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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Marvel Reveals Somnus, New LGBTQ Mutant Hero

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The upcoming Marvel's Voices: Pride #1 will celebrate the many LGBTQ+ characters in the Marvel Universe, and that includes a brand new hero. This Pride Month-themed anthology special will introduce Somnus, a mutant with deep ties to the X-Men.Somnus was created by writer Steve Orlando (Wonder Woman) and artist Luciano Vecchio. Named after the Roman god of sleep, this mutant hero has the power to control the dreams of others, though his abilities seem to have come at the cost of his own personal life. Marvel teases Somnus has a long-running history with the X-Men yet to be revealed, and once had a profound effect on the life of a fellow mutant. And with the mutant race enjoying a new utopia on Krakoa, Somnus finally has the chance to build a life for himself.

Orlando makes it clear Somnus is a very personal creation, one whose story draws on his own experiences and family history.

“Somnus, Carl Valentino, is inspired not only by my own family history, but by my experiences with past generations of LGBTQ+ folks from across the country, people I wouldn't have met without comics,” Orlando said in Marvel's press release. “While there is still plenty of work to do, we've also come a long way as a community. Somnus is a chance to explore how my own late queer relatives may have felt, living in more prejudiced times. He's also a chance to celebrate past generations as a whole and acknowledge the strides we've made that they may not have lived to see. And with the Krakoan era being one of relative utopia for mutantkind, Somnus will bring a fresh perspective, and respectful gut check, to the young mutants of the present who may not know just how hard some had to fight for all mutants have achieved. Within the story and without, Somnus will be a new, complex character carrying a message of respect, power, and vision.”

“Marvel’s Voices: Pride is ticking so many dream assignments for me! On top of doing the cover, a frame variant, and a story that I got to write myself, I also got to design a new queer character introduced in a story written by Steve Orlando,” Vecchio said. “I’m so happy to finally collaborate officially with Steve and I fell in love with Somnus’ concept and backstory right away. I got some input from him and editor Sarah Brunstad but also a lot of liberty to propose ideas. This time the design process itself felt almost like channeling. I wanted him to have an air of ‘man of your dreams,’ very charming and human but unreachable at the same time. Some visual elements are a mix of Mod fashion, a bit of Hellfire Gala influence, and a palette based on Etruscan vase art as a nod to the god he’s named after.”

Marvel is also releasing a series of Pride-themed variant covers over the course of June, spotlighting other LGBTQ+ heroes like Miss America Chavez, Valkyrie, Iceman, Wiccan and Hulkling, Black Cat. You can see all of artist Phil Jimenez's covers revealed in the slideshow gallery below:Marvel's Pride Month Covers Celebrate a Diverse Superhero UniverseSomnus will debut in Marvel's Voices: Pride #1 through a short story written by Orlando and drawn by Claudia Aguirre (Hotel Dare). That issue is slated to hit stores on June 23.

Marvel is also celebrating Pride Month by debuting the first LGBTQ+ Captain America. The limited series The United States of Captain America will introduce Aaron Fischer, a teen runaway who becomes the "Captain America of the Railways."

Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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