Don’t You Forget About Me: An Ode to Flatman.

22 02 2015

2620691-gla002First things first: If you are not reading and/or thoroughly enjoying Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s incredibly delightful little book, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, please take a long hard look in the mirror and attempt to figure out where your taste in comic books veered of course.

While it’s true, and quite canon, that Squirrel Girl managed to take out Doctor Doom in her first Marvel appearance, it wasn’t until nearly a decade later that she became a (not really) household name. During that time, Doreen Green (the aforementioned squirrel whisperer) answered the desperate recruitment drive of the Great Lakes Avengers in New York City, becoming the team’s newest member.

While their unquestionable enthusiasm for heroics is palpable, the GLA’s team members’ power sets are a bit odd and useless… at least in the eyes of the world’s more seasoned superheroes. Amongst this group of well-meaning do-gooders is Dr. Val Ventura, the mutant known as Flatman. With his two-dimensional elastic body and origami shapeshifting abilities, it’s no wonder why he is the second-in-command of these Wisconsin guardians.

Val Ventura, a doctor of “stuff” (yes, his doctoral background may be more questionable than not), was first introduced in the pages of the second volume of West Coast Avengers in 1989. His uncanny knowledge of fashion (while earning his PhD, he allegedly managed to squeeze in a few fashion classes) has proven an invaluable tool when it comes to solving crimes. At one point, Dr. Ventura was not only able to identify a particular woman’s shoe, but also describe it in detail. Think Sherlock Holmes with Carrie Bradshaw’s knowledge of footwear.

Through team identity crises (Great Lakes Avengers/X-Men/Initiative/Champions?) and battles against S&M slaves and killer Christmas trees, Flatman has (not really) left his mark on the Marvel Universe for better or worse:

1050235-flatman10Flatman knows the importance of gayming: In the time leading up to the incident in Stamford that begat the superhero civil war, Squirrel Girl was romantically involved with the New Warrior, Robbie Baldwin (a.k.a. Speedball). Following the tragedy in Connecticut and Speedball’s downward spiral of self-loathing, Doreen sought out the advice of her teammates, Flatman and Mr. Immortal. What could possibly dissuade a gay superhero from discussing boy trouble with his adorable co-Avenger? Obviously, a trip to Game Stop an all-night video gaming binge!

LivlightFlatman is supportive of his fellow LGBT brothers and sisters: Prior to his own coming out moment, Val Ventura was approached by Miguel Santos (a.k.a. Living Lightning) about joining the GLA. At this point in time, the Great Lakes Avengers were in the midst of a feeble recruitment drive and dwindling numbers on their roster. Unfortunately, Living Lightning’s interest in joining the organization immediately diminished when it was brought to his attention that GLA was actually an acronym for Great Lakes Avengers and not the Gay/Lesbian Alliance.

image5Flatman’s coming out story totally got one-upped “Penelope” style: Despite a love for Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blanks, Dr. Ventura was always quite adamant about being as straight as an arrow. Following a quarrel with their brief and former teammate, Leather Boy, fellow GLA member, Doorman, questioned the connection between the Greenwich Village, S&M, and the gay community. This led to Val unleashing a verbal rant about how not all gay men are into bondage while some heterosexual couples are. The tirade culminated with Flatman coming out of the closet to his supportive co-Avengers all the while Mr. Immortal arrived at the realization that he was “homo superior,” the next step in human evolution, thus stealing the thunder from Val’s big moment.

image2Flatman represents the fangurrrl in all of us: Super villains attacking the  downtown convention center in a random Wisconsin city isn’t something that happens every day. With that said, when a new incarnation of the Ani-Men did just that, Flatman and the GLA hopped in the Avengers Quin-Jetta with the intention of saving the day. You can imagine their disappointment to find that the A-list Avengers were already on the scene. Not one to let being benched ruin his day, Val squee-ed with delight over the opportunity of watching Hawkeye do what he does best.

