Marvel is happy to unveil the first drag queen superhero. Fans are loving her. And we must say, she’s fabulous. Even her name has charmed everyone. Guys, meet Shade, the mutant drag queen. As the newest addition to the X-men comics’ lore, she is introduced in the fourth issue of the Iceman comic.
The epic introduction
This is how Shade had introduced herself after a fellow mutant’s performance, “Ello Manhattan. It’s your emcee, Shade. And I got none to throw at Dazzler’s set. Let’s give her another round of applause.”
Writer Sina Grace and artist Nathan Stockman are the brains behind this wonderfully awesome character. Most would know Iceman is the only monthly series that has a queer lead and the introduction of this superhero has added to its popularity.
This is insane… less than a month and I’ve already received 20+ pieces celebrating Shade.— Sina Grace (@SinaGrace) January 16, 2019
I have them as a highlight on IG, but what’s the best way to share on twitter? Batches, or RTs? pic.twitter.com/cb7pS2pguA
Says Grace to the LGBTQ website The Advocate:
I 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.Grace
The spin-off also happens to be the return to the series for Grace who was on board for the 2017 series that was cancelled just after 11 issues in spite of the fact that it had a GLAAD Media Award nomination.
What’s surprising was that the sales figures were dismal despite the critical acclaim it received. Shade will hopefully be seen more often; in Iceman No.5 and also in a special annual edition – X-Men: Winter’s End which is expected in February. More appearances are likely but the details have not yet been revealed.
From the time she’s arrived on the scene, everyone’s going gaga over her powers. With the help of her handheld fan she can teleport effortlessly and enter a pocket dimension. The sassy superhero teleports with a ‘thwoooorp’.
The drag queen clicked with fans instantly when she teleported into the first ever Mutant Pride Parade eventually becoming its master of ceremonies, and look forward to more frequent appearances in the near future.
On introducing new (s)heroes
As Dr. Ormond, who specializes in women in comics and subcultural identities, rightly pointed out to UNILAD how the introduction of Shade gives the company a chance to renew the superhero genre. She said, “Marvel and DC have been criticized for not showing enough of these types of characters across the various media of their expanded universe, so I can see why they decided to introduce her. It was a sound business decision as much as an appeal to their fanbase.”
Fans of the comic book would know that Bobby Drake, Iceman’s alter-ego is an openly gay man who is seen struggling with his many overlapping identities. The introduction of the mutant has happened at a time when the company did not have a particularly good track record as far as LGBTQ+ representation is concerned and were criticized along with rivals DC by GLADD.
Something for the queer community
GLADD had raised the issue in their annual report, particularly pointing at Marvel and DC, stating:
It is becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore that LGBTQ people remain almost completely shut out of Hollywood’s big budget comic book films that have dominated the box office over the past several years.
The introduction of the drag queen superhero comes as a welcome relief, also the fact that Kevin Feige has promised to usher in openly gay characters soon. Fans would remember how two scenes were cut from Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther to avoid depiction of same-sex lovers.