Shade, Marvel’s First Superhero Drag Queen, Returns as Darkveil in Uncanny X-Men: Winter’s End

She appeared for one-and-a-bit panels in Iceman #4 by Sina Grace and Nathan Stockman

…and about four panels in Iceman #5. Shade, a mutant drag queen performer, with the power to open up pocket dimensions with the use of her fan – excellent for entrances. She initially introduced Dazzler to the stage, but soon she was running information to the mutant underground…

And then getting involved in the resulting fight.

Sina Grace talked to Popsugar about the character’s last-minute creation – and the overwhelmingly positive response he got, saying  “None of us spent much time thinking about the impact a visibly queer drag queen mutant would have on the audience.”

He also talked about his initial plans for her, ‘I landed on the story of a hero who is learning how to be a true ally, and how the most privileged often have the system’s most marginalized to thank for their safety’ and that ‘Shade helps Bishop, Emma Frost, Christian Frost, and the Morlocks stave off a group of murderous henchmen from attacking Mutant Pride. It’s very intentional who I placed on the front lines, thanklessly protecting a bunch of oblivious partygoers in the city where the Stonewall riots took place.’

As for Shade, she was a combination of a number of things. ‘I always toyed with the idea of a drag queen who becomes a reluctant hero, and I had an unused character in a Generation X proposal that never saw the light of day: a young girl named Shade who could create pocket voids (all for the “throwing shade” pun.) I quickly put the pieces together and sent series artist Nathan Stockman a sketch of what Shade would look like: a drag queen of color who had bold curves and a penchant for incorporating X-Men visual motifs into her “lewk.” She’d have green hair like Polaris, the X emblem on any corner of her body, and more pouches than every ’90s X-character combined.’

And how Marvel are doubling down to make her a serious Marvel character. Including a name change. ‘After some back and forth, the drag queen formerly known as Shade would like to be known from here on out as simply Darkveil. If Kitty Pryde can have multiple aliases like Shadowcat and Spryte, so can Darnell Wade aka Darkveil.’

She will also be appearing in the Iceman one-shot comic Uncanny X-Men: Winter’s End which will be collected in the subsequent Iceman trade paperback collection, ‘where Darkveil continues her iconic streak with a ’60s-inspired outfit emceeing Iceman’s birthday party, and gets a Marvel Hero Spotlight after the letters column’.

Winter’s End will be published by Marvel on March 15th. Iceman Vol 3 will be out for April 10th.

(W) Sina Grace (A) Nathan Stockman (CA) Javi Garron
Iceman and the X-Men get a special visitor from the future! An older Bobby Drake has come to the present to tell him to give up being a super hero. But what could have happened that would change Bobby Drake from the X-Men’s resident jokester to a morose mutant?
Rated T+In Shops: Mar 13, 2019

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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