Scott Pilgrim and the world of indie gay comic books

3.13.2009

By Noah Michelson


Up till this point we have only covered gays in superhero comics, and while superheroes are a large part of the comic community, there are plenty of other kinds of comic books -- especially ones that contain gay characters. This week we are focusing on independent comics, or "indies" as they are affectionately called. To be indie means you aren't -- or won't be -- published by a major comic company such as DC or Marvel. There are tons of smaller comic book companies, just like there are indie record labels in the music industry.

One of the most popular independent publishers is Oni Press, located in Portland, Oregon, and they are currently publishing one of the biggest hits in the indie comic scene, Scott Pilgrim. Of course there are plenty of lesbians in independent comics, and we will discuss them in the future (such as Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home), but this week we chose to focus on one character in specific from Scott Pilgrim, Wallace Wells.

Scott Pilgrim is a series of graphic novels, the fifth one just having recently come out, written by Bryan Lee O'Malley where the title character must face off against his new girlfriend's ex-boyfriends to win her heart. What makes this series so gay is not Scott himself, but his best friend, roommate and platonic bedmate, Wallace Wells (pictured above), who is in fact, gay. Wallace and Scott share a bed (and pretty much everything else) in their small apartment, and Wallace is rare in gay comic characters, in which he is young, confident and comfortable with who he is. Wallace steals away boyfriends as much as any other girl, and will more than brag about the next day. The film adaptation of the books, titled "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" begins shooting later this month in Toronto, where the books take place. Michael Cera will play Scott while it was recently announced that Kieran Culkin will play the role of Wallace. It's rare for a gay superhero to be represented in film, and even more so for a gay character from the indie comics world.

Scott Pilgrim is one of the best things happening not just in comic books right now, but books in general. It's funny and charming, and you should beat becoming a Bandwagon Betty by reading the books now before the film comes out later this year. It's not everyday that a comics reader can develop a crush on a character that doesn't have a spandex bulge the size of a baseball, and that is only one of the many reasons that Wallace Wells is a good role model for young comic lovers, and a nice change of pace in general, for gays in comics.

-- CHRISTOPHER RUDOLPH

Previously > Watchmen's queer(ish) universe

Tags: Popnography
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