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Marvel has published its first-ever comic featuring a same-sex wedding between two superheroes.
In Empyre #4, Young Avengers members Hulkling and Wiccan — alter egos of Teddy Altman and Billy Kaplan — were shown to have wed in a secret ceremony prior to a major cosmic event.
Marvel has published same-sex weddings before, but Hulkling and Wiccan’s nuptials represent the first time that two gay superheroes have tied the knot.
In Empyre #4, the pair head to Las Vegas for a last-minute wedding attended by their Young Avengers friends. They opted to marry prior to Hulkling venturing into space to become the Emperor of the Kree/Skrull alliance, CBR reports.
The wedding was revealed in a surprise flashback at the end of Empyre #4, but will be fully addressed in Empyre #5, set to be released on August 12.
In the upcoming issue, Wiccan describes the wedding as the “ultimate drop-everything secret mission,” decided in the hour prior to Hulkling leaving for space.
“I just looked at him and… I couldn’t keep it in,” Wiccan tells Human Torch and Captain Marvel. “Everything I felt about him. This unbelievable space prince.”
Hulking then suggests the couple marry, and they teleport to Las Vegas for the ceremony — where, in an Easter egg, Hulkling and Wiccan co-creators Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung appear as greeters at the venue.
The characters were first introduced in 2005’s Young Avengers, where their relationship was widely interpreted to be more than just a friendship — something later confirmed by Heinberg, who had intended to reveal their relationship at a later date.
Empyre writer Al Ewing said he has “a lot of love for Hulkling and Wiccan, both individually and as a couple.”
“It’s a good feeling to be able to deliver this kind of ‘shock ending’ for readers,” he said of the surprise wedding, “which hopefully lifts fans’ spirits a little rather than bringing them down.”
Cheung, who co-created the heroes, said he had “no inkling” the characters would survive for as long as they have — gaining status as Marvel’s most prominent gay superheroes in the process,” PinkNews reports.
“Billy and Teddy really became fully fleshed people to me, thanks to Allan’s incredible writing, and it’s been wonderfully rewarding to follow their growth and evolution under the guidance of other creators over the years,” Cheung said.
“Now that they’re taking their relationship to the next level, I can’t wait to watch where their next adventure takes them!”
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