Drag queen hero kicks anti-LGBTQ+ hate to the curb in new queer comic
Drag queens are under attack across the US – but a new comic book hero is fighting back against hate.
In the queer noir comic book, Death Drop: Drag Assassin, a hitman turned drag queen searches for her drag sister while a spate of murders and disappearances ravage her city.
Of course, there’s a lot of camp, with queens throwing shade at each other on and off stage, lip-syncing and twirling in fabulous costumes. Early on in the story, the titular hero beats up a group of homophobes outside a queer club before announcing: “I’m Death Drop, b***h!”
But delve a bit further, and you’ll find a tender meditation on the divisions within the LGBTQ+ community and the power of platonic relationships to help queer people survive and thrive.
Though it feels incredibly timely, writer David Hazan tells PinkNews that the idea for the comic came to him five or six years now.
It was the coalescence of Hazan watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones, reading Steve Orlando’s Midnighter and Apollo comic and finishing a Marvel comic featuring a drag queen superhero when they realised there was a “missed opportunity”.
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“I just thought this is the perfect vehicle, the perfect delivery system, to talk about internalised homophobia,” Hazan says.
“But [I] wasn’t really interested in doing things where superheroes are punching homophobes. Naturally, that’s how the book starts, because we have to set an expectation to then completely subvert that.”
Alex Moore, the artist behind the comic, adds there’s a tendency in lots of media to present queer stories in a “shiny, happy way”.
So it was “quite nice” for them to work on a piece that explores the “mental baggage that comes with it”, including the “damage that people within the queer community can do to each other because of whatever hang ups they have”.
“When you hear, ‘Oh, it’s drag queens but assassins’, something very camp and fun comes to mind, and this is fun and camp but I think not in the sort of bright sparkly way that you kind of expect it’s gonna be,” they say.
Death Drop: Drag Assassin isn’t first the comic centring a drag hero, but it comes at a time of heightened attacks on drag
In 2019, Marvel welcomed its first drag queen superhero Shade, a mutant who is part of the X-Men, to its growing pantheon of LGBTQ+ heroes.
Drag Race icon Bob the Drag Queen created an Instagram comic strip where she stars as the drop dead gorgeous hero Kicka** Drag Queen and even RuPaul made a cameo as supervillain Rude Paul.
At its core, drag is an art that has affirmed and uplifted the LGBTQ+ people who perform and enjoy it. But in the US, particularly, there’s been a concentrated effort by conservatives to impose legislative measures that would restrict or ban drag performances.
Across the pond in the UK, LGBTQ+ people and allies have shown up in droves to outnumber and block out hate from far-right groups protesting against kid-friendly drag storytimes.
Hazan says he wanted to get his “complicated mess of feelings” about the pushback against LGBTQ+ people and drag onto the pages of Death Drop: Drag Assassin.
But more than anything, their goal was to create something people could enjoy and identify with, providing them some relief in stressful times for the LGBTQ+ community.
“The thing that struck me as I was trying to unravel the threads of all these things is that it’s just impossible to unravel all of these ideas [because] it just ends up in a big bowl of stuff,” Hazan says.
“That’s also connected with the characters as well. It’s impossible to separate their issues of identity from their issues of community from their relationships – it’s just all so intertwined.
“I think it’s just as important to talk about those ideas as it is to talk about that oppressive effect of the homophobia, transphobia and queerphobia that we’re currently experiencing.
“Because ultimately, this is a comic about the healing power of drag to subvert the ways that these ideas are brought into our communities, and part of that is community, friendship and connection stuff that you can’t really untangle.”
Death Drop: Drag Assassin #1 is set to be released on 14 June.
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