Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

261 – Out of the Subtext, Live from FlameCon with Vita Ayala!

Art by David Wynne. Wanna buy the original? Drop him a line!

In which we return to our favorite convention; writer Vita Ayala remains an absolute legend; everything was always already queer; and nobody should ever have to wait 37 years for a kiss.

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  1. Another delightful live episodes, and on one of my favourite topics; SUBTEXT!

    Scans_Daily’s #2 mission statement is “It’s only subtext if it’s SUBTLE!” (#1 is “It’s never just you”) so this was great fun.

    I love that not only did Doug and Warlock get some focus, but the audience cheer that I heard when their names were mentioned warmed the cold slab of onyx which is my cynical little heart on a Monday.

    And yes, the ambiguity/fluid nature of their relationship was important to me as a younger reader, I knew long before then that I was a gay man, but never had that powerful an interest in doing anything about it, so seeing them as an actual couple or as close male friends (or male-ish in Warlock’s case) who were unahamed to be affectionate and tactile with each other, meant a great deal.

    I’m pleased that subtext, fun though it is, can now be replaced with text, though I do hope we haven’t seen the last of it (Well, until Johnny Storm is confirmed as bi I suspect we’re safe)

  2. My Fab Five:

    Food – Gambit
    Culture – Emma (both in terms of old version of culture and “you need to work your shit out” culture)
    Grooming – agreed on Kurt
    Design – Forge
    Fashion – agreed on Storm

  3. I didn’t know that about Maurice Sendak. I’ve loved his generous, gorgeous and funny art since the 80s. Jay, never be sorry about making me cry about heart-breaking stuff.

  4. During the panel, someone asked a question like “which X-Men characters would you have liked to be trans?”

    I’d like to suggest Danielle Moonstar as a trans girl.

    I know that various Native American cultures have been traditionally more accepting of trans people than mainsteam Western culture (though I don’t know how this applies to the Cheyenne Nation specifically, or modern-day Cheyenne in particular. And I don’t know if there there were issues with people being identified as “third gender” without consent). So having to leave the Cheyenne Nation to join the New Mutants would have meant Dani was suddenly walking into a culture that was potentially hostile to her based on transphobia, as well as the ways in which the USA had mistreated Native American people for so long. She would have even more reason to be unhappy at the start.

    The way that she uses variations in the costume to assert herself – different boots in her first appearance, adding turquoise jewellery, etc. would also have echoes for a lot of trans people of the way that clothing choices are a major part of our gender expression.

    And then, you’d have the fact that the rest of the team just accepted her and no-one, certainly not her friend Wolfsbane, displayed any transphobia to her. This sort of acceptance of a trans character by other characters on a team in fiction is SO, SO RARE. As a closet trans girl growing up, I never saw a single example of it.

    This would also add another layer of meaning to her becoming a Valkyrie – the “all Valkyries are female” rule meaning that Asgard implicitly said; “we respect this girl’s identity, we respect her self-identification, and you’ll notice that even the bad guys like Hela don’t misgender her at any point during the story. And no-one suggests that her birth assignment should disqualify her from becoming a Valkyrie.”

    (Hope that reads okay! It’s getting late and I’m stumbling over my choice of words.)

    1. (The bit about clothing choices was meant to include, e.g. furtively using a fountain pen to paint my nails when I thought I could get away with it, or choosing the least masculine tie I could when I had to wear one with my school uniform – I think lots of trans people will remember their own minor acts of “clothing rebellion!”)

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