Suicide Squad hits theaters next month, and we’re counting on it to deliver on the promise of the trailer: an explosion of screwed up sycophants, and Margot Robbie’s terrifying incarnation of notorious criminal Harley Quinn, who appears as bisexual in the comics.
Queerness has been villainized for decades in popular films, television, and books. Giving children’s antagonists “gay-sounding” or English voices is extremely common, and extremely intentional: think of Scar in The Lion King, or of Jafar in Aladdin.
In his documentary Do I Sound Gay?, filmmaker David Thorpe explains this phenomenon.
“Films need villains,” Thorpe told Vice. “And for a very long time, the effete, aristocratic, effeminate man was the villain.”
The queer villain appears not just in cartoons, but in Hollywood as well – for example, All About Eve’s Addison DeWitt or Norman Bates in Psycho. But why?
“The central subject of a lot of movies is the marriage plot,” explained Thorpe. “Gay men stand outside that agenda—or at least they did…”
Comic books are no exceptions to the historically queer bad guy. Except there, many of our monsters are nuanced, complex… sometimes jumping over to the good side at the last minute. Sometimes going straight for a while. Sometimes remaining to fluid to fit into any real box.
We’ve collected our favorite non-hetero public enemies into one evil list.
Yes, she’s smitten with The Joker’s murderous mug. But Harley Quinn doesn’t reserve her affection for mad men. In Harley Quinn #15 it came out that she had a romantic relationship with fellow super villain Poison Ivy.
The Piper first shows up in The Flash Volume 1, #106, as a creepy bad guy in a green cloak, but it’s not until later on, when he’s turned to good, that we find out he’s gay.
Javier Bardem’s toothless terrorist role in Skyfall was incredibly frightening, and showed a complex character that had gone from MI6 darling to trigger happy hacker boss. But what made him most interesting was his subtle coming on to James Bond during an interrogation in the film.
Wolverine’s son Daken is certainly a real sight to behold, with that unabashedly unironic shoulder tattoo and daring undercut. His superpower? He can release pheromones to make anyone fall in love with him. And you thought you could never love someone with a mullet.
Cruella De Ville
Yes, we know she’s not gay. But her spotted coats are so fabulous and she’s so dang evil. Plus, drag queens the world over have modeled their style on her. So she’s in.
He’s got the monstrous body of a wrestler and he wears a black cloak and a noose. Not exactly the most inviting of the Watchmen crew, but definitely one of the gayest – part of his character bio is he’s likes having “rough sex with young men.”
He wasn’t gay, but he played gay in order to kill prostitutes. And he became something of a gay sex symbol by the time his season of American Horror Story was over. And sometimes that’s enough to get on a list of gay villains.
Everyone’s favorite lady in leather was revealed to be bisexual in Catwoman #39. Our favorite version of her is still Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises. We don’t care if her Oscars speech was annoying. We! Love! Anne!