I loved Alpha Flight growing up, What kind of red blooded Canadian didn’t? They were Canada’s X-men, and a big part of my childhood! So when the chance to photograph Ego Assassin’s Northstar and Aurora cosplay appeared, I jumped on it!
I had some Canadian winter scene in my head but, admittedly I haven’t been a big reader of marvel comic books over the the last decade, so I wanted to first refresh my memory of the superpowered siblings on Wikipedia. Alas my memories were heavily coloured with nostalgia. How you ask? First paragraph on Northstar,
“He is one of the first openly gay superheroes in American comic books…”
Whoa! Really!? How cool is that! Second, How the hell did I not know this? I didn’t have much of a life in the 80’s and I spent a lot of time with my comic books. I should have known this.
Apparently John Byrne intended Northstar to be gay right from the beginning in 1983 but editor-in-chief Jim Shooter gave him a hard NOPE! for his efforts as part of Marvel’s and the Comic Code’s policy against homosexual characters. Now being a straight male in 2014 I sometimes find it easy to forget that not too long ago the world was really afraid of sexual orientations they didn’t understand. It wasn’t until 1992 that Scott Lobdell was given permission to have Northstar state “I am gay” but the controversy that followed had Marvel bury the subject until 2002 when Northstar joined the X-men and was written to have a crush on Iceman. For almost 20 years a gay fictional character was too much for the public?
Upon research on Aurora I was reminded at how poorly women were treated in comics, her Wiki page reads like a trauma and disorder checklist; Split personality disorder, check! Dead parents, check! Suicide attempts, check! damsel in distress, check! Abusive relationship, check! After this read and reading about a few other female characters from the past I couldn’t help but feel that women were kind of treated like comic book writer’s personal punching bags.
So after that my idea for the shoot took a bit of a 180. Now I tried to imagine what life would look like in the 80’s if Northstar and Aurora shared an apartment. If the outside world couldn’t see, what would a scene look like? Would introverted Aurora always be talking to extroverted Aurora while Northstar was trying to hide porn behind his marvel comics? Maybe. .
May 10, 2014