U.S. comic book starring transgender superhero to hit shelves

Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:03pm EDT
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By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Move over, Spider-Man and Superman. Here comes Chalice, a transgender superhero hitting the comic-book world.

Chalice makes her debut in September in the "Alters," a series of stories about a group of outcasts whose unique circumstances give them superpowers.

Transitioning to female and donning a miniskirt and cloak, Chalice develops an ability to control quantum mechanics. Other Alters include a quadriplegic man and a character suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

While transgender rights have made recent U.S. headlines, Chalice's story was not meant to be political commentary, said her creator, Atlanta-based comic-book artist Paul Jenkins.

"Her transition is an important part of the story," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "But the fact is, why is she great? Because she kicks ass."

Still, in a "nod and a wink" to current debate, a special cover of Chalice's first issue will be designed and released in North Carolina, a U.S. state with a controversial law requiring transgender people to use public bathrooms matching their sex at birth.

The North Carolina cover is undecided but might feature Chalice sending greetings from the statehouse or confronted by various bathroom signs.

"We're just kind of addressing the absurdity of it, frankly," Jenkins said.   Continued...

Sketches of transgender comic-book superhero Chalice, drawn by Laila Leiz to be launched in September 2016, and created by Paul Jenkins, as seen in this handout photo. AfterShock/Handout via REUTERS