Character: David Alleyne aka Prodigy
Young Avengers Volume 2
So a lot of people might not know much about David Alleyne, he played a moderately important part in various X-men storylines, specifically as a member of the New Mutants and the New X-men. David’s mutant powers consisted of the ability to telepathically absorb the knowledge and skills of those around him. However, David lost his powers after M-Day. Instead of leaving the X-Men, David continued to work with them until he was recruited by Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) to lead the young new X-men on the island of Utopia. After Cyclops and Wolverine parted ways, David stayed on Utopia and led the team until it’s destruction.
That’s where Young Avengers picks up, with David dealing with the fallout of Scott and Logan’s breakup and the destruction of his home. During his time with the New Mutants he dated fellow teammate Surge, but their relationship fell apart and David still feels the ramifications of leaving her and his team.
That’s why I really loved David, he had this really great backstory that just spoke of internal strife and conflict. In his main issue (#6, the art done beautifully by Kate Brown) David speaks of his frustrations with the adult figures that act as the leaders and face of mutants. Even without knowing his full background, Gillen creates this really wonderful picture of a young man dissatisfied and betrayed by the adults in his life.
Then comes the reveal; where David flatout says “I’m bi.” Recently there’s been a lot of dissatisfaction and controversy over the fact that even the most diverse shows (like Orange is the New Black, How To Get Away with Murder, and Gotham) refuse to outright say that a character is bisexual. There’s lots of hemming and hawing, side steps, and hoops jumped through to avoid simply saying the word. This is incredibly frustrating. So when I read that panel, my heart jumped.
David is extremely important to representation. He’s an openly bisexual man of color. I can count the number of openly bisexual characters I know of on one hand. I could extend it to two hands if I include all the characters that are bi, but refuse to acknowledge it within the show, book, or movie of choice. So David just outright saying it? Extremely important. David outright saying it and being a man of color? Be still my queer little heart, I might faint.
David got a really bad treatment by Young Avengers fans, but he’s truly an amazing and thoroughly important character in fictional media for representation. He needs more fans, period. He’s a great character with a lot of layers and history. I hope he’s a part of the future Young Avengers whenever another team picks the title up again, because I want to see more of David Alleyne—non-superpowered intellectual powerhouse.
Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth, Image
I, myself, am not bisexual. However, this series bravely tackles a lot of the haziness and questions many strong women face when they are cornered into labeling their sexuality. Dex Parios is a hard hitting, foul mouthed Private Detective in Portland, Oregon. Like me, she drives a classic car that runs about half the time, in the city where I live, living off freelance cash. And here I was thinking I was the only lady in the PDX area who conceal carried a gun.
Reluctant to define her sexuality, it becomes clear through the series that Dex has had an array of love interests including both male and female genders. However, as is often the case in life—and the way it should be, I believe—Dex shelves the direct questions regarding her defined sexualities and eclipses the notions with life responsibilities, action, and general mischief. All in all, I feel Rucka did a fantastic job with this character and approached the subject with an art that does what good writing should do: made it feel like real life and not like a sitcom complete with explanation and links to Bi-Sexual Awareness Hotlines at the end.
— Chelsea Ann
A Distant Soil
I like how creator Colleen Doran handles Seren’s sexuality. I appreciate the complex ways in which his relationships are handled; one for love with the male D’Mer and another for lust with bold shape-shifting female Bast. It’s refreshing to read his story, where sex is one aspect of his character but even that aspect is artfully layered. Not too shabby for the late 90s.
Bling! (a.k.a Roxanne Washington)
Terry Dodson, Marvel
Bling isn’t one of the most well known X-men members, but her few appearances have always stood out for me. The daughter of two famous rap artists, Roy “Daddy Libido” Washington and Angel “Sexy Mutha” Depres, she’s a relative newcomer to the X-Men universe, first appearing as a member of Gambit’s squad (the Chevaliers) in 2005’s X-men #171. During this story arc, she comes out as bisexual after admitting that it wasn’t just Gambit who was attracted to Foxx. She’s smart, funny, and at times incredibly awkward—all of which make her a downright relatable character. Even though she’s not one of the big stars of the X-Men universe, she’s always been someone I would want to have in my corner.
Unfortunately, the newest X-Men run, written by Brian Wood, has turned her into a textbook example of bi-erasure. She’s currently in a relationship with Mercury but is only ever referred to as a lesbian, not as a bisexual. Just another way in which Brian Wood’s X-men run has let me down.
Loki: Agent of Asgard
I realize the God of Mischief and Lies may not be the best representative of bisexuality, but Loki is interesting, sexuality-wise. While I think the only record in comics of him hitting on a man was Prodigy in the Young Avengers, the legends his character is based on are full of oddness. He is the father of Fenrir the wolf, Jörmungandr the World Serpent, and the goddess Hel, but is the mother of Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged steed. Sometimes he’s a woman. Loki has been a child twice, and is now a young adult. He has a wife he seems to detest and is not the man he used to be.
Agent of Asgard writer Al Ewing has promised to explore Loki’s bisexuality in the new series, and that’s amazing. This is already a comic written and drawn with attention to the female gaze, and I have faith that the creative team will handle the trickster god to transgress that line well. It’s important to show his emotional and physical connection with another male character for him to be a fully realized bisexual in this context.
While Tom Hiddleston has brought fans out to the movie versions, I doubt we’ll be seeing his Loki locking lips with a dude in any official movies. The comic character is a different persona: still mischievous, somewhat redeemed, but younger in every sense. The version of Loki in Loki: Ragnarok and Roll strutted through a shower scene as well, but he was drawn in a way that emphasized his muscles and height. Each of these Lokis are different, which is perfect.
Getting back to this Loki’s conversation with Prodigy for a moment—Loki explicitly states that he doesn’t have the same concept of sexual identity as we do, that there are only sexual acts. Does that erase his identity as a bisexual person? How much do we read into his switching gender at times? What sexual acts is he a patron of? How much more can I want to see this?
I get that a lying villain with a slender build and a sharp wit is the obvious choice for a bisexual male character, but Loki already has a stake in the identity game. He’s (maybe) trying to be a good guy now (sorta), and part of that struggle should be with all aspects of him as Loki figures out who he wants to be. Loki has a strong sense of self despite his fluid form and changing gender, and that reads as queer to me.