Marvel announced this week that longtime editor and Marvel fixture Axel Alonso would be taking over as Editor-in-Chief from Joe Quesada, who’s been in that role since comics were first chiseled onto stone tablets. Joe himself made the announcement, saying, “For over a decade, Axel’s been instrumental in bringing fresh new voices to Marvel and reinventing our biggest characters like Spider-Man, the X-Men, Wolverine and so many more. He’s fought to create unique imprints like Marvel MAX while also bringing fresh new voices to the Marvel family.”
“Fresh new voices” can often be code for “angry and/or flaming homosexuals,” so I started looking into Mr. Alonso’s work at Marvel. I noticed right away that one of the photos accompanying this news all over the web holds a pretty big clue. Check it out.
Look who’s peeking over Axel’s shoulder there. Yes, Scott Summers, of course. He’s always up in everyone’s business. No, I’m talking about the other shoulder. That’s the Rawhide Kid, one of the most bizarre gay characters in comics. If you recall, Rawhide Kid was re-introduced in a miniseries called “Slap Leather” back in 2003. A second miniseries, “The Sensational Seven,” was released this year. In “Slap Leather,” the venerable character was re-imagined as an effete dandy in the old west, who also just happened to be a famous gunslinger and hero. The whole story was played very broad, with innuendos flying faster than a Three’s Company episode. To this day, gays still aren’t entirely sure how to react to it. The press releases for Axel’s promotion describe it as “groundbreaking,” but I think most readers thought it was more “mindbreaking” or “headache-inducing,” a dated and quasi-offensive approach to an already dated character. Still, I suppose it’s progress that the Rawhide Kid is joining Axel on his press tour across the internet.
So, now that Axel’s the big man at Marvel, I’d like to make a suggestion. Put Rawhide Kid in X-Factor. Let Shatterstar and Rictor have a go at him. Or better yet, add him to the Northstar/Dazzler book I’ve been asking for. Or loan him out to DC. He’d make an excellent rival for Deadshot in Secret Six. One issue of Secret Six and he’d be a gritty, soulless killer who plays by his own rules and is afraid to let himself love again. That could happen in X-Factor, too, I suppose. It’ll just take longer.
Congratulations to Mr. Alonso on his promotion. I look forward to pestering him at Comic-Con with all my goofy questions.