RSS Feed
Sep 9

Marauders #12 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 9, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“The New Phase”
by Gerry Duggan & Matteo Lolli

COVER / PAGE 1: The resurrected Kate Pryde shows off her new knuckle tattoos, which read “Kill Shaw”. The tattoo she got in issue #2 read “Hold Fast”.

This cover art wasn’t used in the solicitations, which instead had an image of Lockheed saying “shhhh” – presumably as a placeholder to avoid spoiling Kate’s return in the previous issue. Ironically, this concern to avoid spoilers doesn’t extend to issue #12 itself, since the unveiling of Kate’s new tattoos is the final beat of the issue.

PAGES 2-4. Kate is welcomed back to Krakoa following her resurrection.

Note that resurrected Kate has her traditional hairstyle, not the straightened hair that she’s had throughout the series to date. In keeping with Krakoan culture, she’s referred to by a “mutant name”, though the codename used is Red Queen (more of an office than a name) rather than any of her previous names.

We’ve seen this basic ceremony several times before, including in issue #2 with Shinobi Shaw. The basic format is that the resurrected character is expected to say something suitably characteristic, in order to demonstrate that it’s really them. Everyone then acclaims them as a mutant (shifting the emphasis from what makes them individual to what makes them the same as everyone else on Krakoa).

Most of the characters in the background are generics, but the fish guy to the left of Emma is Fish, who was rescued in Marauders #4.

“I have no flesh of my flesh, but I have a daughter.” Storm was indeed basically a mother figure to Kitty Pryde in the early years.

“Because once when I was just a dumb kid I threatened to abandon you over your haircut?” Kate is referring to Uncanny X-Men #173, where Storm showed up with her mohawk for the first time, and Kitty had a tantrum and ran away.

PAGE 5. Recap page (the credits are moved right to the end of the issue). The small print has changed to “A new lease on life”.

PAGE 6. Data page. Bishop emails the Beast about evidence that might suggest Kate was murdered by someone on Krakoa. Presumably it’s Sebastian Shaw, but we don’t know – maybe he’s on the wrong track.

“The type of situation you were hoping I could illuminate for you, given my Hellfire access.” In issue #4, Hank encouraged Bishop to join the Hellfire Club in order to provide him with intelligence on it. Note that over in X-Force Hank is now perilously close to being an outright villain, so bringing in Hank is probably not going to work out very well.

PAGES 7-10. Emma and Kate discuss their plans.

Horses. We’ve seen Emma riding before, in Cable #4 (also by Gerry Duggan).

PAGES 11-17. Kate’s welcome back party.

The recognisable attendees, aside from Kate herself and Emma Frost

  • Teammates Bishop and Pyro, in the final panel of page 10.
  • Iceman, on the far left of the main panel on page 12.
  • Callisto, to the right of the horse, in her Hellfire White gear.
  • Shinobi Shaw – we still don’t know how much he knows about the circumstances of Kate’s death.
  • Christian Frost, with his hand on Shinobi’s shoulder – note that Christian and Iceman aren’t together.
  • Domino
  • Mystique
  • Cable, who looks bored (and in fairness, barely knows Kate).
  • Cyclops
  • In the next panel, Wolverine
  • On page 12, former Excalibur teammate Prestige (Rachel Summers)
  • And the other former Excalibur teammate Nightcrawler.
  • In the background of the next panel, a guy with a techno-organic arm and a high collar who’s presumably Cypher.
  • In the background of page 13 panel 2, in the bottom left, is Pixie, talking to someone not easy to identify.
  • Former soulmate and roommate Magik, who shows up with a mariachi band in tow.
  • The Angel, in the background of page 14 panel 4.
  • Sebastian Shaw, obviously.
  • Havok, recognisable by his headdress in the background of page 16 panel 1 (and apparently being allowed back into polite society for the day).
  • Marvel Girl, speaking to her partners Wolverine and Cyclops in the background of page 16 panel 2.
  • No idea who the person next to Nightcrawler in the same panel is.

Nightcrawler. We’ve seen a few letters from Nightcrawler but this is the first time we’ve seen him and Kitty together. Generally, there’s a sense in this scene that we’re integrating the Marauders Kate with a more traditional Kitty in a way that hasn’t been done so far in this series – this is probably one reason why Kate thanks Sebastian Shaw for his “gift”. (Magik also behaves in a much more retro, childlike fashion here, rather than the brooding goth we’ve seen in recent years.)

