Marvel got a Drag Queen now

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If you’re into superhero comics at all, you might want to hop on the Iceman spin-off train. Marvel’s making good choices, thanks in large part to writer Sina Grace.

The fourth issue of the recently launched series introduced a new mutant. She possesses teleportation powers, and she can create and enter a pocket dimension inside her handheld folding fan. Oh yeah, she’s also Marvel’s first drag queen superhero. And her name is Shade.

It’s a fitting entry point for the new mutant. Iceman is the only running Marvel series to feature a queer lead character. Bobby Drake, Iceman’s alter-ego, is an openly gay man who wrestles with his multiple, overlapping identities in the pages of the spin-off series.

The spin-off marks a return to Iceman for Grace, who was also the writer on a 2017 series featuring the character (and struggling with his identity). It was cancelled after only 11 issues, despite critical acclaim and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. The sales just weren’t there.

The trade paperback releases were a different story. The two larger books containing all 11 issues of the original spin-off series sold much better than the individual issues, and so Marvel brought Grace back for another Iceman series in 2018. Shade made her debut in the new spin-off’s fourth issue.

“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,” Grace said in a recent interview with The Advocate. “There’s a million different queer perspectives and we’re only scratching the surface.”

Shade’s story is only at its very beginning. She pops up again in Iceman #5, and she’ll also make an appearance in X-Men: Winter’s End, a special “annual” issue that should be out in February. There’s presumably more to come than that, but that’s all we know for now.

 

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