Lesbian comic book characters, as drawn by dudes


This week’s New York Times Book Review featured a piece on Jaime Hernandez‘s work on his comic books featuring lesbian character Hopey Glass. The reviewer starts out by discussing The Education of Hopey Glass:

Hopey’s in her 40s now, and over the next few pages Hernandez makes it clear that the impulsive insouciance that made her so charming in her early 20s has gotten her nothing but an ant-infested home and a long-suffering girlfriend.

Yikes, ants! I’m sure a lot of us can identify with the “long-suffering girlfriend” part, at least.

Hopey is one of Hernandez’s long time characters featured in his widely loved comic, Love and Rockets. Another is bisexual Mexican-American Maggie, Hopey’s sometimes best friend, and sometimes lover (Who says men don’t grasp lesbian relationships?).

Inspired by Hernandez, Adrian Tomine is a comic artist who has created a great Asian-American lesbian character. Originally featured in his series Optic Nerve, Alice Kim is the best friend to his protagonist, Ben, in the 2007 book, Shortcomings. She’s the perfect sarcastic foil to Ben, who is a hopeless romantic. Alice is just hopeless, but hilarious. Sample Alice line: “My goal is to at least make out with a hundred girls by the time I get my PhD.”

Perhaps the most famous lesbian characters of late are DC Comics’ Batwoman and her on-and-off again love, The Question. Unfortunately, Batwoman seems to be kind of closeted, and it’s hard to tell if their relationship will ever go anywhere.

While these men are putting their best hand-drawings forward, they still don’t quite have the three-dimensional approach to a queer woman’s mind like Alison Bechdel and Paige Braddock do. Will they ever be able to, or is it inevitable they will always come up short? Doesn’t it count for something that they are at least trying to be inclusive?

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