5 Big Queer Takeaways From New York Comic Con 2019

Batwoman has ex-girlfriend drama, Wonder Woman has a lesbian bestie, and TV has its first trans woman wrestler.

Above: Meagan Tandy and Ruby Rose in Batwoman.

Geek culture just got a whole lot gayer. More than 200,000 fans of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and action flocked to the 14th annual New York Comic Con this past weekend, looking for sneak peeks and exclusive intel on their favorite heroes and superheroes. The event’s diverse offerings, most of which took place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, included plenty of activities with LGBTQ themes—panel discussions, meet-and-greets, cosplay celebrations—and out and proud actors and entertainers lent the affair a little extra queer wattage.

Star Trek: Discovery co-stars Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz spoke at the Star Trek Universe panel, comedian and actress Lea DeLaria (a.k.a. Carrie “Big Boo” Black from Orange Is the New Black) sat in the front row for comic-book icon Todd McFarlane’s presentation, and lesbian cartoonist Alison Bechdel was one of the inductees at the Harvey Awards Hall of Fame ceremony.

Cosplayers arrive for the third day of the 2019 New York Comic Con
Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images
A cosplayer at New York Comic Con 2019.

Meanwhile, Rosie Perez, who plays lesbian cop Renee Montoya in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie joined co-stars Margot Robbie, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, and Ella Jay Basco for a surprise appearance at the DC Entertainment autograph booth. Chad L. Coleman and Peter Macon, who play married couple Klyden and Lieutenant Commander Bortus on The Orville, were among the cast members on the show’s NYCC panel. And Charmed reboot star Melonie Diaz, who plays lesbian middle sister Melanie “Mel” Vera, hinted during her show’s panel that Mel might have a new love interest in its new season.

But that’s only the beginning. Here, five other queer revelations from NYCC 2019.

Batwoman’s closeted ex-girlfriend will struggle with her sexuality.

The CW’s Batwoman made its TV debut on October 6, and the show’s first episode was screened earlier that day at NYCC. It’s the first superhero series on a broadcast TV network to star an openly gay character: Kate Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, played by Ruby Rose. Meagan Tandy plays Sophie Moore, Kate’s ex-girlfriend who broke up with Kate while they were in military school during the “don’t ask, don’t tell” days. Kate got kicked out of the academy, and Sophie is now married to a man who’s not her beard. And how’s this for drama? Sophie—now working for Kate’s millionaire ex-military father—is a high-ranking agent at the Crows security firm, which protects the city of Gotham.

Kimberley French/The CW
Meagan Tandy in Batwoman.

Tandy told NewNowNext at NYCC that Sophie’s sexuality cannot really be defined, and viewers will get the full Kate-Sophie backstory proving that their relationship wasn’t just a fling. “They were in love,” Tandy said, adding, “You’re going to see Sophie trying to figure out what she wants to do. Does she want to go over here and be back with Kate, or does she do what the world wants so that she can keep her job? There’s going to be a lot of that up-and-down this entire season.”

TNT’s new Snowpiercer series will have a ton of sexual fluidity—and a rare TV performance of a Frank Ocean song.

The 1982 French graphic novel Le Transperceneige was the inspiration for the 2013 Snowpiercer movie and the upcoming TV series, which arrives next year. In it, post-apocalyptic survivors live, love, and fight on a train called Snowpiercer that is divided by social classes. One of the biggest differences between the TV series and the movie is that the series will have a lot more queer representation, according to a hint that showrunner Graeme Manson dropped on the Snowpiercer panel at NYCC.

Manson told viewers to expect polyamory since characters will be shedding the old mores of society. “Some people are beginning to cohabitate in groups with multiple partners,” Manson said. “It’s an evolution of human relationships, especially in this pressure situation.” And considering that the Snowpiercer train in the series will have more train cars than the one in the movie (1,001 to be exact), the story line possibilities seem endless. Snowpiercer’s TV cast includes Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, Tony winner Daveed Diggs, Steven Ogg, Alison Wright, and Mickey Sumner.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Sheila Vand, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner, Steven Ogg, Alison Wright, Jennifer Connelly, and Lena Hall attends the Snowpiercer press line during New York Comic Con at Hammerstein Ballroom on October 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for ReedPOP )
Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for ReedPOP
(L-R): Alison Wright, Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly, Mickey Sumner, Lena Hall, Steven Ogg, and Sheila Vand attend the Snowpiercer press line during New York Comic Con 2019.

