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Will Long-Lost Superhero Extraño Join National Coming Out Day?

Extrano-2-1 While science nerds are pondering the gay brain, comic book nerds should devote their resources to answering one of funny books' long-standing questions: Was Extraño gay?

Most comic book historians, a growing field, cite Marvel's Northstar as the first out mainstream hero. Others, however, argue that DC's magically powered Extraño, introduced as part of the 1988 crossover, Millennium, deserves some same-sex recognition.

There's much fuel for the rumors surrounding Extraño's sexuality. For example his over-the-top attire and flamboyant attitude, often featured for comedic effect, coupled with the English translation of his name, "Strange," had many fans wondering whether the character was a hit against homosexuals.

Though Extraño's image was eventually "butched up" a bit, his ambiguously gay backstory took a troubling turn when the hero was bitten by a "Hemo-Goblin," and later revealed to be HIV-positive. Writers never fully explained whether that goblin was the catalyst for his infection.

Extraño disappeared from DC's pages in 1992, but his legacy, and the mystery surrounding his private, off-page life, remains.

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  1. With a hairdo like THAT, I hope he isn't gay! LOL

    But he CAN go play drums for No Doubt.

    Posted by: Scott | Oct 11, 2010 2:56:54 PM

  2. I think Extrano counts. Northstar definitely isn't the first, but he may be the first openly stated gay comic book superhero (definitely a few gay villains preceded him). It's a good thing Mantelo didn't get his wish to kill Jean-Paul off with AIDS.

    Posted by: Luminum | Oct 11, 2010 2:57:31 PM

  3. Several comic book writers have portrayed The Joker as gay as far back as the early 80s. His behavior is frequently depicted more like Batman's scorned lover than as his arch nemesis.

    /comic book nerd

    Posted by: crispy | Oct 11, 2010 3:00:59 PM

  4. Bleeding Cool did an article on who the first gay comic character was and this is what their research found:

    Posted by: Kuhnsy | Oct 11, 2010 3:05:24 PM

  5. that character was nothing but a collection of sterotypes and offended not just gays and hispanics but readers in general.

    Posted by: Bob | Oct 11, 2010 3:34:19 PM

  6. extrano = who cares, let him rest as a horrible steriotype in the comic dustbin

    Freedom Ring had the potential of being a great gay comic character, an average non steriotype gay guy who Marvel killed off very brutally after only a few issues

    Northstar was handled very well

    Hulkling and Wiccan are handled very well

    Posted by: | Oct 11, 2010 4:09:11 PM

  7. I loved the mini-series, though it's become fashionable to hate it and somehow everyone in DC uni seems to have forgotten that humanity supposedly took an evolutionary leap recently (you know, with the tree, the gay guy, the walking computer, and the girl whose head is on fire - all the people you want to mate with).

    My hispanic friend says that Extrano also loosely translates to "queer," in both senses of the word. I can't stop laughing now about a team member whose name was essentially Fag. Fag, go get them! Chink and Jap, you go over there! N-word, power up! (My apologies for the offense)

    Posted by: Tigerama | Oct 11, 2010 5:16:30 PM

  8. Doesn't matter if Extrano was offensive, he was still the first. Facts are facts.

    Posted by: Nathan | Oct 11, 2010 5:27:04 PM

  9. I hate hipsters, gay or straight.

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 11, 2010 5:39:43 PM

  10. He's named "Extraño" as a dig at Marvel's Dr. Strange. His hair and his cape are overblown parodies of Strange's outfit.

    Posted by: Dave | Oct 11, 2010 6:59:26 PM

  11. he was clearly a parody of doctor strange, his appearance and even his name.

    Posted by: Caperboi | Oct 11, 2010 10:49:17 PM

  12. Extrano was at best a parody of Dr. Strange and at worst a parody of effeminate gays... I say we let him lie down and rest unless some really creative types have a way of bringing him back and making him viable.

    I still prefer the Element Lad/Shvaughn Erin/Sean Erin or the Lightning Lass/Shrinking Violet couples in the Five Years Later Legion of Super-Heroes for my LGBT stories in mainstream comics.

    Though props to Northstar, Obsidian, Wiccan, Hulkling, Question II, and Batwoman.

    Posted by: Darren | Oct 12, 2010 10:49:03 AM

  13. Was Extraño gay?

    Is the Flash fast?
    Is Wonder Woman feminine?
    Is Luke Cage black?
    Does great power come with great responsibility?
    Is it clobberin' time?
    Is Superman more powerful than a locomotive?
    Can characters come back from the dead?
    Is Wolverine the best there is at what he does?
    Does Hulk smash?
    Is Howard the Duck trapped in a world he never made?
    Will the Dynamic Duo escape from this diabolical death trap?

    There are many aspects of Extraño that are subject to debate, such as whether his inclusion in ghe Guardians was a good thing or a bad thing, whether he was a Dr Strange parody, etc. But was he gay? Unquestionably.

    Posted by: Jason A. Quest | Oct 13, 2010 7:32:27 PM

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