After teasing fans about its upcoming Pride Month celebration, Marvel has offered a deep dive into new comics character Somnus, a queer mutant who can control others’ dreams.
Set to debut in June in Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1, Somnus is described as a mutant “who had an extraordinary impact on an X-Man long ago,” whose powers “give him total control of people’s dreams, but he was never able to follow his own.”
“Now, Somnus is given a second chance at life,” Marvel said, “and he’s determined to make the most out of it on the thriving mutant nation of Krakoa” — a sentient, living island in the Pacific Ocean.
Teasing future issues of the comic, Marvel said it was “time for Somnus to step up in a big way and become the hero he was always destined to be.”
Somnus’ backstory will be explored by writer Steve Orlando and Eisner-nominated artist Claudia Aguirre.
He will also feature “mesmerizing costume design” courtesy of artist Luciano Vecchio, who previously designed Marvel’s first nonbinary superhero, Snowflake.
A frame variant cover of Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 will also pay homage to the vast number of LGBTQ characters introduced in Marvel’s comics, with Somnus — aka Carl Valentino — surrounded by heroes including America Chavez, Mystique, Valkyrie, Iceman, Hulkling, Wiccan, and Captain America.
“Somnus, Carl Valentino, is inspired not only by my own family history, but by my experiences with past generations of LGBTQ+ folks from across the country, people I wouldn’t have met without comics,” Orlando told Marvel.com. “While there is still plenty of work to do, we’ve also come a long way as a community. Somnus is a chance to explore how my own late queer relatives may have felt, living in more prejudiced times.
“He’s also a chance to celebrate past generations as a whole and acknowledge the strides we’ve made that they may not have lived to see,” Orlando continued. “And with the Krakoan era being one of relative utopia for mutantkind, Somnus will bring a fresh perspective, and respectful gut check, to the young mutants of the present who may not know just how hard some had to fight for all mutants have achieved. Within the story and without, Somnus will be a new, complex character carrying a message of respect, power, and vision.”
Vecchio said Marvel’s Voices: Pride was “ticking so many dream assignments for me!”
“On top of doing the cover, a frame variant, and a story that I got to write myself, I also got to design a new queer character introduced in a story written by Steve Orlando,” Vecchio said. “I’m so happy to finally collaborate officially with Steve and I fell in love with Somnus’ concept and backstory right away.”
Vecchio wanted Somnus to “have an air of ‘man of your dreams,’ very charming and human but unreachable at the same time. Some visual elements are a mix of Mod fashion, a bit of Hellfire Gala influence, and a palette based on Etruscan vase art as a nod to the god he’s named after.”
Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1 goes on sale June 23.
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