Nightcrawler is really keen to talk to Kitty later, though not right here – he says “we have much to discuss” twice in a page. As the most religious character in the X-books, he’s retrieved her Star of David necklace, which she’s worn ever since her earliest appearances. (Go and check, it’s there in her debut.) Krakoa has placed great weight on mutant identity as the be all and end all – Nightcrawler seems to be unusual in attaching any great weight to other aspects of a person’s identity and background, no doubt in part because of the demands of nation-building. Kate was not wearing the necklace in earlier issues of this series, and its reappearance here (along with her hair) is clearly symbolic of a reconnection with her roots.

The whisky aged by Tempo was previously seen in issue #10.

An “Irish exit” is an Americanism for leaving a party without saying goodbye.

PAGES 18-22. Kate ges her new “Kill Shaw” tattoo.

This is, I think, the most direct scene in terms of the widely-accepted subtext that Kate is interested in girls. More broadly, it parallels the scene in issue #2 where she got her previous tattoo (and also paid a ridiculous amount of money and kissed the tattooist afterwards).

Meanwhile, note that Kate has gone back to fetch her Marauders pirate costume – but she hasn’t tried to change her hair back. As already noted, she’s now wearing the necklace along with her costume.

PAGE 23. Credits.

PAGE 24. Data page. A letter from mutant fashion designer Jumbo Carnation to Emma Frost, updating her on how he’s been getting on back on the regular fashion circuit with the other designers. “Jean Paul” is presumably Jean Paul Gaultier. The “Gala” is the Hellfire Gala which has been mentioned on and off since issue #7; we still don’t know what it actually is.

Jumbo suggests that he was in some sort of depressed state when he left Krakoa, something that hasn’t been particularly visible on page. It seems that, like Kitty, he’s been cheered up by reconnecting with aspects of his old identity in the regular world.

PAGES 25-26. Trailers. The reading order is actually out of date, because Hellions #4 has been delayed by a week. As with all books this month, the Krakoan trailer text just reads NEXT: X OF SWORDS.

Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    Well, you say her traditional hairstyle – while it’s her *natural* hair, hasn’t she had straightened hair for two decades at this point? (short cuts in Claremont’s second run & X-Men Gold, long straight hair – often in a ponytail – in Mechanix/AXM/most of the rest of the time)

  2. Chris V says:

    I believe he means because of her Jewish family heritage.
    Alongside her taking back her Star of David necklace.
    It seems like she is showing a rejection of Krakoan conformity.

  3. Evilgus says:

    Controversially – I’m gonna say I don’t buy Kate being truly bi. Not that it’s a bad thing – I’m bi myself! But I’ve never read her and Rachel as being anything other than platonic. Kate used to be jealous of Rachel’s looks, and Rachel kind of was oblivious to anyone (eg Alistair Stewart!) crushing on her. I always thought they had a sister vibe going on. I do feel some of Claremont’s later interviews try to retcon that and tell a different story than was depicted on panel (as is his habit). I could buy Rachel as gay, though.

    The excitement over Kate kissing the tattoo artist seems to forget we had that ‘moment’ years ago in Mekanix, between Kitty and Karma. Which also felt less forced, as Karma plainly had a huge crush brewing. Yes Claremont was the writer but it more about Karma’s feelings, than Kitty’s.

    It does feel a bit like pandering to online Twitter fandom. Kitty only dates guys called Peter! That’s the established canon or as others have commented… She’s just tattoo-artist-sexual.

    Actually now I think about it, didn’t Kitty have a dragon tattoo for a while??

  4. Evilgus says:

    I tried to add a few smilies as my comment above is tongue in cheek 🙂 it’s great if Kitty is bi, but did have an air of inevitability after online pressure, that’s all.

  5. Evilgus says:

    Oh and last thing! Do we think this draws a line under “Kitty might not be a mutant”, or not? Can she use the gates now…?

  6. Chris V says:

    I think the major problem is that fans always seem to read close friendship to be latent sexual attraction.
    It’s as if no one in fiction can be really good friends. They have to secretly be in bed together.
    I mean, sure, for fan fiction that’s ok. The fans want to imagine the two getting together.
    In the actual canon though, creators need to stop giving in and just say that, yes, sometimes close friends are just friends.

