“We swear, he’s not bigoted, he just… plays a lot of video games…”

– Basically what Pal’s trying to explain in the last panel

Queer-coding has a very long history in our narratives, especially when it comes to creating our villains, and I’ve been trying to think of any major villains in the public consciousness that don’t have such strong coding. I’m not exactly an LGBT+ culture expert, so it’s possible I could be overlooking things, but Darth Vader probably came to mind first (as he tends to whenever people think about pop culture villains) as not having a lot of typically queer-coded attributes, though I would say his boss, Darth Sidious, fits the mold more closely with his flamboyance and thatricality. More recently, I don’t see much queer-coding going on with Thanos from the MCU, which I feel like makes sense, considering his characterization seems far more based on real-life religious ideologues than the “deviant outsider” sort of villainy (though that didn’t stop Claude Frollo from Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame from carrying some queer-coded qualities).

Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is another interesting example to mention – it’s not so much coded as outright stated that multiple characters are LGBT+ and this applies throughout the good-evil spectrum. Also of note, Hordak, the main villain of the first couple of seasons, didn’t seem to have the typical characteristics of a queer-coded villain either, though this changes later when the real villain of Horde Prime is introduced – who is both queer-coded himself (i.e. an effete, grandiose aristocrat archetype) and retroactively introduces queer-coding into Hordak’s backstory (being a “failed clone” of Horde Prime because he did not conform to the clone standards).

Anyway, I absolutely was not planning on this comic coming out during Pride Month, but it’s an interesting coincidence that it did.

– James