image6Flatman knows the importance of “leaving something to the imagination”: The GLA’s most memorable battle was against Maelstrom as the super villain attempted to destroy the universe and all of reality (aren’t they all?). Following the team’s success, Flatman was apparently pulled from Big Bertha’s arms and into the vortex that Maelstrom had created leaving the larger-than-life supermodel/hero devastated. To everyone’s relief, the destructive phenomenon only claimed Dr. Ventura’s uniform, leaving the hero in nothing but his hirsute glory. Thanks to his flattened form, Val was able to remain modest and hide his naughty bits from impressionable eyes. It was a true “won’t someone think of the children?” moment. Conservative prudes everywhere rejoiced but then remembered that Dr. V doesn’t like “the v.”

image7Flatman has been where few superheroes have been before: Always on the lookout for new members, Flatman and the GLA (now the GLI) welcomed Deadpool to their ranks, as a reserve member, following the battle with Maelstrom. Within no time, the “Merc with a Mouth” wore out his welcome, engaging enemies with a copious amount of plastic explosives, watching nothing but porn and Maude on television, and becoming infatuated with teammate, Big Bertha. Unsure of how to breach the subject of evicting Wade from the premises and the team, Flatman attempted to verbally reason with him during bath time. In the end, Deadpool was no closer to resigning from the GLI and Dr. Ventura was left wishing that his body did not share a similar width to a bath towel.

image3Flatman shares our love for New York City: In a brief moment of lucid and smart-thinking, the GLA concluded that the best place to seek out recruits for their team was good ol’ New York City. Upon the arrival of their Amtrak train at Penn Station, Val sighed his adoration for the Big Apple and corrected Doorman’s presumption that the entire island of Manhattan smells like urine. Apparently, the acrid stench is actually only confined to 7th and 31st.

image1Flatman and his fellow Great Lakes Avengers have always represented the core of what makes a super hero super. No matter how pathetic or useless you may appear to others, true heroics always stem from the good intentions of a noble heart. For as long as there are superheroes like Dr. Val Ventura and his ragtag group of bizarre rejects, the villains of the Marvel Universe will always have a force to reckon with.

For further reading, see GLA: Misassembled by Dan Slott

Follow Shaun N. on Twitter at @datura1979.





Silk Stalkings.

6 02 2015

Silk-Spider-Gwen-850x560*Disclaimer: Unfortunately, this article has nothing to do with the wonderfully salacious 90s television series that starred Mitzi Kapture and Rob Estes.*

Spider-Verse is rapidly approaching its conclusion and it will, undoubtedly, result in a final culling of the various Spiders that have banded together to battle the Inheritors. Once the dust settles and the dead are mourned, one thing is certain, the Marvel Universe will be +2 in regards to female-led titles. Notable newcomers to the Spider-Man mythos, Silk and Spider-Woman (Gwen Stacy) are set to star in their own ongoing runs beginning this month.

For those readers not in the know, here is a brief origin breakdown of both characters:

Cindy Moon (a.k.a. Silk) was in high school when she happened to attend the same exhibition as Peter Parker when he was bitten by the radioactive spider that resulted in him gaining his powers. Coincidentally, after biting Peter’s hand, the same spider went on to bite Cindy’s ankle before dying. Once her powers manifested, Cindy was briefly trained by Ezekiel Sims before being locked away upon the discovery that the Inheritor, Morlun, was tracking her. Following the release of Uatu the Watcher’s secrets, Peter Parker discovered the existence of Cindy and, bearing false news of Morlun’s demise, released Cindy from the bunker.

Gwen Stacy (a.k.a. Spider-Woman, dubbed Spider-Gwen by fans and Marvel editorial) originates from Earth-65. In this reality, not only is Gwen a member of Mary Jane Watson’s band, she was also the one bitten by the radioactive spider and developed super powers. Following a failed experiment in order to become “special” like Gwen, Peter Parker mutated into a lizard-like monstrosity only to perish following a confrontation with Gwen. This would lead to Spider-Gwen being wanted by her father, the head of the NYPD, and local authorities.