    Rachel I can see being bi, yeah. Although not in a relationship with Kitty, no.

    Although, as far as Kate, is this want to be another hint at Krakoa changing people?
    If so, it doesn’t make sense to do so in a story which seems to show the same person rebelling against Krakoa.

  7. Paul F says:

    >The excitement over Kate kissing the tattoo artist seems to forget we had that ‘moment’ years ago in Mekanix, between Kitty and Karma. Which also felt less forced, as Karma plainly had a huge crush brewing. Yes Claremont was the writer but it more about Karma’s feelings, than Kitty’s.

    The Mekanix moment ( felt like Claremont setting something up for someone else to roll with later on, but nobody ever did (until now, I guess).

  8. The Other Michael says:

    I’m okay with the thought of Kate being bi, if it’s one of those things she’s never really explored or embraced until this new phase (lol) of her life. It’s possible that she just never to delve into it until she died and was reborn (which seems to now be an expected Krakoan rite of passage!)

    But given Kitty’s long history of intense female friendships, especially as written under Claremont, her being bi is easily within the realms of possibility. 🙂

  9. Allan M says:

    So glad that Kurt finally showed up in person, and it seems he’s got more to do. It’s a series about the X-Men being pirates! Of course Nightcrawler should be there!

    As for Kate being officially bi, I thought it was notable that while she and Illyana are very clearly affectionate and close in this issue, but it’s Rachel that gets the small-text-in-big-word-balloon treatment, which read to me as more of a crush reaction. The practical downside being that Rachel’s a regular in another book, so god knows if it can go anywhere.

    Minor detail I appreciated: Kate complains in a data page earlier in the series that she doesn’t want to become Illyana’s “backpack” since she can’t use the Krakoan gates. She turns out to be accurate, since Illyana calls her “backpack” on page 17. Cute callback.

  10. Diana says:

    Mean as this may sound, I have absolutely no reason to believe Kitty being bisexual will be handled any better than Bobby being gay and that becoming literally the only characteristic of his that’s ever discussed anymore. Not many Marvel writers – and no one currently on the X-books – have the capacity to tell interesting or meaningful stories with LGBT representation in mind.

  11. The Other Michael says:

    Diana –
    I think Leah Williams has a nice handle on the situation, over in X-Factor.

  12. FUBAR007 says:

    Chris V: I think the major problem is that fans always seem to read close friendship to be latent sexual attraction.
    It’s as if no one in fiction can be really good friends. They have to secretly be in bed together.
    I mean, sure, for fan fiction that’s ok. The fans want to imagine the two getting together.
    In the actual canon though, creators need to stop giving in and just say that, yes, sometimes close friends are just friends.

    This. +1000.

  13. D.F.E. says:

    A man born when they first started writing Kitty Pryde as bisexual is now old enough to throw a tantrum on the CBR forums.

  14. Moose says:

    I have to admit, I’ve only been following the X-titles by these annotations, since HoX/PoX put me right off. That said, though, I’m of two minds on the bi-sexual thing…

    It reminds me of how I felt about the whole minorities-taking-over-established-heroes phase a few years ago. In theory, rather than welding something on to an existing character to diversify, I’d rather see new characters or series. The problem is that the market (and fans in general) only seem to go for established characters these days, so you diversify the line-up you have, or not at all.

    In that vein, it’s easy to say “Marvel shouldn’t make Shadowcat bi, they should create a new character”, but that ignores the fact that new characters don’t stick around. Where’s Trinary, new-Pyro or Synapse (from Uncanny Avengers), for example? (yes, I know Trinary is appearing somewhere, but barely)

    But, where moving “representation” characters into established identities was purely cosmetic, a case could be made that “outing” a character is a fundamental change in who they are. Even though character changes happen often in comics, some end up being a perversion of the character.

    …Oh, I don’t like that I used the term “perversion” in a comment about sexuality. I’m not referring to anyone’s sexuality being a perversion, just to be clear! I’m thinking of something like, say, Spider-Man’s phase as a globe-trotting CEO, or Speedball’s mind-numbingly dumb turn as Penance.

