ASTONISHING X-MEN #51 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at superstar artist, Marko Djurdjevic's stunning variant cover to Astonishing X-Men #51! This June, get ready for the wedding of the year as Djurdjevic masterfully captures one of the happiest moments in X-Men history. It's the story that has everyone talking, and this June, witness the landmark marriage of Northstar and Kyle, in style, with the Astonishing X-Men #51 Djurdjevic Variant! ASTONISHING X-MEN #51 DJURDJEVIC VARIANT (APR120666) (Variant Cover by MARKO DJURDJEVIC/Marvel Entertainment / May 24, 2012)

After I read the following press release from Marvel Entertainment, the first thing that came to mind was "it's about time!"

Read it and then catch up with me at the bottom of the post:

Save The Date—Marvel Announces Landmark X-Men Marriage
Northstar Proposes To His Longtime Boyfriend In Astonishing X-Men #50, on-sale tomorrow

New York NY—May 22nd, 2012— The X-Men, one of the world’s most popular super hero teams, have always been at the forefront of the biggest stories in comic history; and today is no different as Marvel is proud to announce the wedding that has everyone talking! Today, fans worldwide learned on ABC’s The View, that Jean-Paul Beaubier, AKA Northstar and a popular member of the X-Men, proposes to his boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men #50, on-sale tomorrow in comic stores, on the Marvel Comics app and at the Marvel Digital Comics Shop. The creative team of New York Times best-sellers Marjorie Liu (X-23¸ the urban fantasy Hunter Kiss series and the Dirk & Steele paranormal romances) and Mike Perkins (Stephen King’s The Stand) have put Northstar and Kyle’s relationship to the test—and now they’re about to take their biggest step yet. But will their path to wedded matrimony in New York City be smooth or are there hidden dangers around the corner?

“The Marvel Universe has always reflected the world outside your window, so we strive to make sure our characters, relationships and stories are grounded in that reality,” said Axel Alonso, Marvel Editor in Chief. “We’ve been working on this story for over a year to ensure Northstar and Kyle's wedding reflects Marvel's "world outside your window" tradition."

Then, on June 20th, don’t miss the wedding of Northstar and Kyle in the pages of Astonishing X-Men #51! This unforgettable issue features covers by Dustin Weaver and Marko Djurdjevic, along with a special “Create Your Own Wedding” blank variant cover! Select comic book retailers nationwide will host wedding parties at their stores  to celebrate this joyous occasion, with special items exclusively available at participating stores!

“The story of Northstar and Kyle is universal, and at the core of everything I write: a powerful love between two people who have to fight for it against all odds,” said Liu. “This is the quintessential Marvel story, one that blends the modern world with the fantasy of super heroes in order to tell an exciting story that begins with a wedding—and continues in ways you can’t imagine.”

Northstar was first introduced to comic fans in the pages of 1979’s Uncanny X-Men #120, a member of the super hero team Alpha Flight and antagonist to the popular super heroes. A gold medal winning Olympian and successful businessman, the French-Canadian super hero quickly became one of the most popular members of Alpha Flight when its ongoing series launched in 1983. In 1992’s historic Alpha Flight #106, Northstar became the first openly gay super hero when he announced his sexual identity through national media. Since then, Northstar has not only joined the X-Men but become one of their most popular new members. Northstar and Kyle have been a couple since 2009, garnering a large fan following since their first appearance together.

“As a long-time fan of the X-Men, it’s not only a true honor to be part of such a historically significant story but also a complete joy,” explained Perkins.

Don’t miss the proposal everyone’s talking in Astonishing X-Men #50, available tomorrow in comic stores, on the Marvel Comics app and at the Marvel Digital Comics Shop. And then save the date for June 20, as Northstar and Kyle tie the knot in Astonishing X-Men #51

ON SALE 5/23/12

ASTONISHING X-MEN #51 (APR120665)
Written by MARJORIE LIU
Art by MIKE PERKINS
Cover by DUSTIN WEAVER

Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC—5/28/12, On-Sale—6/20/12

*******

Now, I'm really glad that Marvel Comics decided to take this step with one of their characters. If I have any sort of criticism, it's that they weren't the first to do this. That distinction goes to Archie Comics where they had Riverdale's first openly-gay character, Kevin, marry his life partner. The issue generated a lot of buzz and even inspired a boycott. To me, the fact that Archie Comics was leading the pack on the issue was very courageous on their part.

To their credit Marvel Comics is currently riding the high that they're on from the success of the Avengers movie and they have a LOT of cache right now as far as attention from the media, so I commend them on using some of it on this special event. Having the might of the Disney marketing machine behind you doesn't hurt either.

But a part of me feels like they're leading from behind. Maybe I'm wrong. Superhero comics, especially those that feature characters from the Marvel Universe, always seem to draw more attention than the others, so I'm not going to dismiss this as too little, too late. When it comes to fostering understanding and tolerance, there's no effort that can be considered as wasted. So having Northstar, Marvel's first openly-gay mutant getting married is significant. The Marvel Zombie in me just wishes that they were the first ones to take the leap.

It should also be noted that DC Comics will soon be announcing that one of their "iconic" characters will be "re-imagined" as a homosexual. They've yet to say who it will be, but I say if they want to make a real impact, make Batman gay. It's not like people never wondered that about Bruce Wayne anyway.

So bravo Marvel and DC Comics. Congrats on finally reflecting the world that your readers live in, with all its wonderful diversity. 

(And kudos to Archie Comics for leading the pack!)

Like I said, it's about time.

ELLIOTT SERRANO IS A REDEYE SPECIAL CONTRIBUTOR AND THE RESIDENT GEEK EXPERT.

FOLLOW ELLIOTT ON TWITTER! (@GEEKTOME)