With the recent loss of both She-Hulk and Elektra, perhaps these ladies can help fill the void left behind on the monthly pull list. But, what is a Strong Female Spider without a Spider Rogues Gallery. Thanks the the long history of Peter Parker and the various empowered folks that team up with him on a daily basis, Silk and Spider-Gwen may not have long to rest, after their current battle, before a Strong Female Villain comes calling.

Who deserves to be the recurring nemeses of Silk and Spider-Gwen? Here is a who’s-who dossier on some of the obvious and not-so-obvious dastardly vixens that would probably enjoy a row with one or both of our new Spider-heroines:

1703387-shriek_._amazing_spider_man_393_vFrances Louise Barrison/Sandra Deel (a.k.a. Shriek): Following years of abuse at the hands of her mother, drug use, a gunshot wound to the head, and obtaining powers of sound/emotion manipulation while trapped in Cloak’s dark dimension, it’s no wonder that Shriek’s sanity leaves a lot to be desired. Introduced during the Maximum Carnage event, Frances escaped Ravencroft mental institution with Carnage and, together with their “adopted children” (Carrion, Demogoblin, and Doppelgänger), took part in a homicidal murder spree throughout New York City. This was obviously thwarted by Spider-Man and co. Later, she attempted to force her “son”, Carrion, to kill his birth mother in order to be acknowledged as his true mother. Most recently, following a reunion with Carnage where the couple was pursued by Deadpool, Shriek was hired by Owl and Boomerang to join the ranks of the Sinister Sixteen.

1532411-ruby_thursdayThursday Rubinstein (a.k.a. Ruby Thursday): A member of a villainous team of geniuses, the Headmen, Thursday Rubinstein developed a surgical procedure to replace the head of a human with a malleable, organic computer. Her early encounters with the Defenders and She-Hulk would solidify her as a formidable foe. Later, she would survive an assassination attempt by Bullseye and battle Hellcat during the events of Civil War. At one point, Ruby was broken out of The Raft by Wolverine to assist him in taking down Romulus. This plan was foiled when Romulus threatened the life of Ruby’s daughter, forcing her to turn on Logan and impale him with the spiked tentacles which she was able to mold from her head. Her recent attempt to assist Dr. Bong in opening the multiverse was stopped by a surprisingly silent Spider-Man (laryngitis can’t keep a good hero down).

482801-ff1Elizabeth Rawson (a.k.a. Knockout), Danielle Forte (a.k.a. Mindblast), Beatta Dubiel (a.k.a. Bloodlust), and Leeann Foreman (a.k.a. Whiplash): The quartet known as the Femme Fatales’ first physical encounter with Spider-Man came when the women were hired to attack a Baltic ambassador’s plane as it arrived in New York City. Knockout’s superhuman strength coupled with Bloodlust’s feral ferocity, Mindblast’s telekinesis, and Whiplash’s retractable whips almost proved too much for Peter Parker to handle. Nevertheless, they were defeated and went on to join Superia’s Femizons in their battle against Captain America. Following the events of M-Day, Bloodlust was depowered but Mindblast retained her mutant abilities, joining Caroline Le Fay’s Doom Maidens and recently being spotted in Madripoor. The whereabouts of Whiplash and Knockout remain unknown.

202163-45888-aspCleo Nefertiti (a.k.a. Asp): The mutant villainess known as Asp has the ability to generate bioelectric energy blasts that cause both paralysis and death in her targets. As a member of the Serpent Society, Cleo has battled the likes of Alpha Flight, Captain America, and the Eternal, Sersi. During the Dark Reign era, Asp was picked by Norman Osborne to serve as part of Delaware’s Initiative team and took part in the assault against Asgard. Despite her criminal past, she has proven loyalty to her friends, namely the reformed villain, Diamondback. Her staunch opposition to the Superhero Registration Act led to her joining Captain America’s team of “Secret Avengers” during the Civil War event. All good deeds aside, Asp was most recently prevented from completing a bank heist by the mutant messiah, Hope Summers.

