The first time I picked up a comic book was in the middle of summer last year. The comic was called Young Avengers. I read the first few pages and needed more. So I immediately ran out and grabbed all of the other issues and read through as quickly as I could. I was surprised at how unafraid it was to explore topics that teenagers have trouble dealing with themselves including suicide, depression and sexuality. The last one is very important to me. In the first issue, there is a scene where two men are in a very explicit relationship with each other and in a later issue a woman talks about her sexual experiences with men before finding out that she was exclusively attracted to other women. Then David Alleyne came into the Young Avengers team and came out as bisexual.
David Alleyne was a former X-Men, and was one of the mutants who lost his powers in the Marvel comic event ‘House of M’ in which the Wanda Maximoff warped reality and depowered 99.9% of all mutants in the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately for David he was one of those who was deprived of what made him a mutant. Originally David was given the code name of Prodigy due to his power to absorb all knowledge from anyone who was he was in close contact with. Along the way, his mutant power also made him realize what his sexuality was.
David Alleyne impacted me in a way no other character has. For years, I’ve been consuming media wherein there is only heterosexual people and more recently homosexual people as well. I have never seen a bisexual character in any form of media where they explicitly say they are bisexual and it’s not just implied. I’ve had trouble with my own sexuality throughout my life and I felt as though something must have been wrong with me because I liked both men and women and I didn’t like either or the other. My friends kept asking what I was, if I was gay or straight because according to them there was no way I could like both genders.
When I finally discovered that there was such a thing as bisexuality, I was so relieved because now I could explain to my friends what I liked without them questioning me constantly. What I wanted to see now that I had defined myself was representation. I had never had that until David Alleyne came into my life. He called discovering his sexuality ‘an awakening’ and that ‘it was like realizing something was always true’ and that was exactly how I felt as well. It was so great to finally be represented and have someone I could relate too.
Soon after this, the character of Loki, predominantly featuring in the Thor comics was revealed as bisexual as well and I was overjoyed. Loki is one of Marvel’s most well-known villains and with his appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe he is even more in the public eye. David got attention in the issue wherein he revealed he was bi, but Loki had news sites talking about it for days, some denouncing it and others praising the decision. Loki is also part of the current iteration of the Young Avengers.
The Young Avengers have always had some sort of controversy following them. They were one of the first comic books aimed at young people where two of the main male characters had a romantic relationship with one another. These characters, Billy and Teddy, have survived to the current run of Young Avengers along with Kate Bishop, this team’s Hawkeye. This new team however, introduced many new characters to the team including America Chavez, Noh- Varr, Loki and David Alleyne. One of the most interesting things about this current Young Avengers team is that this is possibly the first all queer superhero team. America talks about how she dated a boy before she realized she was attracted to only women, Noh-Varr makes a passing comment on how he was on an exploratory ship and how the exploratory part has multiple meanings, after America makes a comment on how she ended up a stereotype. Loki explains how his culture does not share the same idea of sexual identity that our culture does before making a pass at David, and America tells Kate that she’s seen the way that Kate’s been looking at her and that Kate’s ‘not that straight’.
Regardless of the other members of the team, David Alleyne is very important, not just to me but to many other people as well. He has opened many minds to the idea of bisexuality and helped those who hadn’t come to terms and accepted it themselves. Representation in the media is very important and I’m so glad that the character of David Alleyne was created and his character grew to this stage and that I could be there to see it. I hope that because of this, there will be more representation and exploration of the various forms of sexuality in comics.