June 16, 2021

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Marvel Marks Pride Month with Black Cat’s First Same-Sex Kiss

Marvel Comics recently revealed antihero the Black Cat is canonically bisexual, with Pride Month seeing her first on-panel same-sex kiss.

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Black Cat #7!

Marvel Comics has marked Pride Month by giving Black Cat her first on-panel same-sex kiss. Recent stories have confirmed that superhuman burglar the Black Cat is bisexual, referencing a past relationship with rival Odessa Drake, but Black Cat #7 sees the two share a passionate kiss after an adventure in which Black Cat defeated their former mentor the Black Fox, who sold Manhattan to the demonic Gilded Saint in exchange for immortality.

The road to Felicia’s canon sexuality has been long. She was first shown in a same-sex relationship in the alternate MC2 timeline, and one line of dialogue in the Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil That Men Do miniseries hinted she’d dated women in the past. The last Black Cat comic run introduced an old “friend” of Felicia’s named Tamara Blake, and in 2020’s Black Cat #10 the two women held hands under a table in a romantic moment. More recently, this year’s Black Cat #5 featured a flashback in which Felicia remembered a discussion with her mentor about Tamara, in which she openly talked about their love. The plot has been handled in a sensitive manner, with writer Jed MacKay incorporating Felicia’s bisexuality into her character history with effortless ease. Marvel has officially confirmed they number Black Cat among their LGBTQ+ heroes, with the sneak-thief appearing on a special Pride comic book cover frame.

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Related: Black Cat’s Powers Make Her Immune to Magic

June’s Black Cat #7, by Jed MacKay and Michael Dowling, sees Black Cat share her first on-panel same-sex kiss. The timing is perfect, as the comic’s most recent story arc has concluded at the beginning of Pride Month. The kiss is shared with Thieves’ Guild leader Odessa Drake. Previous issues had shown the two women flirting despite an intense rivalry, but after one of her most heroic acts to date, Felicia decides she wants to celebrate. The two share a lingering kiss, and though both believe there’s no way their relationship can work given their different responsibilities and lifestyles, they decide that is tomorrow’s problem. Tonight, they will celebrate together.

Black Cat Pride Kiss

MacKay’s two-volume run on Black Cat has been one of the best in the history of the character. Readers have typically only seen Black Cat adventures in the context of her team-ups with characters like Spider-Man and Wolverine; as a result, he’s had a blast adding more depth to her backstory, revealing so many parts of her life the Wall-Crawler was blissfully unaware of. Her bisexuality is part of that, and has been explored in a refreshingly organic way, acting as just one element of a complex antihero with a textured understanding of heroism.

Comic book publishers are often criticized for celebrating diversity in a tokenistic way, with occasional Pride Month one-shots that fans don’t expect to have much effect on canon. This same-sex kiss, though, is different in that it is integrated into a tremendous character arc that is likely to remain canonical to the character for as long as she appears in Marvel Comics. The nascent relationship between Felicia and Odessa is as complicated as any of those Black Cat has entered into in the past, but in different ways, because Odessa is the head of New York’s chapter of the Thieves Guild, and has an agenda all her own. It’s going to be thrilling to see what comes next in this Black Cat story.

More: Marvel Confirms Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord is Bisexual

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