177788-22950-calypsoCalypso Ezili: The psychotic Haitian voodoo priestess known as Calypso gained her mind control and resurrection abilities after sacrificing her younger sister. Early appearances saw Calypso associated with Kraven the Hunter and she found sport in fueling his hatred of Spider-Man. To her dismay, this would lead to Sergei’s suicide. Later, she asserted her influence over Curt Connors, the villain known as the Lizard. Together, the duo almost successfully killed Peter Parker. Still distraught over Sergei Kravinoff’s suicide, she went on to attack his illegitimate son, Aloysha. Following her defeat at the hands of Spider-Man and the Hunter’s son, she was taken into custody by Aloysha under the guise of acquiring information about his father. Instead, the priestess was slain by Kravinoff. As she has demonstrated a regenerative ability in the past, it is likely that her demise is not permanent.

scorpiaspdrmn1Elaine Colls (a.k.a. Scorpia): While undergoing psychological treatment at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital, Elaine Colls was recruited by Silverman to retrieve the cyborg, Deathlok. An enhanced suit worn by the original Scorpion was given to her and she attempted to complete the mission with Beetle and Hydro-Man. The ambush was stopped by Spider-Man despite Elaine proving herself to be quite a competent enemy. She later sought revenge against Silvermane, after her employer betrayed her, and went on to join the Sinister Six in order to prevent Peter Parker’s clone, Kaine, from killing any more of Spider-Man’s rogues. During her attack on Carnegie Hall, in order to fulfill an assassination order by a local drug cartel, Elaine was defeated by both Spider-Man and Black Cat. Her last know location was within the ranks of the Doom Maidens as they battled Valkyrie and her Fearless Defenders.

150827-44979-gypsy-mothSybil Dvorak (a.k.a. Gypsy Moth/Skein): Raised by Gypsies, the mutant known as Gypsy Moth possesses the ability to telekinetically manipulate fibers and fabrics. An actor filming a remake of Dracula in Romania wooed the young woman and brought her back to America. It wouldn’t take long before fears about her lover’s infidelity began to boil over, resulting in Sybil attacking various social gatherings in Hollywood. A confrontation with Jessica Drew at one such gathering would lead to a long-standing rivalry between Gypsy Moth and Spider-Woman. Much later she joined Hawkeye’s team of Thunderbolts. Her decision to eventually leave the group was due to her inability to seduce Songbird, a challenge that she had set for herself. Like Asp, Sybil was a member of Delaware’s Initiative team during Norman Osborne and H.A.M.M.E.R.’s time in power. As of late, she has teamed up with the White Rabbit as part of the Menagerie, a group of animal-themed super villains. Spider-Man was able to prevent the team from completing a diamond heist in Manhattan.

378072-81106-quicksandQuicksand: The Vietnamese villainess known only as Quicksand was once a scientist employed at a nuclear facility. An onsite accident granted her powers similar to Spider-Man’s nemesis, Sandman. In retaliation for her transformation, Quicksand attacked the nuclear reactor of the plant in an attempt to cause a meltdown. This disaster was prevented by the arrival of Thor when the Asgardian hurled the entire facility into another dimension. During the superhuman civil war, Quicksand was apprehended by the Thunderbolts and registers under the Superhero Registration Act. After escaping from The Raft during the Fear Itself event, fisticuffs would ensue between Quicksand and former Initiative members, Thor Girl and Cloud 9 in Philadelphia.

Regardless as to what villains emerge from their hidey holes to scrap with the new webslingers, it is certain that they will have their work cut out for them. Both Silk and Gwen have been thrown right into the proverbial deep end of the pool in the current battle against the Inheritors. Let’s see if they can keep swimming.

