At AfterElton.com, Francois Peneaud and the Gay League‘s Joe Palmer provide a solid snapshot of the state of gay and lesbian characters in mainstream comics, from Marvel’s recent missteps over its MAX rating to DC’s much-publicized introduction of a lesbian Batwoman:
Each company has a rating system somewhat analogous to the one used for movies. X-Men, Young Avengers and Runaways are given a PG equivalent, while only Marvel Team-Up is rated G. A few DC titles are rated G with a seal of approval, while a majority carry no label. Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man are for mature readers.
Same-sex couples kiss in titles from both publishers, but intimate scenes, both sexual and nonsexual, appear only in DC titles. Marvel’s G-rated comic hasn’t shown physical affection, and it remains unexplained why Marvel has not used the “Adults Only” label to its advantage.
Writers such as Andreyko and Heinberg raise the standard for writing gay characters. Diversity also comes from gay-friendly writers like Brian Vaughn (Runaways, Y, Ex Machina) and Greg Rucka (Gotham Central, 52). Their works make up for badly conceived ideas and poor writing that can smack of tokenism.
Although most of the article focuses on DC and Marvel, the last part makes mention of works like Hopeless Savages, A Distant Soil and Love & Rockets, and gay and lesbian creators like Alison Bechdel and Tim Fish.