This is Leave Your Spandex @t the Door, and this is NOT The Mainstream Comic Book World’s First Gay Kiss.
Despite the current media frenzy (covered over at Rich’s BleedingCool, which gave me the impetus to write this reply) around Shatterstar and Rictor finally going public in last week’s X-Factor #45 (yay!), we actually got our first peek at a gay kiss on-panel in Marvel Comics, oh… 8 years ago!
In X-Force #118 (boy, those muties sure are queer), cover-dated September 2001, the gay mutant Bloke kisses his boyfriend goodbye before heading out to what would prove to be his last mission.
“Who is Bloke?”
Obviously, he’s the big muscly PINK one.
Bloke was created by Pete Milligan and Mike Allred for their ground-breaking X-Force run in the early noughties. FYI, X-Force was also the first Marvel title to drop the Comics Code Authority (the comics censorship organisation, basically) back then, after their qualms with the content of the first few issues, soon leading to the entire line of Marvel Comics abandoning the conservative and irrelevant rating system for their own content labeling. But I digress.
The character was introduced only an issue prior to the above scene, in X-Force #117. The X-Force leaders had released a media junket with the new team roster, after the previous team didn’t manage to survive their premiere issue. As you’ll notice below, Pete Milligan was being extra-subtle during the character’s introduction.
Although Big Bulky & Pink only managed to last two issues on the title (which at the time, considering X-Force’s mortality rate, was quite an achievement), he had several on-panel memorable moments. Either speaking up for gay mutant rights…
…or attempting to warm himself up to his teammates.
Note in both scenes Bloke’s teammates: the homophobic originally Eminem-based hip hop white trash mutant Phat, as well as the repressed bookworm savage Vivisector. These two developed impressively during the series. They outed themselves as a couple to the media as a ruse to improve their dropping Q ratings, although the ruse evolved into… something more in the title’s closing issue #129 and Marvel’s first and only gay sex scene (or post-coital scene if you want to be pedantic about it):
The original artwork by Duncan Fegredo for this scene proudly hangs on the wall of private collection. 🙂
Duncan Fegredo and series writer Pete Milligan were also responsible for the first mainstream comics ON-panel gay superhero sex scene , in Vertigo’s classic Enigma series from the 90s (Vertigo Comics), approaching issues of identity and sexuality in a controversial and unconventional way.
So, there you have it, an improptu history of gay mainstream comics sex and a eulogy to Marvel proudest fag, may he rest in ink:
Please leave your comments below or on Twitter @manolis / @comicsnexus
For the full story on Bloke and X-Force, read X-Force: Famous, Mutant and Mortal from Marvel Comics in hardcover or soft cover. Also: Enigma from Vertigo.
Dr Manolis Vamvounis
Tags: Vertigo, X-Men