Marvel Comics has introduced its first ever non-binary superhero, but reaction on social media has been far from positive.
Snowflake, as the hero is known, debuts in The New Warriors one-shot comic “Outlawed,” alongside their twin brother Safespace.
They are the creation of Emmy-nominated writer Daniel Kibblesmith — whose Marvel credits include Loki and Black Panther Vs. Deadpool — and queer artist Luciano Vecchio, whose credits include The New Warriors and Ironheart.
Marvel said the characters are “hyper aware of modern culture and optics” and see their Super Heroics as “a post-ironic meditation on using violence to combat bullying.”
“Snowflake and Safespace are the twins,” Kibblesmith said in a release, “and their names are very similar to Screentime; it’s this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don’t see as derogatory. [They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor.
“Safespace is a big, burly, sort of stereotypical jock. He can create forcefields, but he can only trigger them if he’s protecting somebody else. Snowflake is non-binary and goes by they/them, and has the power to generate individual crystalized snowflake-shaped shurikens,” Kibblesmith continued.
“The connotations of the word ‘snowflake’ in our culture right now are something fragile, and this is a character who is turning it into something sharp. Snowflake is the person who has the more offensive power, and Safespace is the person who has the more defensive power. The idea is that they would mirror each other and complement each other.”
Kibblesmith discussed the new characters in a trailer for the comic:
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) March 17, 2020
But Marvel’s attempt at representation has been heavily criticized on social media.
One Twitter user said they thought Marvel’s attempt at representation was “a parody at first.”
“As a black nonbinary creator this is extremely tone deaf and ugly,” another person tweeted, adding, “Hire black nonbinary creators instead of cis white folks thanks.”
(It should be noted that Vecchio lists his pronouns as “mostly he/him” in his Twitter bio.)
I thought this was a parody at first, but Marvel is introducing two social justice characters named Snowflake and Safespace. Snowflake is non-binary. They are part of Marvel's "The New Warriors." pic.twitter.com/dYr7iW7ZcT
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) March 18, 2020
as a black nonbinary creator this is extremely tone deaf and ugly. “Snowflake” “safespace” are you deadass
Hire black nonbinary creators instead of cis white folks thanks https://t.co/NXFuToiOt1
— commissions in progress 💖 (@yakfrost) March 18, 2020
Why on EARTH would you name Marvel’s first non-binary characters ‘Snowflake’ and ‘Safespace’? Not sure if purposeful but this reads like a pisstake. At a glance I genuinely thought this was a CG project. https://t.co/baGY0auKFm
— Zoe Thorogood (@zoethorogood) March 18, 2020
I personally love to see two white cis men at Marvel create a black nonbinary character named “Snowflake” in the year of our lord 2020
— Kate Leth (@kateleth) March 18, 2020
The new Marvel characters “Snowflake and Safespace” can bring us all together in hating equally! pic.twitter.com/iyFGqQBdSX
— Chad Hutsebaut (@ChadHutsee) March 18, 2020
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