Superheroes in Love: When Rictor Met Shatterstar

Peter David has had a long and remarkable career as a comic book
writer and in that time he’s earned the loyalty of plenty of gay comic fans for
including gay characters in his work.

In his landmark 137-issue run writing The Incredible Hulk, he introduced The Pantheon, including gay
member Hector. In 1999, he won a GLAAD media award for his work on Supergirl, where the outspoken lesbian
comedian Andy Jones turned out to be sharing a body with Comet, the mysterious
guy who inspired a crush in Supergirl.

In the pages of Captain
Marvel
, he wrote a lesbian relationship for the
sometimes-heroine/sometimes-villainess Moondragon.

What’s notable about David’s inclusiveness is that his queer
characters are usually superheroes themselves and, thus, part of the major
storylines. Their relationships may get overshadowed by plots involving
Earth-born angels or troublesome doubles from alternative universes or timelines,
but they also don’t disappear until the heroes have down time either.

Peter David created queer characters Hector, Andy Jones & Moondragon

Now, David is getting attention from gay comic fans for
confirming the relationship between mutants Rictor and Shatterstar in the pages
of X-Factor. There had been hints
that the two were romantically involved before, but David confirmed the
relationship in X-Factor #45 when the
two shared a kiss.

X-Factor is
relaunching this month with #200, which sees the team moving to New York City and
Shatterstar becoming a full member. We talked with David about where Rictor and
Shatterstar may be heading, what they add to the dynamic of X-Factor, as well as the challenges
Marvel’s first major gay character, Northstar, faced after coming out.

AfterElton:  Could you
describe X-Factor for readers who
might not be familiar with the title?

Peter David: X-Factor
is one of Marvel Comics’ mutant books, of the same category as X-Men. X-Factor goes in a different direction than most of the other
mutant books [and] is essentially a noir-esque title about a group of mutants
who have come together to form a detective company.

They deal with some of the more bizarre and unusual events
that occur in the Marvel Universe. With X-Factor, you don’t have to be an evil
mutant to get their attention; all you have to have is an unusual problem and a
checkbook. They also accept plastic – they take Visa, Master Card and American
Express.

AE: And what about Shatterstar and Rictor?


PD:
Rictor is one of the founding members of the group. He
is actually a mutant who actually lost his mutant abilities during a companywide
crossover called “House of M” with about 90% of the rest of the Marvel
Universe. He did have earthquake powers, seismic abilities, hence the nickname
of Rictor.

Shatterstar is an inter-dimensional warrior created –
believe it or not – in the future of an alternate dimension called Mojoworld.
He was originally designed to be an asexual or, at least, not interested in
relationships, human sexuality or anything. He was more or less just a killing
machine.

In his prolonged exposure to humanity, as frequently happens
in these kinds of stories, that has changed. During his time on another team
called X-Force … he and Rictor had a longstanding relationship with a subtext
to it that a lot of fans picked up on, but wasn’t made explicit until recently.

Rictor (left) and Shatterstar’s relationship has always had a lot of subtext

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