    Any “they went too far” response is going to be pretty subjective, naturally. My character-image of Kate doesn’t contrast with bi-sexuality, nor does it cry out for it. This is off topic, but I think Iceman’s outing was a mistake. Although his run is not fondly remembered, Chuck Austen did establish (using a mutant who could detect sexual attraction!) that Iceman wasn’t gay. Seems kinda definitive.

    More than that, and this somewhat holds true to Shadowcat, these changes (revelations?) about character sexuality tend to follow the path of least resistance. Emma Frosts make’s a snide remark about Iceman loving interior decorating after he fills her office with ice, so he must be gay! Kate has close friendships with women, so she must be bi! Shatterstar is from a society without sex, so he must be pansexual!

    Where’s the unexpected outing? Where’s the equivalent of the married guy next door coming out? Colossus or Nightcrawler, for example, are both from backgrounds that strongly reinforce hetero-normative behaviour, it would make sense for them to have deeply repressed any non-conforming urges.

    Wow, bit of a long rant here! Anyway, when all’s said and done, I hope they just keep the characters interesting and nuanced!

  15. Mikey says:

    “I think the major problem is that fans always seem to read close friendship to be latent sexual attraction.
    It’s as if no one in fiction can be really good friends. They have to secretly be in bed together.”

    This is comically disingenuous. How many platonic friendships have we seen throughout the nearly six decades of X-Men comics? Countless. How many queer romances? Ten, maybe?

  16. D.F.E. says:

    Don’t neglect that Claremont has explicitly said that he intended Rachel Summers to be Kitty’s lifelong romance & that they would eventually marry with kids.

    So I think the people “shipping” them over the years are perhaps picking up on authorial intent & pre-existing deliberate subtext.

  17. Daibhid Ceannaideach says:


    I agree with a lot of your points here. On the specific issue of Spider-Man, though, I’d say that I never thought this was intended to be “the new normal”, any more than Superior Spider-Man was. The point of Superior was the punch-the-air moment when Peter reclaims his identity. And the point of Parker Industries was the “oh no” moment when, despite all Peter’s hard work and good intentions, and through no fault of his own, it all collapses because he’s Peter Parker and that’s what happens to him.

    But you can’t skip straight to those moments without telling the story of a very different Spider-Man first.

  18. Chris V says:

    Mikey, it’s kind of funny that you assume I am solely speaking of queer romances, as if that is my problem. Yet, nowhere in my text did I make such a statement.
    The same applies as equally to male/female friendship.
    I have always been annoyed at the thought process that men and women cannot be just friends. That stereotype has been bad enough.
    Now the assumption seems to be that there cannot be such a thing as platonic friendship between any two people.
    In reality, everyone is just hot and bothered by everyone they are around on a cumulative basis and waiting to jump on them.

    I know my fiancée has a number of very close female friends that she has been around for decades, and never once did they decide that they should be getting it on, rather than just being friends.
    It happens! Believe me!

    It’s also funny how these people who want to claim that this is somehow “progressive” miss the fact that this tends to occur most often with two female characters.
    Two sexy female characters, no less!
    Very rarely do the creators ever seem to give in to the idea that two very close male friends are really in love.

  19. Chris V says:

    If you actually read my post, you’ll see I quite obviously have no problem with queer relationships. I said that I could see it with Rachel.
    I don’t even care if they make Kitty Pryde bisexual. She’s a fictional character, and I don’t really care what they do with her, as long as it creates interesting stories. That’s always the caveat.

    It’s simply that it is Kitty and Rachel. I would love to see Kitty revealed as bi, and her very close friendship with Rachel remains the same. How shocking is that!
    She’s actually attracted to women, but she really just considers Rachel her best friend, and isn’t fantasizing about her! Amazing! What a concept!

  20. DFE says:

    Chris V — Does it matter to you–at all–that when Chris Claremont devised these relationships almost 40 years ago (perhaps even before you were born!), that this was his intended direction? He’s said openly that he always wanted to see Kitty and Rachel married and that Rachel was intended to be “the love of Kitty’s life.”

  21. Chris V says:

    Not really. Claremont never showed on the page that Kitty and Rachel were anything other than “true friends”, which was what the mini-series was called.
    Figuring in how many times Claremont showed Kitty parading around in her bikini while she was very much underage, I can’t help but get very creepy vibes from the whole thing.
    That this was really Claremont’s fetishistic personal little quirk, rather than what he intended in the actual text the whole time.
    I think his actual intentions were for her and Piotr to someday be together.

