Dazzler: The B-Sides

 

Bill Sienkiewicz Dazzler #29 - Arkham Comics 7 rue Broca 75005 ParisThe 1980s was the decade that took excess to the maximum. Neon-sprayed hair was jacked up to Jesus, shoulder pads were no longer just for football players, and the music was leagues beyond the tripe that currently clogs “Top Ten” Spotify playlists. From this shimmering era of cocaine and new wave synths came a superhero for the times. A beacon that descended like a glittering disco ball and quickly developed an unshakable fan base that still thrives to this day. Alison Blaire a.k.a. the mutant songbird known as Dazzler.

Unlike her genetically empowered counterparts, the X-Men, Alison was more concerned with furthering her career in music as opposed to heroism or contributing to the human/mutant cohabitation plight. She preferred to only use her powers of sound-to-light transduction to entertain audiences instead of proactively snuffing out criminal activity. This conflict would be part of the driving force for most of the Dazzler ongoing series that Marvel Comics published from 1981 through 1985.

Roughly thirty years later, the comic book market is seeing a massive influx of female-led titles and Alison Blaire is right in the thick of things as one of the prominent members of the all-female team, A-Force. With a fresh fashion makeover, several unresolved storylines, and a fantastic roster of potential co-stars, has the time has come for Marvel to flip the record to side B and give Dazzler a well-deserved encore?

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Patsy Walker a.k.a. Marvel’s New Gay Icon

It has been almost two years since the conclusion of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s memorable run on Young Avengers. In addition to winning a GLAAD Media Award, the title broke new ground by having not one… not two… but literally an entire team that consisted of characters who identified as either gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or at least a little curious (I’m looking at YOU, Kate Bishop). Readers were also treated to cameo appearances by notable “out” characters like Victor Borkowski (Anole), Julie Power (Lightspeed), and Lucy in the Sky (Karolina Dean).

IMG_3708Few Marvel titles of equal queer caliber have since come close to healing the ga(y)ping wound left in Marvel’s monthly lineup after Gillen and McKelvie closed up shop. Books like The Unbeatable Squirrel-GirlSpider-Gwen, and Silk all feature off-beat, quirky, and often underestimated Strong Female Characters that many, if not most, gay readers identify with and root for. However, the LGBTQ themes and/or characters in these titles are few and far between.

Enter: Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat, Marvel’s latest addition to its monthly catalog of female-led titles.  Yes, “IT’S PATSY!” and she’s here to add some always-welcomed queerness into the Marvel Universe.

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A Geek’s Summer Reading Guide: Pride Month Edition 2015

With Pride comes June. With June comes summer. With summer comes the necessity for plenty of beach/park/poolside reading material. If you are a geek looking to get your Pride on by celebrating some of the great LGBT creators and stories in the comic book world, you have to look no further than the “new release” wall in your local comic book shop. Now, prepare to let your geek flag fly proud and free with this summer reading list…

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