Monday, March 23, 2015

Coming out in comics: Maxima

Supergirl 40 (the new 52) is the last in the current series.  The last few issues have had Kara at Crucible Academy. a training school for super powered folk.  There she met people seen in previous DC continuities, including Comet (not a horse in this incarnation) and Maxima, who previously had been known as the woman searching the galaxies for a suitable male to mate with, so that she could repopulate her home planet.

In Supergirl 40 she comes out to Kara:
I think it's great we have another queer character in the DCU.  Maxima not liking men changes her history and motivations and experience quite a lot, and I'd really like to see that explored.  I'm just a little bit sad about the way it's been done.  I'm not having a dig at the creative team here - I think they were constrained by the series ending and so only had one page to show this, and it's better to canonically establish that Maxima is queer than not.

However, given the circumstances and the brevity of her coming out, it reads more like she's coming out to further Kara's story.  Take the bottom left hand panel,, Maxima says:
'I know nothing can convince you to stay, but I wanted to tell you this because you've given me hope for my future.  And that I thought you should know'.

It reminds of 90s films with queer characters, like Threesome, where the gay or bi ones came out and had their friends accept them, but never got together with anyone.  I remember watching Threesome with my straight friends and they thought it was sweet that the queer guys accepted their sexuality and that their straight friends accepted them.  They thought that was good and made it a positive film.  It's certainly better than films that condone homophobia, or ignore LGBT folk.  I disliked it because I wanted the queer guys to have the same as the het guys - a loving relationship and the ability to be themselves without fear.

This page in Supergirl reminds me of that film.  What about Maxima?  If she truly likes Kara in a  sexual way I can't see her (or anyone) just thanking their crush for being around and giving them a hug and being happy to say goodbye to them.  It's all rather chaste.  Maxima says:
"You're exactly the kind of person I envisioned being with and I didn't think that person existed until now".
If Kara represents that to her then I cannot understand why she's being so accepting of Kara leaving.  When I've crushed on straight friends it's been heartbreaking for me.

So on one level this scene works for me and another it doesn't.  I really hope it can be explored further down the line, perhaps when the Supergirl title is brought back after June.

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