IN A SEPTEMBER 2016 INTERVIEW with comicosity.com, Wonder Woman writer Greg Rucka revealed that everyone’s favorite Amazon is “obviously” queer. The Internet collectively stumbled over itself to report — read: shout from the rooftops — that Wonder Woman is canonically gay, although Rucka was quick to state clearly that the concept of “gayness” cannot exist in an all-female society like Themyscira. Wonder Woman is not a lesbian, and she may not even be bisexual. She just isn’t straight.
If you feel the need to fire off an angry comment about how unsurprising Rucka’s revelation is, I urge you to pause for a moment. Consider what comicosity.com’s Matt Santori-Griffith writes about how we perceive and process non-heterosexuality in fictional characters. He quotes Son of Baldwin to say: “‘the heterosexist gaze that denies any queerness that isn’t spelled out by an oral declaration or visible sexual intercourse’ is a dangerous trap for [all] readers.”
And he’s right. We refuse to let go of our heteronormative assumptions until we are forced to do so. Some Harry Potter fans still can’t fathom that Dumbledore is canonically gay, even after J.K. Rowling’s refusal to budge on his sexuality and textual evidence proving that, yes, she had it in mind before she knew that anyone would care.
So, yes, Wonder Woman is not straight, and never has been. Anyone who says otherwise, at this point, is willfully ignorant.
It’s important that we don’t let ourselves get so caught up in the Wonder Woman fury that we forget about all the other LGBTQ comic book heroines out there. Wonder Woman doesn’t have a steady girlfriend just yet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fantastic, feminist power-couples out in the world of ink and panels.
Check out my two favorite LGBTQ comic book couples below, and be sure to promote your favorites as well. Remember: the best way to show publishers that you want diverse literature is to buy it and talk it up to everyone you know.
Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn
Harley Quinn’s relationship with the Joker might be totes problematic, but her partnership with Poison Ivy is solid. As Movie Pilot’s Eleanor Tremeer points out, “[e]ver since they first met in Batman: The Animated Series, the terrible twosome have been close friends.”
Much like Wonder Woman’s sexuality, the nature of Harley and Ivy’s relationship has been an open secret in the comic book community for years. In 2015, the DC Twitter account confirmed that the duo were “Girlfriends [sic] without the jealousy of monogamy.” And finally, in DC Bombshells No. 42, Harley and Ivy shared their first on-page kiss.
Not only do these two Gotham baddies represent a same-sex* relationship, but they also serve as a pretty good model for open partnership. Both are free to pursue romance and sexual gratification with other people, and, so long as both women remain informed and happy, that’s OK.
Amira and Sadie, Princess Princess
Haven’t heard of Princess Princess? You aren’t alone. Katie O’Neill’s webcomic just got a print edition from Oni Press in September 2016.
The story opens as sword-wielding Princess Amira rides up to the tower in which the jaded Princess Sadie is trapped. Of course, Sadie has seen this all before, and no one ever succeeds. None of the princes, anyway. But Amira, of course, is no prince.
In fact, she’s not even that much of a princess. After she learned that life in her parents’ court would mean marrying one of the princes who came to call — none of whom did more than bore her — and serving her kingdom by uniting it with another in marriage, Amira took her unicorn steed, Celeste, and rode away to live a life of adventures.
As it turns out, Amira’s success at rescuing Sadie had less to do with her skills as a hero than with the fact that Sadie didn’t sabotage her attempt, as she did the princes’. You see, Sadie has been kept in her tower prison by her sister’s threats and bullying, but her budding relationship with Amira emboldens her to overcome everything that has held her back.
Princess Princess doesn’t just offer up a same-sex princess power couple. It also provides a reading experience that is actively body-positive, pro-woman, and anti-toxic-masculinity, written for an all-ages audience. At under 100 pages, it’s a concise coming-of-age story that proves everyone has what it takes to be a hero.
Wonder Woman has been paired with Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Steve Trevor, Trevor Barnes, and even Nemesis, but the women she has loved remain largely anonymous. Rucka’s affirmation of Wonder Woman’s sexuality is great, but it’s only one part in the fight, incomplete without a prominent, canonical girlfriend for the Amazonian warrior princess.
*Because Harley is bisexual — or possibly pan — to label her relationship with Ivy as “lesbian” is an exercise in bi-erasure.