What baddies would you like to see make the ranks of Silk and Spider-Gwen’s rogues gallery. Feel free to voice your wishes in the comments section!

Follow Shaun N. on Twitter at @datura1979.





2014: The Year in “X”.

9 01 2015

It’s pretty easy to understand why many LGBT geeks are drawn to the X-Men and their long-standing crusade for acceptance, tolerance, and coexistence. The parallels between the plight of Marvel’s mutant characters and the LGBT community are undeniable. As an avid fan of the characters and stories, I found it fitting to ring in the new year with a reflection on 2014’s memorable exploits of the Children of the Atom. Here they are… the good, the bad, and the questionable:

Click here to visit Geeks OUT for the full article.





Destination: Bitch Planet

9 12 2014
"Bitch Planet" by Kelly Sue DeConnick (w) and Valentine de Landro (a)

“Bitch Planet” by Kelly Sue DeConnick (w) and Valentine de Landro (a)

Criminally Non-Compliant women are shipped from Earth to a prison planet by a society that deems them unfit or too problematic for our world.

No, this is not a description of the Republican party’s ultimate wet dream. It is the new Image Comics title from Pretty Deadly and Captain Marvel scribe, Kelly Sue DeConnick. Bitch Planet, with art from Valentine de Landro, hits shelves on December 10th and pays homage to some of the classic “women in prison” exploitation films of the late 60s and 70s.

Decades before Orange is the New Black became a household name and the darling of Netflix’s streaming media catalog, grindhouse theaters screened films such as Caged Heat, Women in Cages, and The Big Bird Cage as part of double-features or all-night bills. Known for their low budget and explicit content, exploitation films, and the “women in prison” sub genre, have arguable historical importance and may or may not have paved the way for some of the rough-and-tumble female bruisers that we see in our comic books and on television today.

Pam Grier in Roger Corman's "Women in Cages".

Pam Grier in Roger Corman’s “Women in Cages”.

While most, if not all, of the films from this category are sadly only known for visually catering to sexual fetishism (bondage, S&M, voyeurism), film historians and many feminists argue against this being the only merit to remember. The female characters in these movies range from the brutal to the victimized and are often imprisoned falsely or for non-violent crimes by a patriarchal society… the same sort of society that would sooner force a woman to spend her waking hours in a kitchen rather than earning equal pay for work.

tumblr_ndt76uhZkJ1qz6egko1_500Nine times out of ten, the films end with the imprisoned women powerfully uprising to attain justice for the sadistic abuse they endured and achieve freedom at any cost. By the time the credits roll, the women are empowered and their captors eliminated.

Already receiving glowing reviewsBitch Planet‘s arrival couldn’t have been timed better. With women constantly on the proverbial chopping block with political rulings such as the infamous “Hobby Lobby” decision, books like Kelly Sue’s newest endeavor and the now-cult-status-level films that preceded it will always be important to not only give a proverbial middle finger to patriarchal society, but to prove that women will never back down… even when physically or metaphorically caged.

 





Porcelain: What Is The Secret?

3 12 2014

From the bisexual Catman to the lady-loving bruisers, Scandal Savage and Knockout. Readers familiar with Gail Simone and/or her previous run on the villain-centric DC title, Secret Six, know that she is not one to shy away from diversity in her titles. Today’s long-awaited release of the New 52 iteration of the book looks to be as inclusive as its predecessor.

(L to R) Black Alice, Strix, and Porcelain

(L to R) Black Alice, Strix, and Porcelain

To sum up the first issue, we see a group of kidnapped villains waking up together in a windowless cell as part of some social/psychological experiment. None have any idea how they arrived in their present location or who brought them there. Among the deviants are familiar faces, Catman and Black Alice, as well as Batgirl’s deranged nemesis, Shauna Belzer (a.k.a. The Ventriloquist) and the Court of Owls assassin, Strix.

