the moloids

6

PRIDE MONTH CHALLENGE → [1 of 4] Underappreciated Characters

↳ Tong of the Future Foundation

Brothers. I have this thing, and now you will have it as well. It will be ours, and we will find out what ownership of this thing means. I have a girl inside of me. I tried to be a boy like you, but there is no boy here. And I do not wish to be what I am not any longer. This is unexpected? It is unexpected. And scary. And wonderful. It is new. Who I am…is new. My brothers: you have a sister. (x)

Representation of Trans Coming Out Narratives

One narrative that is exclusive to LGBTQ+ individuals is that of coming out. A coming out narrative can be especially important for trans representation as it tend to be the only way to tell audiences that a specific character is trans. With a gay character, they could be shown flirting with or kissing someone of the same gender without needing a character to explicitly state “I’m gay.”

Mainstream comics have had a few different approaches to coming out stories. One of the most simple coming out moments in comics is the character of Alysia Yeoh from Batgirl. Alysia was the roommate of Barbara Gordon (Batgirl). In the comic (Batgirl Vol. 4, Issue 19),  Barbara was giving an explanation of how she had been attacked by a supervillain and spent a large portion of time in a wheelchair. After Barbara’s own emotionally charged confession, Alysia states to Barbara that she is trans. Barbara’s only reaction is to tell Alysia to call her Babs because “the people I love call me Babs.” The coming out moment is intimate yet warm.

Another coming out scene that was simple yet intimate was the character of Tong from FF. Tong is a young moloid, a subterranean species of creatures often seen throughout the Marvel universe who have been exclusively portrayed as male. Tong and her brothers lived with Fantastic Four in their school, the Future Foundation. In the issue (FF vol. 2 Issue 6), Tong states to her brothers that she feels like she is a girl instead of a boy like her brothers. Tong’s brothers then embrace her, bringing Tong to tears.

Over in the category of not coming out, there is the character of Koi Boi/ Ken Shiga from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Ken has never explicitly come out as trans, but has been shown wearing a binder in a panel from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2 Issue 9 and has confirmed to be trans by the artist/ the character’s co-creator Erica Henderson on Twitter. Henderson stated that she and writer of the comic Ryan North never wanted to do a “very special issue” about Ken being trans.


Citations:

[Simone, Gail (w), Sampere, Daniel (p), Glapion, Jonathan (i), Deering, Marc (i).] “A Blade from the Shadows” Batgirl, Vol. 4 #17 (2015). [DC Comics].

[Fraction, Matt (w), Quinones, Joe (p/i).]  “Save the Tiger.“ FF, Vol. 2 #6 (Apr. 2013). [Marvel Comics].

[North, Ryan (w), Henderson, Erica (p), Fowler, Tom (i).]  “I Kissed A Squirrel And I Liked It, Part Two.” The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 2 #9 (Jun. 2016). [Marvel Comics].

Still Can't Get Enough She-Hulk? Here Are Some Hidden Gems

Let me tell you about some of the BEST She-Hulk stories not already mentioned in my Brief History of the Lady Liberators and She-Hulk trades recommendations.

This is by no means a complete list of She-Hulk appearances, just my favorites. Got your own favorites? Let me know!

Marvel Team-Up #107 (1981) — A team-up with Spider-Man from the “Savage She-Hulk” days. What makes the story so great is the villainess — MAN KILLER, a fierce misandrist who wants to smash male-dominated society!

Spidey Super Stories #50 (1981) — Okay, so it’s a non-canonical children’s comic. But it has Jen defending the Rhino in court only to end up fighting him on the streets, and proving herself WAY stronger than Spidey every step of the way. Classic fun.

Avengers #221-222 (1981) — Her whole time in the Avengers is full of fantastic character moments, but her biggest splash is her first recruitment to the team.

Marvel Two-In-One #88 (1982) — She-Hulk’s first meeting with the Thing! A really, really fun story in which She-Hulk’s hard-charging, sexually confident, hard-drinking, adrenaline-loving ways make Ben Grimm very uncomfortable. If you want She-Hulk speeding recklessly in a pink Cadillac, drinking hard liquor, and generally forcing the rest of the world to DEAL WITH IT, this is the one.

Marvel Graphic Novel #17: Revenge of the Living Monolith (1985) — A straight-up classic fun superhero team-up. The main heroes are Captain America, She-Hulk, and Spider-Man. Plus the cover features the Living Monolith destroying the World Trade Center, so there’s that.

Fantastic Four #275 (1985) — Also highlighted in my recommended trades. She-Hulk and Wyatt Wingfoot track down a pornographer who took nude photos of Jen sunbathing. Great single-issue adventure by John Byrne.

Fantastic Four #321 (1988) — I hesitated to include this one mainly because the entire concept of Sharon Ventura as Ms. Marvel/“She-Thing” is so godawful I’d like to forget it. But if we’re focusing on She-Hulk here, this is a nice combination of a super-slugfest that also showcases Jen’s ability to talk things out. Anyway, She-Hulk vs. She-Thing just had to happen, didn’t it?

Solo Avengers #14 (1989) — She-Hulk is arguing the biggest case of her legal career at the U.S. Supreme Court! But her arguments are repeatedly interrupted by Titania. A classic story by Chris Claremont & Alan Davis.

She-Hulk: Sensational #1 (one-shot) (2010) — A special published to celebrate Shulkie’s 30th anniversary, with three fun stories. Includes a Christmas Carol-inspired story in which She-Hulk meets Stan Lee; and a fun team-up story with Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman.

Avenging Spider-Man #7 (2012) — She-Hulk & Spider-Man team up to take on a mysterious force that seems to be coming from an Egyptian exhibit at the museum. Featuring lots of cats. A fun tale by Kathryn & Stuart Immonen.

FF #4 (2013) — The Moloids enlist aspiring young supervillain Bentley-23 to help them disrupt She-Hulk’s date with Wyatt Wingfoot! Lots of fun. She-Hulk was a member of the FF throughout Fraction & Allred’s all-too-brief 16 issues of this series, but this is the only one where Shulkie is central to the plot.

Got your own favorite She-Hulk stories? Let me know!

According to Marvel’s release schedule, January 22 will have the 16th and final issue of FF hitting the spinner racks and digital download sites.  This is an absolute travesty, but rather than lament this terrible loss perhaps it’s better to instead celebrate the 16 issues that we did get from this terrific, original, ground-breaking and heart-warming title that we did get.  

I propose that January 22nd be made an (un)official day of celebration for Fraction, Allred, Quinones, Allred, and Allred’s FF.  Please feel free to blog or re-blog as many FF posts as you feel comfortable with, highlighting your favorite moments, favorite characters, favorite Moloids, favorite whatevers, your hopes the characters’ futures in new comics, or wishes for a possible relaunch…  As many and as often as you like… all with the hashtag #FForever.  

This could be a fun exorcise, a sort of thank you card to the creators involved, as well as a means of letting Marvel (and the comic industry in general) know that there is still a significant audience out there for fun, smart, all-ages books like FF.

Thanks in advance to anyone and everyone who might chose to get involved with this project.

please signal boost :)

-Excelsior!