Having Sex

In Batwoman #4, by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer have sex. On-panel.

Very, very on-panel.

In Avengers Academy #23, by Christos Gage, Tom Raney, and Scott Hanna, two characters have a long conversation about sexual identity, sexual abuse, and coming out. It is a thoughtful conversation, age-appropriate for the characters, and does a lot for the plot and the book as a whole.

I loved both of these issues this month. I love both of these titles. I thank the creators for these scenes. I read these issues with a sense of triumph and glee, a sort-of fist-pump of joy.

Immediately followed by rage.

I spend a lot of time thinking about talking about the things I love in comics. And, I do love comics. Nothing I didn’t love could hurt quite the way comics hurts. I’ve been reading comics for twenty-five years. The character of Northstar came out around twenty years ago. And I cannot recall a scene in which two female characters have sex because they are gay and they want to in mainstream Marvel and DC titles.

Note that caveat. I’ve seen female characters make out because they were mind-controlled, I’ve seen them slink all over each other in fantasy scenes, I’ve seen heterosexual couples have sex this graphically on-panel, I’ve seen post-coital men in bed with each other, I’ve seen women as slaves and objects do all manner of sexualized things in the edges of the panels.

I am very glad to have these two issues of these books out this month. I think Gage’s Avengers Academy is one of the most thoughtfully-written titles out there. I think Batwoman is startling in its plots, its violence, and its themes and I am very glad of it. I am also resentful and angry to be so grateful.

Sometimes, getting what I want simply reminds me how long the wait has been. And how little I have.

Thank you, Marvel and DC, for … Batwoman. And Avengers Academy.

by Sigrid

Email: sigrid @ fantasticfangirls.org
Twitter: sigridellis

  • Sam

    I’m really glad to hear that there was actual lesbian sex on panel that wasn’t exploitative or based on mind control. I looked at some scans of the scene, and the art style really put me off. It’s funny, because I’ll watch television for sweeps lesbians, but I still can’t bring myself to buy a book with artwork I don’t like, even if there are finally finally lesbians having consensual lesbian sex.

    I think the important point here is what you said about waiting so long and having so little. If I don’t like the art of, say, Aquaman, I’m not bereft of positive heterosexual relationships in my comic reading. This is a good start, I hope the publishers/creators keep the ball rolling.

  • Sigrid

    @Sam Dude, the art looks like the movie Bound. For serious.

    But, yes. I find I can’t untangle the joy from the frustration.

  • Sam

    @Sigrid Hah! What I saw didn’t evoke Bound for me. Maybe it looks Bound-ier in hard copy? Or better-than-a-scan quality? Because if we’re talking Bound, well…

    I find that frustration in almost every form of media that I consume. People wonder why I get so angry at the shows I watch/love or the video games I’m obsessed with… same thing, really. I’m tired of being thrown a bone every once in awhile and having people think I should be grateful for whatever little thing I get.