    I think the Mystique and Destiny thing was a very clever idea.
    I believe that was Claremont’s original plans, as he got as close as he could to admitting it on the page in that Marvel Fanfare story.
    I think the Kitty/Rachel thing is something he came up with later as his own fan fiction.

  22. Chris V says:

    Let me mention that I love Chris Claremont. Don’t get me wrong. I would have never started reading comics if not for Claremont.
    I’m not trying to besmirch his name with my comments.
    I think that most people will admit that Claremont’s feminism was also quite often caught with his own personal fetishes.

  23. DFE says:

    Go to 25:00 on the interview I posted. Subtext is intentional. Subtext is there, the author says it’s intentional. Fetishistic or not, I think it matters that it’s been on the page for decades. He also indicates that they were intended to be married in X-Men: The End, a book from 16 years ago.

    I don’t deny that Claremont can be fetishistic, but subtext is “actual text,” and I’m inclined to believe him when he says that he intended to write the panels he wrote.

  24. FUBAR007 says:

    RE: Claremont, I’ve long wondered why he hasn’t written a huge lesbian romance/action-adventure epic, either as a comic or as novel(s). It’s clearly a concept he’s deeply fond of e.g. Kitty/Rachel, Mystique/Destiny, Storm/Yukio, etc. I get that Marvel wouldn’t let him do it with the X-Men franchise, at least until recently anyway, but he could’ve done something independently. With the LGBT cultural explosion of the last few years, if ever there was a time and market for such a story, it’d be now.

    Similarly, given his interest in BDSM themes, I’m equally mystified why he’s never done a run on Wonder Woman for DC.

  25. FUBAR007 says:

    Chris V: I think the Kitty/Rachel thing is something he came up with later as his own fan fiction.

    It dates back to his run on Excalibur with Alan Davis circa 1988-1990. It was part of his revamp of Rachel from timelost, PTSD teenage daughter of Scott and Jean to buxom, leggy sexbomb who, being the offspring of Jean and the Phoenix Force*, was unique in the entire multiverse. The subtext was most evident in the love triangle between Rachel, Kitty, and Alistair Stuart during “The Cross-Time Caper”. Alistair lusted after Rachel, Kitty lusted after Alistair, and Rachel longed for Kitty.

    *This was part of Claremont’s post-X-Factor outrage against all things Cyclops. See also: the retconning in of Jean’s unrequited love for Wolverine in the Classic X-Men back-up stories.

  26. The Other Michael says:

    “It was part of his revamp of Rachel from timelost, PTSD teenage daughter of Scott and Jean to buxom, leggy sexbomb”

    I wonder if that change could be explained as part of Mojo’s influence, since it basically did happen during the time after she left the X-Men, before showing up to join Excalibur. Who knows how Mojo and Spiral tampered with her in the meantime?

  27. Luis Dantas says:

    We are talking here about stories of decades ago. Claremont lost control of these characters for a long time now, and he did not have the character concepts all that static even during the time period when he had exclusive control.

    Jean/Wolverine is a good example of him retconning his own work. So is Rachel. IIRC, she was introduced in Days of Future Past, which went out of its way to tell us that Kate and Piotr were totally the love of each other’s lives in that timeline.

    Claremont has every right to change his mind and want to establish Rachel as Kate’s one and only. But that is still changing his mind as opposed to the original concept.

  28. Chris V says:

    Right, I was going to say he had his chance during X-Men: The End, but it never took place.
    Why not?

    What I remember is that Shooter had a problem with the age difference between Peter and Kitty, so he wrote the scene in Secret Wars where Peter chested on Kitty in order to force Claremont to end their relationship.
    I got the idea that Claremont really wanted to see the two of them together again, but he had to leave Marvel before Kitty was eighteen.
    Had he still been writing X-Men at that point, I get the impression he would have gotten them back together.

    Although, as Luis said, Claremont changed his mind a lot.

  29. Chris V says:

    Ah, thanks FUBAR for the clarification.
    I have only read the Excalibur issues once, so my memory of them isn’t as fresh as Claremont’s Uncanny which I’ve read over a few times.

