Comics · Queer

A to Z: Hulkling and Wiccan

Hulkling and WiccanOur first entry from Marvel Comics, a fan-favorite landmark couple: Hulkling and Wiccan! Teen heroes, members of the Young Avengers. They are so sweet!

Hulkling and Wiccan first appeared in Young Avengers #1 in 2005, created by Allan Heinberg, and the intention was always for them to be a couple. Heinberg was nervous about whether or not he’d be able to do it in the atmosphere of the time, but he dropped hints, and the fans picked up on the hints with no problem at all. Everybody knew Hulkling and Wiccan were an item long before the reveal, and I think Young Avengers managed to fly under the radar enough that the larger media never really noticed. When they finally made waves, it was with their first visible, on-page kiss, seven years later. To be fair, this seems to be circumstantial. The comic wasn’t consistently published during that time, and Heinberg said there was just no story reason to show a kiss in an panel up to that point. But still — they’d been a couple that entire time, and the smooch had been hotly awaited.

So yeah, there’s a relatively long relationship history there, and one I’m looking forward to reading. I’ve got the books right here where I can see ’em. But the rest of this post focuses on the Young Avengers series of 2013, my personal introduction to the characters, and one of the best books I’ve read this year, no exaggeration!

Young Avengers 2013 Omnibus coverIt’s got high-quality superhero hijinks and pitch-perfect characters. It’s got the Loki I’ve been reading, a younger version but still with that essential wittiness of Loki, and a lot of the meta-story elements that are eventually perfected in Agent of Asgard. Then there’s Kate (the younger Hawkeye I’ve been loving in that series), Noh-varr, and new-to-me characters Miss America and Prodigy. It’s a fantastic lineup, the characters combine and play off each other well, and they make a great team. They act realistically, they’re young, but they’re teens and 20-somethings who want to be good people and strong superheroes. They have troubles, but they don’t whine. And let’s count up the representation: Hulkling and Wiccan are the anchor couple. Then there’s an out bi guy, a lesbian who isn’t forced to make out with ANYONE over the course of the book, a couple of queer gods and aliens, and check out the racial diversity on the cover, too! Basically it’s like most of my social groups but with more superpowers, and that, my friends, is how you appeal to the youth. Plus, I love that even on a team with a character named Hulkling, Miss America is the big-gun bruiser!

Hulkling and Wiccan are the characters of the day, but Young Avengers (2013) is my big diversity crush of the year. And if you’re getting into comics because you like Ms. Marvel, this is the book you should read next!

(PS regarding Wiccan’s name: It was chosen as a general counterpart to the word “witch.” His writers, subsequently informed that Wicca is a specific religious affiliation, have been sensitive to that in developing the character since then.)

Recommended Reading:

  • To start at the beginningYoung Avengers Vol. 1: Sidekicks by Allan Heinberg & Jim Cheung (pub. 2006, ISBN 9780785120186).
  • The essential reading I just raved aboutYoung Avengers Omnibus by Kieron Gillen & Jamie McKelvie (pub. 2014, ISBN 9780785191711). It’s one complete story, but you can also get the individual volumes that make up the omnibus, starting with Young Avengers Vol. 1: Style > Substance. 
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25 thoughts on “A to Z: Hulkling and Wiccan

      1. I love how they have structured the trade paperbacks/digital collections for Hawkeye (Hawkguy) – by splitting it up into the stories of Kate Bishop and Clint Barton. The great part? Getting that whole comic of Kate Bishop hijinks. The bad part? Still waiting to find out what Clint is doing on his own without Lucky there to save him!

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  1. My wallet cries but my heart dances. So many new glorious books to read. I like the idea of a younger Hulk (Hulkling) and, yeah, the diversity on that cover and inside are really awesome. Can’t wait to sink the teeth into this one!

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    1. 😀 When you get to Vancouver, they may have a lot of this stuff at the library. I’d never be able to sustain a comics habit without that.

      I’m not actually clear on all the Hulkling details — I believe it was originally thought he was related to the Hulk, but it turned out he’s an alien. Pretty sure it’s known at the beginning of the Omnibus that he’s an alien, and he’s a shapeshifter (he can give himself wings and stuff, very cool.)

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  2. I read some of the 2013 run and it is indeed fun! And diverse. I love Katie Kate (Hawkguy fan here 😉 ) and I remember her commenting at some point that she’s the only straight member of the team… Which is then not taken up as an issue by anyone. Yay 😀

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Epics from A to Z
    MopDog – 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. Yup, it’s right toward the end. It comes up in conversation about someone else, and she says something like “Wait, am I the only straight one on this whole team?” and Miss America says “I’ve seen the way you look at me… You’re not that straight.” It is hilarious. 😀 (And that sequence is also the main confirmation for several characters that nope, they’re not straight…)

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    1. I came to it because of Loki, but was literally shocked at how amazing it is. 😀 Many of them are legacy characters — Hulkling isn’t related to the Hulk, but obviously inspired by; Wiccan is Scarlet Witch’s son, Kate is the first Hawkeye’s apprentice, etc. So there are tie-ins to the old ones if that’s what ya like!

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