Maggie Baska on representation and the power of superqueeroes

BY MAGGIE BASKA

The producer of the female-superhero hit ​Captain Marvel ​teased the prospect of a romance between the titular character and another queer comic character.

In a recent interview with Comicbook.com, producer Mary Livanos commented on the rising tide of fans who hope to see a blossoming romance between Brie Larson’s character and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, who was introduced in ​Thor: Ragnarok​.

She said it was fun to see the “Brie-Tessa Thompson love” going on online, referring to many a talented fan’s artistic representation of the couple.

Livanos said: “It’s so charming and so fun to see the actors themselves get excited about the potential mashup so that as a creative makes you start thinking.”

While both Thompson and Larson have engaged with their fan community and hinted at the possibility of the romance, Marvel has shied away from adding gay superheroes to their impressive roster of movies.

Valkyrie, Thompson’s character, was originally written as bisexual, but scenes in ​Thor: Ragnarok​ confirming her sexuality were cut from the final movie.

The first real whispers of queer representations in the Marvel-verse came in the recent Avengers: Endgame ​opening scene. Captain America listens on as a man describes his recent date with another man post the dissemination of half the universe by the villain Thanos.

As a Marvel fan, this was my first glimpse of queer recognition by the comic creators I grew up loving. I collected Iron Man memorabilia growing up, and I religiously watched every movie that came out regardless of my dislike of certain characters (​Guardians Of The Galaxy, I’m looking at you).

Marvel has been the beacon of diversity and inclusion geeks over the past decade. They smashed box office charts and stereotypes with the first black superhero film ​Black Panther​, and they helped more girls see themselves as heroes with ​Captain Marvel​.

But Marvel keeps falling flat on LGBTQI+ representation, while hinting at the prospect of introducing queer characters in the future.

In an interview with ​Deadline magazine, ​Avengers: Endgame d​irector Joe Russo, who played the “grieving man” at the counselling group with Captain America, said the movie was the “perfect time” to introduce their first LGBT+ character “because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel Universe moving forward is its focus on diversity”.

But many fans, like myself, remain disappointed with the lack of queer characters and the continuous baiting that “in the future” Marvel may be more representative.

DC is already pulling ahead of their competitor by producing the ​Batwoman ​series with US television channel CW. The show centres around the adventures of Kate Kane, an out lesbian who fights social injustice and Gotham’s bad guys as Batwoman.

The fact that Kate’s sexuality is made explicit in the series is refreshing. It is taking steps to normalise same-sex relationships through the media, and it means that little girls who look up to these heroes may finally see someone like them.

It is time for Marvel to stop baiting their films with promises of LGBTQI+ inclusion and actually goes forward with driving inclusion. It is time for them to lead the way. It’s time to bring a gay hero to the big screen so children can see that heroes can be any sexuality.

@MaggieBaska

Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors of DIVA magazine or its publishers.

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