  30. Chris V says:

    I don’t always take writers at their word when they are talking about work from decades ago.
    Claremont has given some contradictory statements about his intentions on the X-books through different interviews. I don’t think he is lying, I just think it was a while ago, and it’s easy to forget exact details.
    After all, let’s not forget Stan Lee once claiming that he always intended for Magneto to be a Jewish Holocaust survivor.

  31. Chris V says:

    The Other Michael-You are probably on to something. It was another fetishistic trope that Claremont enjoyed, although there was never anything said about it on the page. Perhaps because that Phoenix mini never got written, so he just didn’t follow up with that idea.

    Remember, though, how Moira was acting when Shadow King was possessing Muir Island.
    There were hints given that the inhabitants of the isle were involved in orgies too.
    The idea of a villain messing with a woman’s mind and the woman then acting sexually promiscuous has precedent in Claremont’s fiction too.

  32. Allan M says:

    Claremont seems to have revised his ideas for Rachel/Kate at some point. Rachel’s first thoughts about Kitty from Uncanny #192 are “But in the future, when I knew her, she was twice my age, part surrogate mother, mostly best friend.” And future-Kate refers to Rachel as “poppet” in a flashback, which Claremont used to signify mother figures (Nanny says it a lot). All this in the midst of her angsting about the deaths of her other parental figures (Cyclops, Jean, Xavier), with Kate as the last one left. All of which points to a close relationship, but it’s more mother/daughter than lovers, even allowing for having to be oblique. And Kate/Piotr is DOFP canon. Also, while Rachel angsts about Kitty, Kitty herself doesn’t think about Rachel much at all.

    I think that FUBAR is on point, and the rethink happened circa Excalibur v1. In addition to the love triangle, Sat-Yr-9’s seduction of Kitty during the Cross-Time Caper is overtly sexual and Kitty is 100% on board with it. If nothing else, not only is Claremont’s intent clear in Mekanix, if memory serves he commented in interviews or online at the time that he intended for there to be sexual chemistry between Shan and Kitty. So Claremont’s intent that Kate be bisexual is pretty clear at least 18 years ago in print, if not 30.

  33. Chris V says:

    The question was more about Kitty and Rachel being lovers than whether Claremont might have intended Pryde to be bi.

    I’m pretty sure that Claremont thought that every female, except perhaps Jean Grey, was potentially bi, so I easily believe that part.
    I did remember something from Mekanix, although it involved Karna, yeah.

  34. Josie says:

    Claremont may have written all these (intentionally or not) ambiguous female pairings over the years, but did he write any male-male bonds that were intended/read as anything more?

  35. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Doug and Warlock?

    (I’m going by twitter, I haven’t read the original New Mutants yet).

  36. David says:

    Boy, if you guys don’t like Kate being bi, wait til you hear about Storm.

    Claremont is Kate’s creator, and he’s the key writer who defined both her and Storm as characters over the course of many years. In both cases, he’s made it clear that they’re bi over the decades.

    I’ve been reading classic X-men comics since I was a kid, and I was basically making my way through the Claremont run at the same time as I was reading Mekanix. I always read Kate’s obsessive friendships with other girls as queer. That content is easy to pass over if you don’t identify with it (same with Kate and Yana in Gold), but the stuff with Karma and the Sat-yr-9 seduction are undeniable.

    End of the day, I think a lot of the predominantly straight fans ignore the signs and need a literal press release before they’ll accept that a character is queer- but when there is a press release, they often reject it anyway. Personally, I’m happy with what’s happening with Kate in this book.

  37. Thom H. says:

    @FUBAR007: Claremont’s novel First Flight might be just what you’re describing. If I recall correctly, it’s the Storm and Kitty analogues that end up as a couple. But it’s been a long time since I read it, so I could be misremembering.

    @Moose: “a case could be made that “outing” a character is a fundamental change in who they are.”

    I think that’s absolutely true, but since it dovetails so nicely with the actual coming out process IRL I think it makes absolute sense.

    You said yourself that it’s a revelation, not a change. That’s what it feels like for the character/person coming out. And from the outside, that revelation can seem surprising or jarring to characters/people around the one coming out.

    So a character, heretofore thought of as exclusively straight, unexpectedly coming out as bisexual and surprising everyone (including readers) seems to have all the elements of “coming out” as it usually happens.

    I guess what I’m saying is that “outing” a character seems like a more natural way of diversifying your character line than outright replacing them with someone else. So if we’re comparing those two things, then the “outing” would be the preferable option.

