Birdwatcher Christian Cooper was an LGBT pioneer at Marvel Comics

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06/16/2020

Birdwatcher Christian Cooper was thrust into the media spotlight last month following a racially-charged encounter he shared with a hysterical dog walker in Central Park, but years prior the 57-year-old was a pioneer behind the scenes at Marvel Comics. Between 1991 and 1999, Cooper worked as an editor and writer for the comic book giant and was one of its first openly gay employees. The Harvard graduate used his platform to substantially increase the representation of LGBTQ people within the pages of Marvel comics, even introducing Star Trek’s first openly gay character, Yoshi Mishima, in his short-lived Starfleet Academy series in 1996. But during the summers of 1994 and 1995 was when some of Cooper’s most inspired work came to the fore, when he took control of Marvel’s infamous Swimsuit Issue, former colleague Warren Ellis says.

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