In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Will Choy, as they discuss Marvel announcing dates and titles for Phase 4, DC’s new Progressive Pride logo, and get excited for #LokiWednesdays in our Clip of the Week.
KEVIN: Marvel releases announcing Phase 4 movies and dates WILL: New trailer for Fast & Furious 9 looks back at the saga
In this week’s episode super-sized episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Aaron Porchia, as they discuss the massive amount of shows/movies announced by Disney/Marvel/Star Wars, get excited about the multiverse of characters coming to Spider-Man, and celebrate Gottmik as the first trans man to join Rupaul’s Drag Race in This Week in Queer.
In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Sam Johns as they discuss the ups and downs with Marvel animated shows, the new trailer for Freeform’s Motherland: Fort Salem, and celebrate the new contestants announced for season 12 of Rupaul’s Drag Race in This Week in Queer.
Earlier this month, Marvel announced it will be expanding its podcast offerings to include several scripted programs and nonfiction shows. This makes sense, given the success they’ve had with their Wolverine podcast, which won the Webby Award for Best Original Music/Sound Design and the iHeartRadio Award for Best Scripted Podcast. Wolverine: The Long Night ran from September to November in 2018. The second season, The Lost Trail, premiered in March, with weekly episodes from July to September 2019.
The Lost Trail’s third episode, “The Cold Blooded,” contained a nice surprise for LGBTQ X-Fans. It introduced the character of Flamingeaux, a drag queen compatriot of Logan whose as good with a gun as a one-liner. Joking about him being grumpy and calling the titular mutant “Lo-Lo,” Flamingeaux proves to be a resourceful ally in the fight for mutant freedom with hints of a rich backstory.
Actor Terrence Clowe performed the voice of Flamingeaux, and, though he only appears for a few minutes, he leaves a distinct impression, and not just lipstick smears on “Lo-Lo”’s cheek. I contacted Mr. Clowe via email to see if he’d like to share more about the role, Flamingeaux’s place in the wider Marvel Universe, and what it’s like to be the (second) drag queen in the X-Men canon.
How did this role come to your attention? What was the audition process like? Was there anything in particular that attracted you to the role?
I initially received the audition through my manager. It was a bit daunting at first as they requested me to record two scenes and to prepare a song in the style of the character.
The character description was as follows: A drag singer who performs in the French Quarter of NOLA. In another life, he was a private security guard in a conflict zone abroad. But he left that behind. Now he’s a beloved performer who fashions himself as an advocate for oppressed people of all stripes. Fiercely loyal to his friends. Singing ability a plus.
So you see, I had no idea it was for Wolverine!
Having a background in musical theatre, I was up for the challenge and excited to audition for my first podcast. I had heard that podcasts in general were becoming more popular, but unless you are submitted through your representation and granted an audition it is pretty impossible to get in and be considered for roles. So, just getting an audition, I felt like I scored! LOL
I chose It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls as my song which I sang (down a few octaves) and envisioned myself performing in my favorite Drag Bar, the now-defunct Xes Lounge. I have to admit, recording it with my voice over coach was a ton of fun. The monologue resonated with me on a personal level, especially in light of our current political climate where so much division is being promoted and accepted. I found it moving and poignant. It was key to create these imaginary relationships and experiences through improvisation on my own so that once it came to recording there was a clear understanding of the text. Guess it worked out alright!
How similar and different was it to auditioning for a tv or film role? What was the recording process like?
In general, I prepared the same as I would auditioning for any role in any medium. Although it is voice over, having to define the wants and needs of the character were the same. I study with a fantastic coach, Anthony Abeson, who is big on identifying references to the past and character relationships so I put that to work. The recording process was thrilling. In most of the VO work I’ve done, I was confined to the recording booth and movement was impossible as you were hooked up to headphones in front of a microphone. Here, we were in a large booth were we were blocked and choreographed. It was so cool. During the fighting scenes I was literally hurling myself on the floor. During Flamingeaux’s on-stage performance, I was actually moving and dancing, and I entered my dressing room to meet Wolverine tossing a pair of high heels to the floor as I spoke of “getting out these heels.” I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Are you a fan of the X-Men or Marvel movies? Did you do any research to prepare for the role, like read any comics or watch any movies? Did you do any research into drag, New Orleans, or espionage?
Yes! The recent Black Panther movie is my favorite to date. Once I found out the project was Wolverine, I did some online research into the character and watched Hugh Jackman do his thing. I must admit I got distracted by his beauty most of the time. LOL My husband is also a huge fan so we generally go and see the new Marvel movies as they are released.
I have dabbled in drag for different roles. Most recently for a TV movie titled Eye for an Eye starring Lew Temple from The Walking Dead. The release date hasn’t been set. I also love RuPaul. I remember seeing him perform at a club in the East Village back in the 90’s when I was at NYU called The World and thought he was so magnetic. I envisioned Flamingeaux having a bit of his flair onstage.
