Marvel introduces new trans superhero with ‘mighty’ mutant powers in special Pride comic
Marvel is to introduce a new trans superhero to the roster for its Pride Month comic lineup.
Escapade, also known as Shela Sexton, is a mutant who can switch circumstances with others.
“If you’re holding her at gunpoint, she can reverse it so she’s holding you at gunpoint,” explained co-creator Charlie Jane Anders in an interview with Marvel.com. “If you’re the Mayor of New York and she gets close to you, she can become the Mayor of New York for a while.”
Anders described Sexton as “a total goofball” with “a profound loyalty to her friends.” Her circumstance-switching abilities can often put her in precarious positions, but it’s nothing her sense of justice can’t handle.
She fights alongside her best friend and fellow trans mutant, Morgan Red, and genetically engineered pet turtle Hibbert.
“Until recently, she believed that everything would always be OK as long as she and Morgan were there for each other,” Anders said. “But lately she’s been realising life is more complicated than that.”
Escapade and Morgan are part of a community of trans mutants, with Anders adding: “It was really important to me to have a whole community of trans mutants in this comic… 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.
“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. That was something I really hope everyone reading this comic, especially young trans people, take away from it.”
Escapade will debut along with a string of new queer characters in Marvel’s Voice: Pride anthology, released on 22 June.
The series debuted in June 2021 as a sub-branch of the Marvel’s Voices series which aims to spotlight diverse writers, superheroes, and artists.
Escapade, Morgan Red and Hibbert will journey to the mutant nation of Krakoa, “the island that walks like a man.”
The comic will also feature stories from Moondragon and MU’s god of love – Hercules.
Escapade isn’t Marvel’s first transgender character, and it’s unlikely to be their last. The first confirmed trans character, Jessica Drake, debuted 25 years ago in Marvel Comics Presents #150.
The superhero giant was criticised in 2020 for its depiction of two non-binary superheroes named Snowflake and Safespace in its New Warriors reboot.