One of the new faces in this group is Kani (a.k.a. Porcelain) a metahuman whose power manifestation causes physical matter turn brittle. Physically speaking and in comparison to the gothic bombshell, Black Alice, Porcelain comes across as androgynous. This is further perpetuated by the fact that, on the cover of the first issue, Kani bears a striking resemblance to the legendary Miss Grace Jones.

Catman meets Porcelain

Catman meets Porcelain

In addition to the character’s striking physical appearance, readers are given quite an interesting exchange of dialog between Catman, Porcelain, and Big Shot (another captive). Catman addresses Porcelain as “mister” but this “error” is immediately corrected by Big Shot. Instead of confirming gender, Kani merely says, “Let’s not say things we can’t take back.”

Given what we know of Gail Simone, her consistent championing of LGBT inclusiveness, and the inclusion of Alysia Yeoh, a transgender character, in the pages of Batgirl, it is not beyond reason to wonder if Porcelain could be another transgender character or, perhaps more likely, a genderqueer character.

Whatever secrets and development unfold with regards to Porcelain, Secret Six will surely be chock full of character variety and fantastic storytelling.





A Place Both Wonderful and Strange… and a Little Bit Queer.

22 10 2014

“Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black coffee.”

Aficionados of the groundbreaking and short-lived television series, Twin Peaks, have undoubtedly found resonance in that indelible quote from the charismatic Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). However, in this instance, the month of October saw series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost bestow said presents onto their loyal fan base. Not only was a third season set to debut in 2016, but an accompanying novel (penned by Mr. Frost) would reveal the fates of the town’s memorable denizens since we last saw them… twenty-five years ago.

To say that the characters and situations introduced in the brief, original run of Twin Peaks were peculiar would be an understatement. Referring to them as “queer” might be a bit more on point. This is not to say that the mysterious little haven in the Pacific Northwest was teeming with homosexual activity. It merely suggests that the basic definition of “queer” ( adj: differing in some odd way from what is deemed usual or normal) is arguably more appropriate.

However, amid the murders, dancing dwarves, and cryptic giants, the series still managed to serve up some LGBT-centric queer moments… and some damned good cherry pie.

Catherine Martell: From head-bitch-in-charge to scheming Asian businessman.

Catherine Martell: From head-bitch-in-charge to scheming Asian businessman.

The character of Catherine Martell (flawlessly portrayed by Piper Laurie) is remembered for many things… blackmail, attempted arson, accounting fraud, enslaving her sister-in-law, faking her own death, dressing up in full Asian businessman drag in order to swindle a plot of land out from under her ex-lover’s feet. Yes, Catherine “Tojamura” Martell… crossplaying before it was cool. So dedicated was she to her cause that Catherine altered not only her gender, she managed to tweak her stature, mannerisms, and voice. Her transformation so well-done that most newbie viewers were completely unaware of Tojamura’s true identity until the big reveal.

During the second season, the cast of Twin Peaks added to its ranks an actor who would eventually go on to portray one of the most famous FBI agents in sci-fi television… David Duchovny. It is perhaps this reason that he is best known for the role of Fox Mulder on The X-Files instead of a DEA agent on Twin Peaks.

What was so special about David Duchovny portraying a DEA agent on a television series that regularly featured characters from federal law enforcement agencies? His character was one of few (only?) openly trans characters on television at the time.

Denise Bryson arrives in Twin Peaks.

Denise Bryson arrives in Twin Peaks.

It is never made explicitly clear as to whether or not Denise Bryson self-identifies as transgender. However, it should be noted, that the character presents herself as a woman in both her professional and personal life. In fact, the only time that viewers see Denise revert back to Dennis is during a sting operation when the agent had to disguise herself.

The casting of a transgender character on a network television series during the 90s was pretty groundbreaking and it was both surprising and refreshing to see the character used in a way that was not just a punchline for a joke. In fact, she had some pretty heroic moments. Dale Cooper’s future could have turned out quite bleak without his old friend’s intervention.

