Welcome to the first episode of ComicsVerse’s Gender Podcast! Hosted by Molly, Merlin, and Marius, three trans-and/or non-binary creators, this podcast project deals with issues of gender roles, gender (re-)presentation, gender nonconformity and the transgender experience through a critical lens of the gender binary paradigm.

In this first episode, we focus on gender and superheroes. Superheroes embroil themselves in hypermasculine heroic ideals, and recent discussions of proper depictions of female superheroes in comics and related media give great insight into how our society conceptualizes gender as binary. Interestingly enough, the genre still appeals to many LGBTQ+ people as it also offers the potential for excellent queer headcanons and readings.

Is the industry successful at subverting its traditionally gendered tropes? We talked about recent attempts at gender nonconformity in mainstream superhero comics –- and about the response of its customer base. In an in-depth discussion on SUPERGIRL Vol. 7 #19 by Steve Orlando, Vita Ayala, and Jamal Campbell, we took a closer look at one recent instance of explicit non-binary representation in a superhero comic. Does the book succeed at accurately portraying what life beyond the gender binary can look like?

But what does it even mean to represent gender in media accurately? How is androgyny portrayed and thought of? These questions allowed us to explore the issue of stereotypes. In addition, we discussed the accusation of stereotyping as a trans/non-binary person. We offered some of our thoughts on what responsible representation looks like – and what to pay attention to.

The way superhero characters deal with, admire or subvert stereotypical masculinity often reflects experiences from our own lives as queer people. In a short discussion of the popular anime MY HERO ACADEMIA, we investigated how masculinity, heroism and role models often work together in the genre.

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