Welcome to another first installment of “Gay of the Week,” where we highlight LGBT characters in film, television, comics, anime, and video games. This week, we’ll be highlighting not just one individual, but an entire superteam of teens. Yes, we’re talking about Marvel’s Young Avengers.
The team debuted in 2005, after being created by out writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung. The original run won a GLAAD media award for Outstanding Comic Book, after outing the team’s gay couple Wiccan and Hulkling. The original run ended in 2012 with “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade.” After which, the original team disbanded.
In 2013, the series was relaunched by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Jamie McKelvie. This most-recent run did a lot of shake-ups to the team. The biggest shake-up being the sexuality of the team members. Here, we’ll be highlighting each member and discuss their place on the current team, as well as their place in LGBT culture.
Wiccan: Billy Kaplan is the kinda-sorta son of the Scarlet Witch (long story). Inheriting his mother’s magical abilities, he joined the original Young Avengers team, taking on the codename “Asgardian” as a way to downplay those powers. Fan’s speculated about his relationship with team-member Hulkling, and the two came out about the same time Billy came out as a magic user. The two became one of Marvel’s foremost gay couples (As the two said, “We can’t let Northstar have all the fun.”), and are currently engaged.
Speed: Tommy Shepard is the other kinda-sorta son of the Scarlett Witch (long story). The two brothers only met for the first time after Billy joined the Young Avengers, and the team was looking to recruit other members. Being a little bit of a bad-boy, the team found Tommy locked up in a juvenile detention center. While Tommy didn’t inherit his mother’s magic like Billy, he seems to have inherited the speed of his uncle, Quicksilver. While not gay himself, Tommy is very supportive of Wiccan and Hulkling’s relationship.
Hulkling: Teddy Altman joined the original team alongside his boyfriend, Wiccan. While he looks like a younger, hipper version of the Hulk, Teddy’s actual power is shapeshifting. This is thanks to his half-Skrull heritage, which he unfortunately finds out when a Super Skrull attempts to abduct him from the Young Avengers team. Teddy is also half-Kree, and the son of the original late Captain Marvel. While he has two different alien empires ready for him to take on a leadership role, Teddy has decided to stay on Earth, with his team of friends, and now-fiance, Billy.
That’s it for today! Stay tuned tomorrow for part two, as we round out the cast.
Do you have an idea for a character to be featured here? Let us know in the comments!