Sexual activity was pretty fluid in the tiny hamlet of Twin Peaks. Physical affairs were sparked left, right, and sideways. None of this is more evident than with the character of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee)… the emotionally tortured homecoming queen whose death in the pilot episode ignited one of the most memorable murder mysteries in television history.

Laura Palmer with Ronette Pulaski and Teresa Banks at the Blue Diamond Motel.

Laura Palmer with Ronette Pulaski and Teresa Banks at the Blue Diamond Motel.

It is probably unfair to label Laura Palmer as bisexual. However, it was strongly implied during the events of Fire Walk With Me that she had a physical relationship with both Ronette Pulaski (Phoebe Augustine) and Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley). Jennifer Lynch’s companion piece, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer, also alluded to the fact that she was carrying on a tryst with Josie Packard (Joan Chen) during their English tutoring sessions.

Flash-forward to twenty-five years later. Fans are on the cusp of revisiting the town of Twin Peaks. Much has changed in the country with regards to LGBT rights and representation. It is pretty safe to assume that these advancements, in some way, will be reflected in the third season of Twin Peaks as David Lynch has never been one to shy away from LGBT themes in his work (Mulholland Drive).

 





Strong Female Character: Lila @#$%ing Cheney!

2 10 2014
A preview of David Lopez's art for "Captain Marvel" #9 (feat. Lila Cheney).

Preview of David Lopez’s art for “Captain Marvel” #9 (feat. Lila Cheney).

In a recent interview with CBR, “80s fairy tale rock opera” were the exact words that Captain Marvel scribe, Kelly Sue DeConnick, used in reference to the title’s upcoming 9th issue.

If you are fortunate enough to remember the magical decade known as the 80s, images of punk rockers, studded belts, glitter, neon-colored jelly bracelets, leather motorcycle jackets, teased hair, ripped fishnet stockings, and smudged eyeliner should be swirling through your mind.

What Marvel character epitomizes everything that was glamorously trashy and decadent about the 80s? There is only one. She’s British… she’s an intergalactic teleporter… she’s a mutant rockstar… she’s Lila Cheney. Yes, as confirmed by Marvel’s November solicits, Sam Guthrie’s former flame is set to cross paths with the (now) spacefaring Carol Danvers.

Newer comic book readers (and others that have been living under a wet stone) may be asking “Who is Lila @#$%ing Cheney?” In preparation for November’s issue of Captain Marvel, five of Lila’s “better than everyone else in the Marvel Universe” moments have been gathered below:

Lila Cheney's first appearance ("New Mutants" Annual #1).

Lila Cheney’s first appearance (“New Mutants” Annual #1).

1) The Bill Sienkiewicz cover of New Mutants Annual #1: The world’s first glimpse of Lila was courtesy of Bill Sienkiewicz’s stunning cover artwork for New Mutants Annual #1. The cover, featuring a Siouxsie Sioux-looking Lila with Sam Guthrie (a.k.a. Cannonball) at her side, is an obvious homage to other cinematic artwork (Conan the BarbarianStar Wars). However, instead of the female appearing in the submissive role, Lila is the alpha dog and Sam has become the “damsel in distress”.

2) Meeting Mrs. Guthrie for the first time: It should be common knowledge to X-Men fans that Sam Guthrie hails from America’s heartland… the ultra-Conservative and redder- than-a-candy-apple state of Kentucky. You can imagine Sam’s mortification when Lila showed up to meet the matriarch of the Guthrie family looking like a Jem and the Holograms groupie doing the walk of shame.

Lila meets Mrs. Guthrie in "New Mutants" #42.

Meeting Mrs. Guthrie in “New Mutants” #42.