Wolverine has been depicted in a same-sex relationship in the past, though this was dismissed as having been in an alternate universe. Do you think it’s a possibility that Flamingeaux and Wolverine would be a couple? Did you intend to imply that? Or is this just wishful thinking on my part?
Hmmmm…it’s fun to think of a relationship as a possibility, but I felt they were only extremely close friends. I envisioned a situation where Wolverine had Flamingeaux’s back early on as he perhaps came out while on security detail and encountered homophobia. This created a bond that led to an undeniable trust where we now see Wolverine seeking his help and Flamingeaux willing to fight on his behalf.
I was disappointed Flamingeaux didn’t appear again for the rest of The Lost Trail. Do you think we’ll see or hear Flamingeaux again? Would you return to the role, maybe in a tv show? Would you like to see the character depicted in a comic?
There was talk of it happening, which is one of the reasons he didn’t die during the confrontation [with Weapon X later in the episode]. I would love to see him in one of the franchises on screen, and YES I would certainly be available! I think it would be cool to see him have a life in the comics as well. He is such an interesting character with a luscious background, but I think ultimately seeing him again would be up to the fans.
Earlier this year, Sina Graceintroduced the character of Darkveil in Iceman, vol. 4 #4, “seemingly Marvel’s first drag queen superhero,” according to the Marvel fandom wiki. Had you heard of this character? While there’s obviously plenty of room for two drag queens in the Marvel Universe (and hopefully many more in the future), do you have any concerns that people might consider her too similar to Flamingeaux or vice versa? Why or why not?
Frankly, I was not familiar with Darkveil. I personally think the more LGBTQ representation there is the better. Seeing these characters that are comfortable in their own skin kicking ass is amazing. I say the more the merrier. The commonality between the two of course is drag but I think fans will be able to clearly distinguish the two because their personalities and backgrounds are so unique.
Where can we see/hear you next?
Thank you for asking! I am in my first Christmas movie, A Christmas Movie Christmas premiering on October 27th on UPtv, Dish188, Direct TV338 7pm Eastern and 4pm Pacific. I play the role of Mr. Peterson and Scrooge in an endearing story of a woman who loves Christmas movies and gets magically transported into one.
Wolverine: The Lost Trail is currently available on Stitcher.
Back in June of this year, Sina Grace shared a blog post about his experience working at Marvel. The post has already been subject to plenty of media coverage and online discussion, including on the GeeksOUT Podcast. For those of us familiar with the historical treatment of marginalized voices in publishing, the experience he described is equal parts frustrating, familiar, and disappointing. With that new context in mind, I decided to take a look back at his acclaimed run on Iceman.
Before I dive in, I should cover some of the history for those who didn’t the saga from the beginning. The Iceman solo series came about after the problematic outting of Iceman (aka Bobby Drake) in the All-New X-Men #40 back in 2015. The issue has become the subject of widespread criticism due to the way it was handled. In the story, a time-displaced younger version of Bobby Drake was prodded to admit that he was gay by his teammate, the telepath Jean Grey. After coming to terms with it, the young Bobby then confronted his present day older self. This left the adult Bobby Drake of the present day timeline to grapple with a reality he had been hiding from for his entire life. This is where the solo series picks up.
Thawing Out — Collecting Iceman (2017) #1-5 by Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti, Edgar Salazar, Ibraim Roberson, Ed Tadeo, and Rachelle Rosenberg.
The first volume of Iceman dealt with a lot of familiar queer themes. It centered around Bobby’s already strained relationship with his mutantphobic parents, where he tried to make peace while trying to figure out the best way to come out to them. There was also some nice awkward conversations with his ex-girlfriend Kitty Pryde, and a storyline where he tried to rescue one of his students from the charming and deceitful Daken. Bobby’s efforts to smoothly navigate his new reality as a gay man did not go as planned, but the messy results lead to some raw and powerful character moments. It was refreshing to see who Bobby was beyond his projected overconfidence and affinity for dad jokes.
Absolute Zero —Collecting Iceman (2017) #6-11 by Sina Grace, Rober Gill, Ed Tadeo, and Rachelle Rosenberg.
The second volume opened with Iceman and his friends mourning the death of Black Widow, which occurred during the Marvel Secret Empire event. The series of events took Bobby and his friends to LA, where he met Jonah and ended up going on his first date since coming out. The story hits all of the beats of a first love story nicely, with the added complications of Bobby’s X-Men lifestyle thrown into the mix. This volume also ties up some of the loose ends from the first volume; namely the storyline with Daken and Bobby’s former student Amp. Daken’s actions ended up making a mess of things, but the second volume ultimately shows some important growth for Bobby’s character.
Amazing Friends —Collecting Iceman (2018) #1-5 and Uncanny X-Men: Winter’s End by Sina Grace, Nathan Stockman, and Federico Blee.
