Northstar and Karma are forefront in Astonishing X-Men. They were the stars of the first two arcs of Liu’s run. Northstar’s currently facing the legal ramifications of his whirlwind wedding to Kyle, which is surprisingly mature and aware fallout given how much the marriage came off as an event. Neither one has vanished — hell, either one of them has probably gotten more page-time in this run than Wolverine and Gambit combined.
[Also? Timeline of events is: half-elf (Bill Mantlo, 1987 and long since retconned away), outing (Lobdell, 1992), the month of editors not paying attention (Feb/March 2005), and wedding (2012). God knows little of this is at all progressive and I don’t give Mantlo or Millar a pass in the least, but also keep in mind that we’re looking at nearly three decades of shifting attitudes wrt to queer portrayals as encapsulated in one character, and not entirely recent events.]
Fearless Defenders introduced a lesbian cast member in its debut just last month. X-Treme X-Men has portrayed its versions of Wolverine and Hercules in an unquestionably homosexual relationship. Mystique is about to have a very prominent role in WatXM. (For better or for worse.) Rictor and Shatterstar are still around in Astonishingly Sales-Stable X-Factor.
I agree with a lot of your points, and I think that Marvel (and DC) has the inadmirable habit of wanting backpats for their queer characters when they trot them out for diversity points while sticking their fingers in their ears when readers complain about lack of steady representation or problematic portrayals. But let’s not be dismissive of the stuff they’re actually doing right, because that doesn’t help the situation either.
Weeping at the state of bisexuality in either universe. And at the mess that is Northstar’s history.
Wasn’t it also Mantlo that did the fucked up “Puck is really a tall man possessed by a demon” thing? So many things about post-Byrne Alpha Flight to be upset about.
Mantlo’s crimes against Alpha Flight were legion:
1) Just…everything he did to the Beaubier twins, especially Northstar. That half-elf mess? That was the lesser of two evils. Mantlo’s original plan was to out Northstar by having him die of AIDS. Editorial stepped in and nixed it, because there could not be any acknowledgement of gay characters in the MU (and, as everyone knows, only gay men can get AIDS!), resulting in an 11th hour rewrite that, along with the above-mentioned silliness, managed to get the twins’ names wrong.
2) Taking a book with a unique team structure and characters that had their own lives and interests, then erasing all of that to bring them under one roof at the beck and call of the government that had already cut them loose once. Avengers North indeed.
3) Despite Byrne explicitly stating that Puck was born with his dwarfism, Mantlo went with the demon story. Which ties into…
4) When Mantlo came onto the book, he inherited a team that was unusually diverse - a female leader without powers, one non-neurotypical character, a demi-goddess, one queer character, two differentially-abled characters, and two First Nations characters. The only default dudes on the team were Madison and Sasquatch (and Sasquatch was put on the shelf for a bit following being beaten to scrap by the Hulk, which he totally had coming). By the time Mantlo was done, Heather had gotten so insecure about her lack of powers that she wrapped herself in her dead husband’s suit, becoming yet another in a long line of female heroes derived from a male counterpart; Bochs and Snowbird were dead; and Puck, Northstar, Aurora, Talisman, and Shaman had been written out. Who was left, then? Heather as Vindicator, Madison, Purple Girl, Manikin, and Sasquatch (now wearing Snowbird’s old body, but trust me, it was nowhere near as interesting an exploration as it might sound). Blech.
All of this.
Also Julie Power/Lightspeed is an awesome bisexual girl who is not on this here list. And is hooked up with Karolina Dean in the most rainbowadorbs ship ever that had better not die in obscurity.
Random and at this point only semi-related point because Alpha Flight yay.