In the end, her appearance was revealed to be a ruse after she teleported away to change into a more demure ensemble. Her goal was to determine whether or not Sam would ever be ashamed of her, their relationship, or their obvious differences. The family introductions went off without a hitch and Lila would remain friendly with Mrs. Guthrie for many years to come.

(side note: Parallels to LGBT relationships can easily be made throughout this memorable scene.)

3) Dazzler tried to upstage Lila so Ms. Cheney threatened to fire her ass: Despite growing anti-mutant sentiment, the events of Dazzler: The Movie saw the disco queen “come out” as a mutant to the public. Needless to say, it ruined Alison’s career and she was forced into hiding… as a backup singer for Lila Cheney’s band. Following a concert in San Francisco, the disembodied psionic mutant, Malice, took possession of Dazzler and began to influence her behavior.

Dazzler takes over lead vocals in "Uncanny X-Men" #214.

Dazzler takes over lead vocals in “Uncanny X-Men” #214.

Some time later, as Lila’s tour was in full swing, Dazzler (Malzzler/Dazzlice) attempted to usurp the role of lead vocalist from Lila. Claiming to only be concerned for Dazzler’s safety, Lila threatened to sack the singer should she ever try shenanigans like that again. Truthfully, we all knew that Lila rightfully didn’t like sharing the spotlight.

Lila Cheney and Deathbird... badass babes with big guns ("Uncanny X-Men #276).

Lila Cheney and Deathbird… bad, beautiful babes with really big guns (“Uncanny X-Men #276).

4) That time she was recruited by Deathbird and had a really big gun: At one point, occasional Shi’ar Empress, Deathbird, elicited the help of Lila Cheney after the former witnessed Charles Xavier laying waste to planets within the Empire.

Being an intergalactic teleporter proved most useful as Lila used her powers to collect the X-Men at Deathbird’s behest. In the end, it was revealed that Xavier and his lover, Lilandra, had been replaced by Warskrulls who had seized the opportunity to attack Shi’ar alien races. The invaders were defeated and the real heroes rescued from their confinement.

It was never revealed whether or not Lila and Deathbird had raided Cable’s weapon stockpile to obtain the insane hardware that they so proudly wielded.

5) She played a flying monkey in Mojo’s production of The Wizard of Oz: Hoping for some r&r at her Malibu beach house, Lila was surprised to see that her bodyguard, Guido, had invited an amnesiac Dazzler to stay with them.

Lila Cheney... the true star of Mojo's "The Wizard of X" ("X-Men" #7).

Lila Cheney… the true star of Mojo’s “The Wizard of X” (“X-Men” #10).

The rag tag group of mutants  soon had a few more uninvited guests… first in the form of Longshot, who came seeking Dazzler’s help back in his home world, the Mojoverse. Next, came the sorceress, Spiral, in an attempt to convince Lila to teleport them all to safety. Unbeknownst to Lila, her powers had been altered, resulting in her, Longshot, and Dazzler all being sent to the Mojoverse.

The X-Men were summoned to help their teammates but soon ended up as prisoners of Mojo, themselves. With his love of televised entertainment unquenchable, Mojo produced The Wizard of X… starring the X-Men. Lila’s big, onscreen moment came when she was coerced into attacking the show’s Dorothy (Longshot).

Mojo was eventually defeated and his grip over the Mojoverse transferred to Mojo II: The Sequel.

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Carol Stardust and the Flerkins from Mars (David Lopez’s cover artwork for “Captain Marvel” #9).

Most recently, Lila had been seen in the company of David Haller, the mutant known as Legion. She assisted him in his mission to wipe mutantphobia from Great Britain (Si Spurrier’s X-Men Legacy #13-14) and has since been off-the-grid.

Details have been quite scarce as to the story behind Lila’s upcoming appearance in Captain Marvel. Judging by what Kelly Sue has done with the title, thus far, readers can be sure to expect quite a stellar ride! Afterall, it’s not every day that Carol Danvers gets done up in full Ziggy Stardust makeup!








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