed military service. The Sapphic connection to the ancient amazons though stems from the Ageane ilse of Lesbos being a focal point for the other amazonnian tribes

    • profile image

      Gadfly 2 years ago from Olde London Towne

      CORRECTION : should read the AEGEAN sea!

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 23 months ago from London England

      The premise of Wanda Von Kreesus in the Oh wicked Wanda comics was murdering her father to claim an inheritance and systematicly defeating as many males through sadistic torment and cruelty for her amusement. The only redeaming feature of this glossy porn strip was lampooning many of the world's corrupt politicians and tyrants of the era.

    • profile image

      Soyinka 23 months ago

      Nice work.....there is a need for more diversity in the world with so much intolerence

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 23 months ago from London England

      I think Wonder Woman's most redeming characteristic was that if she considered that an adversary she had triumphed over was worth rehabilitation then he would be conveyed to Transformation island to undergo reforming there.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 23 months ago from London England

      Error: redeming should read redeeming!

    • profile image

      Gadfly 22 months ago from Olde London Towne

      Lantokey has to go 'offline' forthwith as the name of his alter ego is the Intellectual Property of another writer. Bye for now.

    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 20 months ago

      Great info - I think, after reading this, I'd rather stick to the mainstream, powerful superheroes though lol. https://letterpile.com/books/Superman-vs-Incredibl...

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 18 months ago from London England

      The only female super hero's in comics during my adolescence were Wonder Woman and Batwoman. There was Lois Lane but she was as yet to be elevated to super status. Wonder Woman dominated with her own comic books whilst Batwoman seemed to be an adjunct of Batman comics. I never regarded W.W. as any one sensual, just doing her job in the cops n robbers genre. And. Wonder Woman evolved into the Wonder Woman saga. Getting back to Batwoman though i regarded her costume as a garment of particular sexuality. It was tight, shiny and came with a cape. The name Gotham City conjures up 'Gothique ness' as many lesbians are into the Goth with some Goths into the dominatrix scene.

    • rjbatty profile image

      rjbatty 18 months ago from Irvine

      I guess I'm old fashioned, but I do not see the need to deal with sexual issues in comic books. I started reading comics when I was about 12 years old -- about fifty years ago. No one way gay or bi-sexual. The entire issue was way off-course. Comics were then meant to be read by kids (such as myself) and we just wanted colorful characters beating up monsters. It was all really very simple.

      So, why introduce homosexuality or bi-sexuality into comics now? I suppose the publishers are doing this because 12-year-old kids are no longer reading comic books. The guys who visit their neighborhood comic book store all seem to be 40 or above.

      And so the publishers evolved to an older taste in comics, and it hasn't been pleasant.

      I do not personally care about a person's sexual orientation. I don't want to know. Think of how a gay parade would be handled in Russia. The gays would have the crap beat out of them.

      And what's the point? Do we have hetrosexual parades? No, we don't.

      Homosexuality in the US seems to have gone out of control. Gays are demanding an equal identity, marriage (outside most orthodox churches), and recognition in mainstream media. As a conservative, I say, go back into your closet. No one outside your own perverse community has any interest, and it's a mere irritation to the rest of the "normal" civilized world. Yes, I think homosexuality is abnormal -- something that went wrong at the time some poor thing had his/her DNA coded. Worse, I think that homsexuality unrestrained is causing some to question their orientation where they would not otherwise.

      If homosexuality were "normal," our species would not last long. The whole idea behind copulation is to bring offspring to the world. One guy sticking his penis into another man's rectum is not going to create new life. The same is true with a woman who likes to slather another woman's vagina. You aren't going to get children this way. The only ACTUAL reason for sex is procreation. The act itself is intentionally pleasurable, but only to make man-to-woman coupling as frequent as possible.

      So, if you are gay, fine. You aren't knocking at my door like the Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists, so for that I'm thankful. But, I'm not so happy with your infiltrating the mainstream. You can think what you like, but you are deviant. If you are happy living a deviant life, good luck to you.

      It's sad that the media has felt compelled to follow the homosexual bandwagon. I recognize that this deviate behavior exists, although I feel more comfortable just not to think about it. When media pushes this to the forefront, I quietly step aside because I'm not interested in the slightest.

      To gays and lesbians I would say this -- if you had to come out of the closet, fine, but don't think you can revolutionize a national culture. Never, never, think or accept yourself as anything but deviant because you are not. And please do not try to pollute the thinking of young people who have ambiguities about their sexuality. If you tease them into thinking that being a homosexual is just fine, you are committing a moral crime.

      Yes, my standpoint isn't politically correct for the time period, but I couldn't care less. I don't feel sorry for you. I don't care about you. I'd prefer that you vanished into the ether.

      Putting pressure on comic book publishers to show some kind of equal representation of your deviant community, is about the last straw. I'm sorry, but that's just the way I see it. Flame me as much as you like. It's not going to change my opinion.

    • profile image

      Gadfly 13 months ago from Olde London Towne

      Greetings my little Darklings

      Lantokey (correct spelling lantokay) is back on line after some inactivity. Sweet dreams !

      the gadfly

    • profile image

      Limpet 9 months ago

      Greetings my little Darklings

      Yes, i do like Batwoman for her 'gothique' overtones and the sinister plot lines. Where as Wonder Woman did happen to have popularity with girls and younger women as an inspiration and role model her sexuality was not that obvious. Modesty Blaise was a woman who enjoyed defeating males and romantic connotations emerged very rarely.

      sweet dreams!

    • profile image

      Gadfly 8 months ago

      Greetings Darklings!

      Just been visiting Elvira the Mistress of the Dark. Having got as far as the gate house the zombie in attendance ushered me to Elvira's dungeon and the sight of a laughing skeleton frightened the living wits out of me. Elvira's warning 'the foolhardy need not venture here.'

      Sweet dreams!

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