In 2016, WONDER WOMAN writer Greg Rucka confirmed that Wonder Woman is queer. How could she not be? Rucka reasons that because Wonder Woman hails from the homosocial Paradise Island, a veritable Lesbos, she must be queer.Unfortunately, since WONDER WOMAN’s advent in the 1940s, her queering is mostly left to subtext. Luckily, there are more queer characters in comics coming out every year. One comic featuring canonically queer wonder women is Kat Leyh’s webcomic SUPERCAKES.

What’s So Important About Queer Super Women?

The inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in comics isn’t superfluous. Comics creators play an essential role by giving voice to LGBTQ+ characters. I, for one, am always on the lookout for comics featuring the lighthearted side of queer love. I want to see comics that reflect the positive sides of queer identities like my own.

Lucky for me, Kat Leyh, current writer for BOOM! Studios’ series LUMBERJANES, often highlights LGBTQ+ characters in her comics. Her unique and lovable characters give new life to the superhero genre. Leyh’s heroines are dynamic, nuanced. As a result, they add depth to the ways LGBTQ+ characters appear in comics.

SUPERCAKES
Image courtesy of Kat Leyh.

SUPERCAKES does not tiptoe around homosexuality. The webcomic presents a tender look at Leyh’s “super girlfriend” leads Molly “Mo” LaMarck, AKA Shift, and May Ai, AKA Tank. Possibly the cutest superhero couple on the internet, Mo can shapeshift into a gaseous form, and May has super strength. Racial, gender, and body diversity are obvious positives of the comic. 

LUMBERJANES Vol. 7 Review: Paw-sitively Adorable

SUPERCAKES: Super Girlfriends

One of the most charming aspects of Leyh’s comic is the focus on intimacy between her leads. The first vignette, “Pancakes,” opens with May making pancakes for diminutive Mo. The charming duo turns gender norms on their head, the femme May towering over androgynous Mo.

Instead of keeping the love affair covert, Leyh’s heroines are fairly normal, for superheroes. Mo and May discuss their relationship and then get the bad guy. Instead of superpowers serving as a metaphor for (unspoken) queerness, Mo and May are out and proud queer women. Their badass powers are an added bonus. 

SUPERCAKES
Image courtesy of Kat Leyh.

Super Family

Leyh’s lovable heroines adorably demonstrate respectful and positive queer family life. In the vignette “Meet the Family,” Mo meets May’s extended family for Thanksgiving. Everyone in May’s family is either queer, superpowered, or both. What’s charming about the Ai family is not that their powers, but the safe space they create for queerness.

Leyh takes the family gathering as an opportunity to experiment with what it means to be “out.” Mo does not want to reveal her powers to the family right away, but one cousin happens to notice Mo’s abilities. There’s no hiding that Mo and May are an item, but the family lets Mo reveal her powers at her own pace. As a result, the scene models how the family should treat one another, regardless of identity.  

Unlike Wonder Woman, who leaves Paradise Island primarily to save a man, May and Mo create their own paradise in the real world. Moreover, instead of working in traditionally female-dominated fields (like Wonder Woman who becomes a secretary by day), Mo is a successful scientist, and May is an interpreter. SUPERCAKES gives readers queer women who push the boundaries of social expectations of classic gender roles.

6 LGBTQ+ Comic Creators You Should Be Reading

Super Art

Although great characters are not predicated on great art, it is helpful. And Leyh’s style heightens the joyfully queer identities of her characters. Like most superheroes, Mo and May have their hallmark colors: “Tank” is always in army green and “Shift” is in a fiery red. Mo’s alter ego, in particular, is very queer. She literally changes state on a regular basis, from solid to gas, allowing a mutable aspect of her identity to shine through.

SUPERCAKES
Image courtesy of Kat Leyh.

May, whose body dominates the frame, is generally a more steady person. Her family built a safe place for her identity. She knows how to make things safe for others. And Leyh draws her accordingly. The comic tends towards a light green color, allowing May’s persona and energy to ground the comic.

However, Leyh always includes her sense of humor. For example, in “Bad Weather” May wears a cupcake beanie over her superhero uniform, effectively “queering” the required superhero costume. Instead of the impractical uniforms of many female superheroes before her, May foregoes tradition and opts for the cute hat. 

Leyh’s comic combines remarkable detail and gorgeous colors. Her frames are irregular, but the line work deliberately captures Mo’s floating form and May’s power. Out of their superhero forms, Mo and May are as cute as can be. Regardless of the comic’s narrative direction, the artwork is outstanding.

LUMBERJANES #41 Review: At Camp… Forever??

Super Comic

Representing healthy LGBTQ+ relationships, whether they be romantic, platonic, familial, or just out in the world, is an important task. Luckily, even in mainstream comics, queer characters are showing up more often (and not just as the bad guys). However, few have come close to the Leyh’s sweet, super girlfriends. Although the series is short, I’m hoping for more from Leyh’s two heroines. In any case, SUPERCAKES is a comic you can read over and over again.  

SUPERCAKES
Image courtesy of Kat Leyh.

To see more from Kat Leyh, support her work here.

One Comment

  1. […] 17 strong LUMBERJANES issues, Stevenson turned the helm over to SUPERCAKES creator Kat Leyh. Many lamented the change. But Stevenson followed the spirit of her characters by boldly and […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *