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The Return of Comic Books' First HIV-Positive Superhero


DC Comics'  flamboyant, HIV-Positive character Extraño returned in the pages of Midnighter and Apollo last week. 

He wasn't exactly a hero to be proud of—spinning out of DC Comics' 1988 crossover event MilleniumGregorio De La Vega,  a "magician" from Trujillo City, Peru was granted powers by the Guardians of the Universe (they created the Green Lantern Corps) to be one of Earth's New Guardians.

In a 2012 article titled, "Meet Extrano, the Gay Superhero DC Comics Would Rather You Forget," The FW's Nick Nadel wrote, "Extraño fit every single stereotype of the poorly-written homosexual character. His flamboyant wardrobe, stereotypical lisp, obsession with his hair, outrageous jewelry and penchant for calling himself “Auntie” (“Listen to Auntie, sweetie!”) made him the default “gay uncle” of the New Guardians. Despite having vague, Dr. Strange-esque mystical powers, Extraño really didn’t do much besides offer advice and drop sexual double entendres."

Later in  a battle with Hemo-Goblin — a white supremacist, HIV-positive (the story referred to him as being "AIDS infected"), vampire-like villain, who was infecting African-Americans — he contracted HIV. A few years afterwards, Extrano was killed off in an issue of Green Lantern and seemed to be a character that DC (and readers), was happy to sweep under the rug. 


The original hot mess look Extraño wore when he debuted.

Yet, last week in the first issue of Midnighter and Apollo—the series stars an openly gay superhero couple (they’re like if Superman and Batman were  boyfriends)—Extraño appears in a panel where the arch villain Henry Bendix is seeking a freelance agent to take out Midnighter.

DC has no formal statement about the character. But if the kick-ass panel (see below) is any indication, coupled with the fact that the series is in the hands of  superstar, openly bi writer Steve Orlando, we're excited to see what's next.




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