Mainstream comic book publishers have tried for years to draw a more diverse readership by incorporating gay characters and storylines. Lately, they have faced increased competition from smaller publishers that want to go more mainstream and already have an established roster of inclusive offerings. As the comic book industry prepares to gather at Comic-Con International, which begins Thursday in San Diego, publishers big and small will be promoting a wider selection of gay-themed comic books.

Industry insiders say the trend mirrors the country’s evolving attitudes toward gays and lesbians. “The population of America has changed, and acceptance of gays has changed,” said Milton Griepp, chief executive of ICv2, which tracks the comic book industry. FULL REPORT