Ever since they made their debut in Young Avengers back in 2005, Wiccan and Hulkling have been queer darlings of the Marvel Comics Universe. The Young Avengers has consistently been one of the queerest, most well-written superhero teams in the Marvel Universe.
Wiccan (Billy Kaplan) is the superpowered child of Avengers Scarlet Witch and Vision. But because comics books are gonna comic book, he and his twin brother, Speed, exist more as reincarnated versions of Scarlet Witch’s children she lost. Wiccan has many of the same powers as his mother, Scarlet Witch, while his brother has the same powers as their uncle, Quicksilver.
Hulkling (Teddy Altman) is the son of the original Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell) and Skrull Princess Anelle. The Skrulls are an alien race of shapeshifters, so along with super-strength, Hulkling can also shapeshift. However, he didn’t find out much later in life that he was a Skrull until the Super-Skrull attacked his family and killed his adoptive mother in front of him.
While Northstar was Marvel’s first out gay superhero who also went on to have Marvel’s first on-page same-sex wedding, Wiccan and Hulkling have broken new ground. Not only are they Marvel’s premiere gay superhero couple, but they are now Marvel’s first married gay superhero couple.
One might think this isn’t a big deal in 2020, but it absolutely is. Wiccan and Hulkling didn’t even share their first on-page kiss until seven years after they debuted. Imagine if Spider-Man and Mary Jane just didn’t kiss for the first seven years of their relationship.
To be fair, the Young Avengers have had a very weird publication history: The squad became incredibly popular and then almost immediately they disappeared and were relegated to side-stories in Marvel Comics crossover events. The co-creator of Young Avengers, Jim Cheung, even once said, “The only reason that Wiccan and Hulkling haven’t kissed on panel yet is because there hasn’t been a moment where the story demands that they kiss.”
But, methinks more might’ve been at play. Superman and Lois Lane would never go seven years without kissing unless one of them was dead, or they were broken up.
In the current really big Marvel crossover event, Empyre, it is revealed Hulkling and Wiccan had gotten married prior to the issue. In a twist, Wiccan mentions he’d recognize “…the man I married”—which is the opposite kind of twist you’d expect for a beloved gay superhero couple. It’s a welcome change to the Bury Your Gays trope that hopefully kickstarts a new one: Marry Your Gays.
A version of this essay appeared on Medium. Ian Carlos Crawford grew up in southern New Jersey and, like most people from NJ, he graduated from Rutgers University. He then graduated from New School with an MFA in nonfiction writing. His writing has appeared on sites like Geeks Out, BuzzFeed, NewNowNext, and other random corners of the internet. He currently co-hosts a podcast about his favorite thing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called Slayerfest 98, and is shopping around his fiction manuscript.