Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down for a long fireside chat* with one of my favorite co-hosts for one of my favorite queer x-men/comics-centric culture podcast. That co-host is Brett Mannes, and that podcast is Comic Book Queers: Legacy! Brett was a brilliant pleasure to talk to, and if you aren’t listening to his podcast, you’re doing everything wrong.
In part one, we dive into the LGBTQ+ as a community, DC books for X-fans, and The Magicians. In part two, we’ll dive deep into the history of CBQ: Legacy and how Bryan Singer ruined the X franchise at Fox.
Wanna read both parts at once? You’ll have to wait for the trade. (audible groans from the audience)
PALE PANDA: I’VE ALWAYS BEEN TOLD THAT X-FANS SHOULD USE A TITANS BOOK AS THEIR JUMPING ON POINT FOR THE DC UNIVERSE. OUT OF ALL YOUR “EWWW, WE READ A DC BOOK!” SEGMENTS WHICH SHOULD A HARDCORE X-FAN TRY TO USE AS A JUMPING IN POINT?
Well, Doom Patrol has always felt like DC’s X-Men to me and EvilJeff — a bunch of freaks shunned by society who live with their eccentric, morally gray (and wheelchair-bound) father figure.
From Grant Morrison’s classic run in the late 80s/early 90s to Gerard Way’s fun and fantastic current work, Doom Patrol has always felt like the lovable freaks hated and feared by a world they want to protect.
YOU GUYS TALK ALOT ABOUT THE TV SHOW THE MAGICIANS. WHAT’S A SHORT PITCH FOR GAY GEEKS TO WATCH GET CAUGHT UP WITH THE SHOW?
I could go on and on about this show. But here’s a short pitch:
- The best, most developed cast of characters since Buffy.
- Fun, wild ideas that turn fantasy on its head.
- A diverse, SEXY cast.
- Unexpected twists.
- Gayness and bisexuality wrote with nuance and respect.
- And it’s funny as hell.
Oh, plus boats that have sex with other boats. Season 3 is some of the best TV ever made.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FIRST MAJOR TEXTUALLY QUEER STORY IN THE MCU WILL OR SHOULD BE?
Honestly, this is sad, but I am not confident there will ever be a satisfactory queer story told in the MCU. I blame China.
But it looks like Eternals will feature a character who identifies as gay. so we’ll see!
As far as what it should be: I really would love to see a love story develop between Captain Marvel and Valkyrie. (I also think we’ll see MCU Maria Hill come out very soon.)
WHY DO YOU THINK THERE ARE ONLY A HANDFUL OF QUEER CREATORS THAT SEEM TO BE ALLOWED TO CREATE MAINSTREAM CONTENT?
I think there’s been a tradition of homophobia that’s been written into the DNA of Hollywood, the land of “people as products.” And, I think some of it came from self-loathing gay executives who thought the mainstream wouldn’t accept gayness (because they wouldn’t fully accept themselves).
Greg Berlanti, another fantastic gay creator, recently made that statement in an interview and I believe him. I mean, he created The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Titans, so I believe anything he says.
But, honestly, thank god for Ryan Murphy. He continues to put out important shows like Pose, which in my opinion, is the best show about queerness ever made.
YOU GUYS RECENTLY MADE 10 DREAM X-TEAMS. IF MARVEL WERE TO DO A TEAM BOOK FOCUSED ON QUEER CHARACTERS WHAT WOULD THAT DREAM-TEAM BE FOR YOU?
Hell yeah, it’s possible!
Psylocke, Northstar, Iceman, Anole, Morph, Hindsight, Karma, Bling!, Rictor, Shatterstar, and our fiercest ally — Dazzler!
Oh, and let’s throw Christian Frost on there so we have some Emma cameos.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSICAL EPISODE OF A TV SHOW AND WHY?
Oh, baby, it is so the musical episode from season 3 of The Magicians. It makes me cry every time I watch it.
In the Quest for the Seven Keys, the musical episode centers around the Unity Key. To get it, our heroes need to show unity … but they are scattered all over the country and across dimensions. So to bring them together (and save their lost member, Josh) Quentin Coldwater casts a spell so they all can sing Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” in each other’s heads. And it’s one of the sweetest, coolest TV segments ever.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT MODERN QUEER CULTURE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“I WOULD LOVE TO SEE MORE UNITY PERVADE LGBTQ+ CULTURE. WE ARE SPLINTERED, FRAGMENTED BECAUSE OUR INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES ARE SO DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER. WE EACH TAKE A LETTER. ”BRETT
This could be the fumes from my last answer talking, but I would love to see more unity pervade LGBTQ+ culture. We are splintered, fragmented because our individual experiences are so different from one another. We each take a letter.
As a white gay man, I have a very different experience than someone who is, say, gender queer, or someone who is part of an ethnic minority in America in addition to identifying as gay.
It’s admittedly odd to have lumped issues of sex and gender into the same acronym in the first place. But ultimately is that different?
We all feel left out of a heteronormative society. We all feel we are disappointing our parents lol. I wish the queer community was better at honoring each other’s unique experiences while staying united under that same feeling of being left out, cast aside, pointed at … while being fabulous as fuck.
Also, InstaGays have got to go.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU HATE THAT EVERYONE ELSE LOVES?
DC Comics. No, that’s an on-brand joke.
My real answer is animated Disney and Pixar films. (I know!) I hate the way they feel. Like, when I saw Up I had to watch Drag Me to Hell just to get the taste out of my mouth.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU LOVE THAT EVERYONE ELSE HATES?
The movie Southland Tales, the guy who did Donnie Darko’s follow-up to Donnie Darko.
- Here, and here’re two other moments The Magicians made me, personally, cry with music.
- “From the creator of Donnie Darko w/ SMG and The Rock” was enough to make me immaculately conceive at the time Southland Tales came out.
- Here is a time The Magicians made me use fast-forward because I’m a bad gay who hates Les Mis.
- * I was ostensibly somewhere near a fire when I was typing out the messages for this interview.