The Evolution of Extraño, DC’s First Openly Gay Superhero

June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month and the DC Universe as we know it today features batch of curious characters to be proud of. From Bunker in Teen Titans Academy to Crush in Crush & Lobo to Renee Montoya and Kate Kane in the Bat books, significant LGBTQ+ characters exist in abundance throughout DC ’ s ongoing comics. closely every current television show based on a DC koran features a big gay character. But it wasn ’ triiodothyronine always sol easily for an LGBTQ+ comic book proofreader to find themselves reflected in the DC Universe. For over fifty years, not a single openly gay superhero could be found on DC ’ randomness pages .
This changed in 1988 ’ sulfur “ Millennium ” event, when the Guardians of the Universe prepared Earth for the next stagecoach of its evolution by endowing cosmic exponent upon ten individuals who would shepherd humanness into a new era. One of these individuals was Gregorio De La Vega, a gay peruvian stage magician who coincidentally shares his surname with Zorro. The Guardians elevated De La Vega ’ s living room tricks to supreme sorcery, inspiring him to take on the name “ Extraño ” —the Spanish parole for “ Strange. ”

“Auntie” De La Vega

Created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Joe Staton, Extraño was identical open about his fagot identity. He tended to dress and speak in an overtly royal poinciana manner, insisting all the while that his team members call him “ Auntie. ” But then, subtlety didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate very play a lot of a function in New Guardians, particularly when it attempted to address the social issues of the 1980s. After all, this was a series which included a villain named Snowflame who gained powers through snorting cocaine—and another who gleefully spread HIV and called himself the “ Hemo-Goblin. ” Though well-intentioned and intended to reflect a more modern world, New Guardians does not stand the test of time. It was a series which may have stood to benefit from some sensitivity discipline.

When New Guardians was canceled in 1989, Extraño vanished along with it. But in his wake, many characters flush older than he became exposed about their own identities as gay men. This admit Obsidian, Infinity, Inc. extremity and son of the Green Lantern Alan Scott ; Tasmanian Devil, Australian representative of the Global Guardians ; and Pied Piper, reformed enemy of the Flash. As awkward in performance as many first steps are, Extraño helped pave the way for more diverse intimate representation throughout the DC Universe .

“No One’s Called Me That in Years—Fewer Lived”

For over 25 years, Extraño enjoyed retirement in obscureness. That changed in 2015, when Justice League of America and Supergirl writer Steve Orlando was called upon to write a limited series which would conclude the New 52 woo between Midnighter and Apollo. A curious author himself, Orlando felt it was time to bring back DC ’ s original gay character from oblivion to help celebrate DC ’ s foremost comedian headlined by an openly gay pair. Orlando introduces us to a Gregorio De La Vega who acts more coy with historic period, but who holds no less world power. De La Vega demonstrates passing familiarity with Midnighter and flush aids Midnighter ’ s travel into Hell to retrieve his love Apollo from Neron ’ randomness clutches. The matured De La Vega alludes to “ Extraño ” about as if he were some other man, as far from the person he is today in space as in time. He has made his home in Peru, where he practices brawny magic, and raises a young angelic daughter with his husband, Hugh—heavily implied to be tasmanian Devil of the Global Guardians.

De La Vega goes on to make an appearance in the concluding return of Orlando ’ sulfur Justice League of America, as part of Vixen ’ s newly founded proactive “ Justice Foundation. ” Thanks to Orlando ’ second reintroduction, De La Vega has returned to a role of bulge in the mysterious corners of the DC Universe, recently playing host to one of the Lords of Order in writer James Tynion IV ’ south Justice League Dark .
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As representation of a marginalized group matures, separate of the emergence serve much involves a see with symbols and icons used in the past—whether they come from malevolence, ignorance, or a simplify view which good doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate apply anymore. This reckon is resolved in one of two ways. They can cast away these symbols and icons, denying their ability. Or they can reclaim them, giving them newfangled meaning as they grow alongside the culture. By resurrecting and reinterpreting Extraño for Midnighter and Apollo, Steve Orlando chose the latter and he continues to grow and evolve Gregorio De La Vega as a character in this months LGBTQ+ anthology, DC Pride .
In the twenty-first Century, a character who was once a aureate pigeonhole is now a gallant husband and church father, an elder statesman of the community and a source of power, wisdom and respect. Estamos orgullosos de ser Extraño !

Check out Extraño in action alongside his old buddy Midnighter in DC Pride # 1, available in comic shops and digital retailers on June 8th ! Or check out where his development into today ‘s master of mysticism began in Midnighter and Apollo, now available on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE !

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