With the release of Angela: Queen of Hel #1, Angela and Sera, long speculated to be lovers but never confirmed or explicitly portrayed as such and winked at by series writer Marguerite Bennett for some time, share a big kiss in their ANAD debut. This finally puts Marvel on the board with an LBGTQIA character leading their own book, as opposed to being a part of an ensemble cast such as Miss America Chavez on The Ultimates.
The revelation could not come better timed, as the issue shipped on the same day as much hyped Batgirl #45, which focuses on the wedding of Barbara Gordon’s former roommate, transgender activist Alysia Yeoh to her fiancée Jo. In a rare display, both Marvel and DC showed considerably marketing savvy on both titles. DC widely circulated an advanced copy of Batgirl #45 to media outlets and made the creative team of Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr, and Brenden Fletcher available to a diverse range of sites, including The Rainbow Hub. The issue is a culmination of the first year of the new creative team’s vision and a great comeback from the controversy surrounding cross-dressing villain Dagger Type in issue #37, which coincided with the team’s first use of Alysia.
Marvel’s decision to hold all press and remain mum throughout the heavy flack the company took throughout their announcement of the ANAD lineup for the perception that there were no LBGTQIA lead titles among them was a show of tremendous restraint as well as respect for the creative team of Marguerite Bennett, Stephanie Hans, and Kim Jacinto by not spoiling the reveal for the purposes of scoring PR points. It does not ameliorate the recent problems that Marvel has had in addressing its LBGTQIA fans over concerns about characters ranging from Iceman and Hercules to Deadpool, but it’s a major step forward in winning back the goodwill of that segment of the readership. It also marks a historic milestone in writer Marguerite Bennett and 1602: Witchhunter Angela artist Marguerite Sauvage, who will, once they debut their version of Alysia in the digital first Bombshells, become the first writer and artist respectively to work on trans women characters at both Marvel and DC simultaneously in recent memory, if ever.
Emma Houxbois is a fiercely queer trans woman from the wilds of Canada, most recently spotted in the Pacific Northwest. She is a two time IWC Women’s World Champion and has written about comics for the web since 2005 for sites including Playboy, Bitch Media, and Graphic Policy.