  38. FUBAR007 says:

    David: End of the day, I think a lot of the predominantly straight fans ignore the signs and need a literal press release before they’ll accept that a character is queer- but when there is a press release, they often reject it anyway.

    Explicit homophobes aside, for most of us cis-hets, it’s not that we ignore the LGBT cues and subtext; rather, it’s that we don’t see them in the first place. Recognizing and understanding such things is very much a learned behavior. Don’t underestimate how many straights have little to no exposure to or experience with LGBT/queer culture and social dynamics, particularly those who are older and/or from socially conservative backgrounds. With LGBT integrating into the cultural mainstream, this is gradually changing and will decrease as an issue over time.

    RE: Kitty/Rachel, I thought people were making stuff up until LGBT fans online walked through it story by story. I went back and re-read the relevant Excalibur issues, and, yep, they were right. There it was. Then, Claremont confirmed it in interviews.

    TL;DR: most straights have little to no natural “gaydar”.

  39. Moose says:

    You know what I like? That this conversation has some nuance and disagreement without getting heated and trollish!

    @Daibhid Ceannaideach
    Actually, I don’t really disagree with you about Spider-Man. I was actually debating using it as an example, because it was clearly part of an arc, not a fundamental change.

    David: “End of the day, I think a lot of the predominantly straight fans ignore the signs and need a literal press release before they’ll accept that a character is queer- but when there is a press release, they often reject it anyway.”

    This is probably not wrong, but there’s also some truth to whoever posted earlier that some people seem incapable of reading any close friendship without seeing that subtext.

    @Thom H
    I hadn’t really thought of the parallels between coming out in real life and the fan reaction to characters. At least, not in the same way.

    One thought is that outing characters may or may not be the most appropriate way, given the sliding time scale (a unique problem that non-straight/cis people don’t have in the real world). For instance, Northstar intellectual property is, what, about 50 years old? It certainly makes sense that he would be coming out in the arly 1990’s.

    Northstar the character, though? He was now born in the 90’s, and would have been a teen in the 2000’s, an Olympic champion in the 2010’s…how likely is that he was ever in the closet as an adult? Of course, it’s sometimes best not thing this way…he was also an FLQ terrorist, and that hasn’t been an issue in Canada for his entire sliding-timescale life!

  40. David says:

    FUBAR- thanks for the thoughtful reply, I agree with what you’re saying. There are obviously parts of the fandom who are actively hostile, but I do think a lot of straight fans just truly don’t see queer subtext. All you can really do is point out the stuff they may have overlooked.

    Moose- I’m not sure that’s true! Are there really that many contemporaneous friendships in superhero comics that are widely read as queer? Barring the Batman/Robin stuff (which predates Claremont, and I think is really connected to the camp tone of 60s Batman), I don’t think so.

    Some of the friendships in Claremont’s X-men were so obsessively close and tinged with romance, mainly Kate’s. I don’t think there’s any real subset of the fandom who feels that (for example) Beast and Wonderman were in love, or Ms. Marvel and Spider-woman. People do love to ship whatever random pairing turns them on, but that’s not quite the same (and not restricted to same-gender pairings of course).

  41. Paul says:

    The suggestion that Batman and Robin had a gay subtext predates the 60s TV series – it was one of the arguments advanced by Frederic Wertham in “Seduction of the Innocent” in 1954.

  42. Jeff says:

    Duggan seems to be doing the best job of keeping everyone in-character with their pre-Hox/Pox selves. Most of the other books feel like they are populated by robots, here it feels like they’re the characters we’ve known the whole time just in a radically different situation. I think Hickman hit that mark in HoX/PoX (frankly, that might be a top ten X-Men story for me) but it feels like we’ve lost a lot of that lately.

  43. Paul Fr says:

    “ The Mekanix moment ( felt like Claremont setting something up for someone else to roll with later on, but nobody ever did (until now, I guess).”

    Their interaction in Mekanix came up when Xi’an was introduced into the New Mutants Academy X series. I think that’s about it though which is a shame.

    It was a nice moment where she explained to Dani that her younger siblings were shipping her and Kate.

