I love comics. As an adult, I started to leave the "men in tights" and funny books for comics that are in fact made by people who resemble me, both ethnically and in character. I remember being able to attend Adrienne Tomine's talk when he visited RISD. There are no happy endings, heartbreak and loss are real, and the alienation his characters felt were a little too easy to relate too. Unfortunately, most of the creators of socially progressive comics I read have gotten too into their own celebrity. That aside, I would suggest that folks seek out the works of Daniel Clowes, the Hernandez Brother's "Love and Rockets" series, and again the work of Adrienne Tomine. The web is full of great indie comics, I'm pretty sure anyone can find what they're looking for there.
But back to "men in tights" and comics published by Marvel and DC, I think it great that both of these publishers now have openly gay characters, people of color who matter,and more female characters that feel like people and not as filler or eye candy. It's kind of crazy that there is still a group of people out there who remain closed minded about these changes, but it's about time. I read comics to be entertained, to reflect, and because it's something I've always done, but having worked on the other side of the industry ( I attend conventions as a working artist doing commissioned work as part of a con's "artist alley") we as a reading public need to be more vocal and demanding of the changes we want to see, otherwise, nothing changes. We vote with our dollars, we should have some say.