The Marvel Universe never ceases to amaze us with its attention to characters, and it has yet again proved its stance by introducing Somnus, a mutant LGBTQ+ superhero making its debut for pride month.
June is the month of pride, when the world’s LGBTQ+ communities unite and celebrate the freedom to be themselves. Pride gatherings are rooted in the tough history of minority groups who have struggled for decades to overcome bias and be accepted for being themselves. This reminds me of mutants like X-Men from the superhero universe who have fought in a world that feared and hated them for being different!
The growing depiction of LGBTQ+ characters comes from the zeal spirits of fans and concentrated efforts by publishers to attract broader audiences. Fans have long admired the impossibly perfect bodies and uniquely sculptured features of their heroes and felt a sense of being related to the same.
Marvel, the popular entertainment company, took to Twitter to announce the arrival of the mysterious mutant hero in honour of Pride month that has left us in awe!
The synopsis for the origin story describes the character as “a mutant who had an extraordinary impact on X-Men long ago.” The character has the ability to control people’s dreams, “but he was never able to follow his own.”
The Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 issue is set to explore Somnus’ “second chance at life” as he navigates the mutant nation of Krakoa.
Steve Orlando, the writer for the new story, opened up about the inspiration behind the character in a statement to Marvel – “Somnus, Carl Valentino, is inspired not only by my own family history but by my experience with past generations of LGBTQ+ folks from across the country, people I wouldn’t have met without comics.”
“While there is still plenty of work to do, we’ve also come a long way as a community. Somnus is a chance to explore how my own late queer relatives may have felt living in more prejudiced times.“Says Steve Orlando
“He’s also a chance to celebrate past generations as a whole and acknowledge the strides we’ve made that they may not have lived to see,” he added.
Orlando further went on to describe Somnus as a “complex character carrying a message of respect, power and vision.”
Along with releasing the new LGBTQ+ anthology series, Marvel Comics is also dropping new Pride Month inspired covers that feature some of Marvel’s most popular LGBTQ+ heroes.
Somnus will debut in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 through a short story written by Orlando and illustrated by Claudia Aguirre, and is set to hit stands on 23 June 2021.
With a mesmerizing costume design by artist Luciano Vecchio and unique mutant gifts, it’s time for Somnus to intensify in a big way and become the hero he was always destined to be.
“Marvel’s Voices: Pride is ticking so many dream assignments for me! On top of doing the cover, a frame variant, and a story that I got to write myself, I also got to design a new queer character introduced in a story written by Steve Orlando,” Vecchio said in an interview with Marvel. “I’m so happy to finally collaborate officially with Steve, and I fell in love with Somnus’ concept and backstory right away. I got some input from him and editor Sarah Brunstad but also a lot of liberty to propose ideas. This time the design process itself felt almost like channelling. I wanted him to have an air of ‘a man of your dreams,’ very charming and human but unreachable at the same time. Some visual elements are a mix of Mod fashion, a bit of Hellfire Gala influence, and a palette based on Etruscan vase art as a nod to the god he’s named after.”
Marvel is also celebrating Pride Month by debuting the very first LGBTQ+ Captain America.
The upcoming series The United States of Captain America has introduced Aaron Fischer, who, according to Joshua Trujillo, is “inspired by heroes of the queer community: activists, leaders, and everyday folks pushing for a better life. He stands for the oppressed and the forgotten. His debut story is expected to resonate with the readers and also help inspire the next generation of heroes.”
Just when we can’t get enough of the Marvel Universe, a series of Pride-themed variant covers over the course of June is being revealed by Marvel, highlighting other LGBTQ+ heroes like Miss America, Valkyrie, Iceman, Wiccan, Hulkling, and Black Cat.