The original run of Iceman was canceled after 11 issues, but was renewed for 5 more in 2018. The third volume picks up after yet another timeline reset of the Marvel Universe. There is now only one Bobby, who has absorbed the memories of his younger self and gotten himself a new Iceman costume. The main arc of the story dealt with the Morlocks, an underground group of mutant misfits who are unable to pass as human and live beneath the streets of New York. It also featured an excursion with Ema Frost where Bobby helps her rescue her gay brother, a team up with Spiderman and Firestar that pokes fun at the perils of superhero dating, and a face-off with classic X-Men villain Mr. Sinister. This collection also introduced the new drag performing mutant Darkveil (formerly known as Shade) to the Marvel canon. The closing issue also saw Bobby finally confront Jean Grey about the way she outted him and why it was wrong.
Reading through the series, I was reminded once again how refreshing it is to have queer stories in set among familiar worlds and characters. While it would have been nice to see an Iceman story that wasn’t so tied up with the ongoing Marvel canon, Sina Grace’s run tells a unique story about an omega-level mutant learning to be emotionally vulnerable for the first time. The themes and situations may not be new, but their context within the popular X-Men franchise is.
For many of us, Bobby Drake has been coded queer for quite some time. I can remember how validated I felt while watching X2: X-Men United back in 2003, just months after I had come out of the closet myself. When Bobby’s parents asked him if he had tried not being a mutant before ultimately turning against him and his friends, it hit close to home. It was the first time that I could recall seeing my own experience represented in a mainstream film.
The X-Men have always been layered in queer themes. From the ostracization of a group of people rejected by their own families, to portraying the fears of mainstream society as a villain. I don’t think it’s what Jack Kirby and Stan Lee intended when they created the series back in 1963, but the queerness is right there it’s premise. That’s a big part of what makes it so disheartening to read about Sina Grace’s experience with Marvel. Stories like this are important and uniquely empowering. I want to see more of them, and I want to Marvel do better.
Reaching the climax of anything is always a bittersweet moment. The slow, steady build-up (in this case 11 years worth) constantly stroking the fire of your interest, keeping you on the edge of satisfaction. You’re perfectly happy with what is going on at the moment, all the while knowing that something bigger and more exciting is going to come soon. Once it finally comes, you’re able to release the immense (11 years worth of) tension that has been building in one big explosion. That’s exactly what Avengers: Endgame does to the committed fans who have stuck through all the phases Marvel’s cinematic universe has thrown to us, many with mixed results. After the euphoric ecstasy that the film brings, we are left with the sad thought: Will any Marvel film feel this good again?
It’s been a long journey from the first Iron Man to Avengers: Endgame, but it will easily prove worth every minute. First off, you have to applaud Marvel’s commitment to establishing a multifaceted universe before just slamming all the characters together for one major meet-up (*cough, cough* Justice League *cough, cough). Watching Endgame, I got the same chills that the first Avengers film gave me, but that Age of Ultron didn’t. Whether these Avengers films are an obvious cash-grab becomes a moot point when their quality is this high. Out of any of the previous Marvel films, Endgame is a love letter to the fans. Every cameo, every silly plot development, every note of sadness, and even every callback (many of which you’ve probably forgotten about) to previous films shows the attention to detail, not just for the MCU but also for the fans that have kept it running.
The Russo Brothers have shown us the full potential of the comic genre by subverting it ever since they first joined the MCU with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Up until that point, the Marvel films had a fairly predictable tone and narrative. The Winter Soldier proved that there are no limitations to a comic book film and that even they can be elevated. Since then, we’ve gotten gems like James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok. All three game changers, but each for a different reason. If Endgame suffers from any flaws, it is because of the variety of different tones from each of the films. The Russo Brothers try their best to appease the tonal origins of each superior hero, but the lighthearted and humorous nature of one ends up undermining the emotional development of the other.
There will be moments in the film where an overwhelming feeling of sadness will take over. You’ll probably end up watching the climax of the film through misty eyes and a runny nose, so the things that are meant to be the emotional high and low points aren’t that affected by the uneven tone. What is affected are all of the small, somber scenes leading up to those big emotional gut punches, that get ruined because the scenes aren’t given time to breathe before someone throws in a funny one-liner. Luckily, the tone doesn’t affect the pacing in the slightest. At 3 hours, this film goes by pretty briskly. Unless you made the mistake of not peeing beforehand or buying a soda and popcorn, you won’t notice the runtime at all. There is a lot packed into this film and they make every minute count.
Just like Infinity War, Endgame is made fun because all the character interactions we haven’t seen on-screen before. There is one scene in particular, when all the female heroes of the MCU are the focus of a battle, that rivals the power of the No Man’s Land scene in Wonder Woman. During the climax of the film, you’ll run the full gamut of human emotions, going from one feeling to the next. Even though there are a few too many forced pop culture references in the film, seeing the evolution of all our favorite characters makes it more than worth it. Some of them we are reintroduced to, some we say goodbye to, and others we say see you later as the film teases what new adventures are in store for them in the future. Once you experience Avengers: Endgame, you’ll quickly realize that there will never be anything like it again (or at least not for another 11 years), and honestly, maybe there shouldn’t be.