Story at a glance
- Marvel Comics is set to introduce two new transgender mutant superheroes next month in “Marvel Voices: Pride #1,” which will be available beginning June 22.
- Shela Sexton, also known as Escapade, will make her debut in the Marvel Universe alongside her best friend and fellow transgender mutant hero Morgan Red, Marvel said this week.
- The heroes’ introduction come as hundreds of bills targeting LGBTQ+ people – particularly transgender and nonbinary youth – are under consideration nationwide.
Marvel Comics is introducing two new transgender mutant superheroes – and their genetically engineered flying turtle – next month in “Marvel Voices: Pride #1,” set to be released June 22.
Shela Sexton, also known as Escapade, will make her debut in the Marvel Universe alongside her best friend and fellow transgender mutant hero Morgan Red in a “high-flying, yet intensely personal mission,” Marvel announced this week. The pair will be joined by Hibbert, a genetically modified flying turtle that the duo “liberated” from a laboratory.
In an interview with Marvel, Escapade co-creator Charlie Jane Anders described Shela, whose powers allow her to switch locations and bodies with other people, as a “cool weirdo” with a “profound loyalty to her friends.”
“I really felt like ‘chosen family’ was an important thing to foreground here,” Anders told Marvel. “Plus, I wanted Shela to have a really strong relationship that she could be anchored to. I spent a lot of time thinking about Morgan, and how they and Shela had grown up together. I eventually arrived at the thing where Morgan was there for Shela when she was first transitioning, and the two of them kind of supported each other through their transitions when they were kids.”
“I feel like we are all nothing without our relationships,” Anders added.
Anders, who is also transgender, said Shela and Morgan’s “transness” is a critical part of their identities – and the identities of other heroes who will appear in the comic.
“It was really important to me to have a whole community of trans mutants in this comic – not just Shela and Morgan, but others,” she said. “I wanted it to be super clear that being a mutant is not a metaphor for being trans, and vice versa.”
“I think that Shela has experienced some rejection because of her transness, but she’s also found an amazing community that supports her and lifts her up, and this has changed how she thinks about being a hero for sure,” Anders told Marvel.
“She wants to be there for everybody who’s been left behind, and she wants to help people feel like they can belong and be seen and loved,” she said. “That was something I really hope everyone reading this comic, especially young trans people, take away from it.”
The new heroes, who will adventure through the mutant nation of Krakoa, come just as state legislative sessions begin to wrap up. This year alone, more than 300 bills targeting LGBTQ+ Americans – particularly transgender and nonbinary youth – have been introduced in legislatures nationwide.