but this recent trend of blatant pandering is just so disingenuous, I find it hard to believe those in the LGBTQ+ community can really appreciate it.
I visit the Mary Sue every so often (because I believe in sampling a variety of opinions), and they seemed pretty chuffed about it.
There are ways it can be done naturally and organically, like create a NEW hero/character and have that be an innate trait of the character. A black Human Torch didn't "include" me... because the Human Torch isn't black. I know this. EVERYONE knows this. Coopting existing and iconic characters and saying "oh, they're gay now" or "oh, they're black now" does nothing for anyone. If anything, I feel it's insulting and hampers progress in that it gives those who aren't so understanding or accepting something else to rail at while they feel the minorities and gays are coming for their toys.
Look, I'm not going to get into this too much, but isn't there a case for a colour-blind approach? Because you're right about the Human Torch for instance, but on the other hand, we have Jackson's Nick Fury, or Deadpool 2's Domino (forget the actress).
Usually wary about this, as it carries the assumption that any deviation from the 'norm' is inherently pandering. Again, using the Nick Fury example, the assumption that it's "pandering" is iffy to both the people who Fury could be said to represent, and those who he doesn't - the assumption one's attachment to a character is going to be linked to their appearance ipso facto. To flip back to FanFstic, one can point to many issues in that movie, but Johnny Storm being black isn't one of them. It introduces a few lines of dialogue (explaining that he and Sue are foster siblings), and that's it. The movie doesn't change for better or worse with this.
When it comes to the superhero genre especially though that puts representation between a rock and a hard place, since making new characters isn't something that superhero comics tend to do too much. The mainstays are always going to be every character that was made pre-2000. Which means we're stuck with a whole lot of straight white guys, unless we have one of those mainstays come out as a different sexuality, or portray them with diffrent skin color in a movie adaptation.
The cynical part of me sees this as an obvious and shallow corporate attempt to appeal to the current mindset that has a growing acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, but at the same time I realize this is likely the only real fighting chance a gay (or in this case bi) superhero has to actually gain a foothold. Because creating one from scratch not only has the non-straight aspect against it, but also that of being a totally new superhero.
And I mean, the assholes are going to rail regardless, there's no need to try and placate them. They'll find shit to accuse of wokeness no matter what.
Well first, new heroes can absolutely succeed, whether they be spin-offs of pre-existing heroes (e.g. Miles Morales), or completely new ones (e.g. Kamala Khan). I don't think either of these characters are going to enter the public's general zeitgeist, but for those with even passing knowledge of the genre (which includes myself - superhero comics aren't really my thing), I'd say that most people have heard of them.
But if we're going down the representation rabbithole, how many bi characters do you want, because if you're representing the general population, it's going to be less than 5%. Around 2% for females, and 1.3% for males IIRC. This isn't an argument for quotas mind you, but, well, my approach is generally lassire faire.