The X-Men have always been the most canonically queer superheroes; that is abundantly clear to anyone who has ever read an X-Men comic, watched any of the film installments, or spent a few leisurely hours reading Professor X/Magneto fanfiction. (My kingdom for James McAvoy.)
In recent years, X-Men comics have continued to champion queer storylines. In the fourth issue of the new Iceman comic, starring one of the team’s oldest (and gayest as of his coming out in 2015) members, Marvel debuted the first drag queen mutant, appropriately named Shade. Shade makes her entrance in the absolute queerest way possible, teleporting directly into the inaugural Mutant Pride Parade to serve as emcee — oh, honey!
“‘Ello Manhattan! It’s your emcee, Shade,” she says, thwoorping a gigantic fan (Katya and Trixie’s impact). With green hair and a cinched waist, Shade is ready to slay a Sentinel or the runway. Maybe we stan!
Marvel’s mutants, oppressed and ostracized by a society that doesn’t understand their unique abilities, haven’t just been read as a metaphor for queer people, the actual X-Men comic universe has featured some of the most iconic queer superheroes (and villains): Mystique, Northstar, Shatterstar, Rictor, Colossus, Wiccan, Hulkling — the list goes on. There was even a gay alternate-universe version of Wolverine who booed up with Hercules. And in the early 90s, the X-Men were decimated by the Legacy virus, which only targeted those with the X-Gene, a storyline clearly inspired by the AIDS crisis.
Iceman was created by queer comics writer Sina Grace, who told The Advocate he “really wanted this series to push readers to new and better stories about the whole queer experience and how it applies to being both a mutant and a superhero … There’s a million different queer perspectives and we’re only scratching the surface.”
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