While there have been a few minor transgender characters in mainsteam comics in the last few years, we have yet to see one take centre stage – until now.
That will now change with Alters, a comic written by veteran Marvel writer Paul Jenkins. His credits include Inhumans, Spectacular Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk and the Wolverine origin story.
The essential premise is not dissimilar to X-Men, with a near-future setting focused on people with special abilities called Alters. And Chalice will be the main character.
Jenkins had this to say about the new comic: “She is living as Charlie Young, a middle brother of three who is worried that her transition is going to affect her family. Her folks are dealing with one son stricken with cerebral palsy. She has made the decision to begin her hormone therapy and is waiting for the right time to tell them – and this creates a clear ‘ticking clock’ for her.”
“However, I have tried to be clear that our book is not solely LGBT-centric. We have other Alters dealing with disadvantages or being marginalised: a homeless character, a shape-changer who breaks his neck, a character with PTSD and many more.”
The comic will be published by Aftershock, a relative newcomer to the comic book publishing scene. However, it has several talented people at the helm, including Mike Marts, a former Marvel executive, and Joe Pruett, an editor, publisher and former Marvel writer.
Aftershock released a statement on Alters, stressing that it comes from a “diverse team of creators composed of differing genders, gender identities, ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations.”
According to Jenkins, this was a conscious decision.
“Our team members come from different ethnic backgrounds, genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, and so on. I felt this would be important to the various communities we are reaching: I send my scripts to at least three trans people every time, to make sure I am not speaking incorrectly, and that I am touching on points that would be realistic. It helps very much that our colourist, Tamra Bonvillain, is a trans woman. She has been very helpful on the story overall.”