Jun 5, 2013

Jinx's Mom Comes Out: The First Lesbian in Children's Comics

If you read Archie comics as a kid, you probably remember the backup feature Li'l Jinx, which first appeared in 1947 and continued through the 1980s.  A seven or eight year old with blond pigtails, L'il Jinx was a distaff Dennis the Menace who always caused catastrophes for her single Dad (I don't remember her Mom ever appearing).  She was a tomboy, strong and athletic, particularly interested in baseball.

Her coterie of friends included the fat Charlie Hawse, the nerdish Greg, the snobbish Gigi, and the token black kids Russ and Roz.

In 2011, the Life with Archie series, about young-adult versions of Archie and Company, printed a story about a teenage Jinx.  The teenage version spun-off into her own comic book series, reprinted as graphic novels by J. Torres and Terry Austin.  The first, Jinx, appeared in April 2012.

The second, Little Mis-Steps, came out this week.  It solves the problem of the missing Mother:

She's not missing, she's just not around a lot.  Jinx's parents are divorced.  Her Mom, Merry, is a Emergency Room nurse, always on call, so it seemed more practical for her to live with her Dad.  Oh, and she has something to tell Jinx:

She's a lesbian.

Jinx wonders: does that explain why I'm into boy stuff like baseball, not girly stuff like makeup and dresses?

No: liking baseball has nothing to do with liking boys.

Coming a couple of years after Kevin Keller became the first gay character in children's comics,  this is another breakthrough with only one misstep: Mom is portrayed as borderline neglectful, too busy with her career to spend time with Jinx.