The Snowpiercer team didn’t dish much on specific hookups and romantic relationships, only revealing that Diggs’ narrator character Andre Layton (leader of the train’s lowest class) is married to Zarah Ferami (Sheila Vand), who works in a higher-class section of the train. However, during a roundtable interview at NYCC, Diggs said, “There is sex and coupling, and how men and women, and men and men, and women and women find each other and are in love. Gender plays into that, and sexuality plays into that. In the same way that men and women and power dynamics are grappled with [in real society], they are grappled with on the train. The show is not trying to present any kind of normal, or trying to set up what the normative way of being is.”

Even though former Hamilton star Diggs (who plays a homicide detective on Snowpiercer) said he won’t be performing any music on the show, Broadway musical fans will squeal with joy to hear that Tony winner Lena Hall (Kinky Boots, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) will. She plays Miss Audrey, the psychic madam of the train’s cabaret-brothel, and one of the tunes she’ll belt out is a version of a Frank Ocean track. Manson wouldn’t divulge any more info, but said that Hall will croon some “terrific numbers.”

AfterShock Comics’ Kill a Man graphic novel series, about a gay MMA fighter, is coming next summer.

Kill a Man reunites writer Steve Orlando and artist Alec Morgan, who collaborated on the gay superhero Midnighter comic book series. This series, which will be co-written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, is the tale of a fictional mixed martial arts fighter, James Bellyi, who is outed by an opponent, shunned by his support system, and then ends up training with the man who killed his homophobic father.

Orlando, who is bisexual, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that Kill a Man is “a story I’ve wanted to tell since I broke into comics, to capture both the complicated internal and external struggle between identity, family expectation, society, and masculinity,” adding that he wanted his queer protagonist to “go on that heroes journey made famous by Rocky Balboa or Adonis Creed, and come out the [other] side stronger, find family where he had none, and pride where he had shame.”

Wonder Woman’s best friend in Bloodlines is not only queer, she’s polyamorous.

NYCC unveiled the world premiere of the direct-to-video animated film Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, which was released on digital video October 5, and is set for release on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on October 22. The Wonder Woman comic books have portrayed the sexuality of its titular heroine’s best friend Etta Candy in multiple ways (she’s been straight, she’s been queer), but in this feature she’s definitely written as a lesbian or queer woman.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
(L-R): Etta Candy, Wonder Woman, and Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.

In a scene in which Etta (voiced by Adrienne C. Moore) finds out that she, Wonder Woman (voiced by Rosario Dawson), and other allies will be going to Wonder Woman’s homeland of Themyscira (which is populated only by warrior females known as Amazons), Etta announces that she hopes the Amazons “like thick women.” In another scene later in the film, Etta is shown in a three-way relationship with two other Amazon women: She’s standing in the middle of them in a loving embrace, and they’re seen canoodling and nuzzling each other.

The trans breakout star of All Elite Wrestling says she’s sexually fluid.

All Elite Wrestling: Dynamite became a smash hit (it pulled in 1.4 million U.S. viewers) when it debuted on October 2 on TNT, easily beating USA Network’s WWE NXT (891,000 U.S. viewers) in the same time slot, according to Nielsen. Nyla Rose is currently the only openly trans woman wrestler starring on a major U.S. wrestling TV show, and she’s one of the few Native Americans (she’s from the Oneida tribe) to star in a wrestling TV show.

Rose brought a lot of sassy realness to the All Elite Wrestling panel at NYCC. When asked about how female wrestlers are role models for body positivity, she said, “I’ve never had a problem keeping a man or woman. Just because what’s beautiful to one person may not be to you, there’s no reason to tear somebody down for it. If it’s not your thing, keep it moving. Go find your thing.”

When asked how she felt after an announcer misgendered her at a recent AEW match, Rose replied, “These things happen. Cisgender people get misgendered all the time. Was it an intentional thing or a slip of the tongue? Who knows? I personally don’t think there was any maliciousness behind it. Everyone here [at AEW] has been super great and super respectful.”

Writer and editor whose work has appeared in AXS.com, Examiner.com, Lifetime, People, and Billboard.