  44. Chris V says:

    Thom H-Yes, it was the Storm and Kitty analogues. I thought that was kind of neat, because it was quite transgressive.
    Storm was like a mother-figure to Kitty. I like the idea of the two of them eventually getting together more than Kitty really lusting after her best friend.

    Maybe I’m just weird like that though!
    There’s a short story by Langdon Jones from the ‘60s where the character goes back in time so that he can sleep with his mother. I thought the story was very interesting.
    Ok, I’m way off on a tangent now….

  45. Chris V says:

    David-That may be because, for the most part, characterization like we used to see in comics tend to be absent from modern comics.
    No one seems like they are truly close friends in comics anymore. It seems like more often or not, superheroes act like real jerks and tend to fight with each other more than hang out together.
    Plus, in today’s comics, if a creator intends a character to be LGBTQ they just write them as that, there’s no need for any subtlety.

    In the olden days, comics were very much like real life when it came to being gay. You had to wonder about the person, because they wouldn’t be allowed to be open.

    As far as us straight-folks, there’s the issue of male readers maybe not being that familiar with adolescent female friendships to also consider.
    You have to remember Kitty Pryde’s age in Uncanny X-Men. She was pretty young.
    She was old enough to realize that she was in love with Peter, and later on wanted to date Doug Ramsey.
    Yet, being that age and being very close to with other young females, it’s something that a male reader may not totally understand, and misread.
    With straight males, they may also want to read something more in to close female friendships for sexual reasons as well.

  46. Chris V says:

    Which isn’t to say that Claremont didn’t eventually begin to write Kitty as bi later.

  47. David says:

    Paul- oop, of course. My mistake.

    Chris V- I meant contemporaneous as in “existing or occurring in the same period of time,” friendships from the same era as Teen Kitty + Rachel + Yana. I’m just disagreeing with the argument that people are incapable of reading about close friendships without ascribing romantic subtext. I don’t think there are many other friendships from comics of that era that read the same way- especially outside of Claremont’s X-men.

  48. sagatwarrior says:

    The very fact that discussion dovetail about Shadowcat’s sexuality seems to be a debate over a much bigger topic. We have seen comic book characters that were long established as being straight now being written as being gay, such as Iceman . While I don’t have a problem with representation, we don’t want to go down the road of ignoring continuity or established canon. What a writer said in a interview is completely different than what show up on a page. There are countless plotlines and subplots that are dropped at a moment’s notice. Claremont wanted Mr. Sinister to be a kid. It would be like changing a character’s skin color from black to white. What if we took a character that has long been established as being gay, like Northstar, and have him in a fling with a woman. I doubt that would go over well with many people.

  49. Chris V says:

    Not to belabour a point, but there also weren’t that many female characters in superhero comics either.
    X-Men, under Claremont, really does stand out.
    Otherwise, female characters were usually introduced to serve as a love interest for a man.
    Jean Grey to create friction between Scott and Warren.
    Wasp to marry Hank Pym.
    Sue Storm to marry Reed Richards.
    Mary Jane to compete with Gwen Stacy over Peter.
    Wanda in the Avengers was sort of a token woman, she wasn’t really presented as having any close friends until she fell in love with Vision.
    There was Spider Woman, She Hulk, and Miss Marvel with their own books, of course. All of which were adult superheroes.

    That’s, once again, why I come back to the difference that Kitty and Illyana were adolescent females in Uncanny. That was so rare for comic books of that time.
    If Mary Jane and Gwen had been best friends in high school and having sleepovers and such, I’m sure fans would be talking about how Mary Jane and Gwen were really lovers too.
    I just think it’s the fact that a lot of males simply don’t understand adolescent female relationships.

  50. Chris V says:

    Sagatwarrior-Claremont did introduce Mr. Sinister as being a child in the Classic X-Men back-up two-parter.
    It was on the page.
    That story was completely ignored, and Peter Milligan would later write a story featuring Sinister’s origin as a Victorian geneticist given immortality by Apocalypse.

    That’s a pretty blatant ignoring of continuity, yet it happens.
    Kitty being bi, on the other hand, is a much smaller continuity implant. It doesn’t change or contradict any past continuity.
    Plus, Claremont showed enough on the page after Kitty joined Excalibur and, especially, in the Mekanix mini to make Kitty being bi canon.

    You undermined your own argument. If anything, you should be really angry that Sinister isn’t a kid.

Leave a Reply