Marvel comics has received intense backlash on social media after unveiling its first-ever non-binary superhero, Snowflake.
Snowflake and her twin brother, Safespace, are newly created psychic powered siblings who will be part of the planned New Warriors reboot.
The twin superheroes were created by Emmy-nominated writer, Daniel Kibblesmith, and queer artist Luciano Vecchio
The duo is set to appear in Volume 6 of The New Warriors, a series about a young superhero team with an ever-changing roster.
Kibblesmith and Vecchio are both cis white men, and their decisions in creating the twins have been called insensitive and tone-deaf in an apparent mockery of progressive politics.
‘Snowflake’ is a term commonly used for someone who is deemed delicate or irrational when expressing progressive opinions on issues of social politics such as race, gender and sexuality.
However, Marvel claims that the characters are “hyper aware of modern culture and optics” and see their Super Heroics as “a post-ironic meditation on using violence to combat bullying.”
Kibblesmith touched on these “post-ironic” themes further in a press release, saying that the twins are a post-modern reclaiming of derogatory insults.
“Snowflake and Safespace are the twins,” he said.
“Their names are very similar to Screentime [another new character]; it’s this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don’t see as derogatory.
“[They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honour.”
Kibblesmith also touched on the Twins’ appearance and powers, which have garnered criticism over their use and subversion of gender-typical blue and pink colours.
“Safespace is a big, burly, sort of stereotypical jock. He can create forcefields, but he can only trigger them if he’s protecting somebody else,” he said.
“Snowflake is non-binary and goes by they/them, and has the power to generate individual crystallised snowflake-shaped shurikens.
“The connotations of the word ‘snowflake’ in our culture right now are something fragile, and this is a character who is turning it into something sharp.
“Snowflake is the person who has the more offensive power, and Safespace is the person who has the more defensive power. The idea is that they would mirror each other and complement each other.”
However, calling two Black characters, one of which is non-binary, ‘Snowflake’ and ‘Safespace’ has not gone down well online. Let alone the slightly misguided decision to create a non-binary character with a baby-blue motif.
One Twitter user wrote:
“Calling your first non-binary superheroes Snowflake and Safespace is the most insensitive and out of touch things you could do.”
“They sounds [sic] like the kind of names you’d expect a writer who’s trying to make fun of non-binary people would give their characters.”
Another expressed anger at the lack of diverse attitudes that have been shown throughout the characters creation process.
“As a black nonbinary creator this is extremely tone deaf and ugly. “Snowflake” “safespace” are you deadass,”
“Hire black nonbinary creators instead of cis white folks thanks.”
Shockingly, it seems DC Comics may have finally outdone Marvel on creating characters with meaningful representation.
When DC Comics’ animated TV show, Young Justice: Outsiders featured a non-binary superhero, fans praised the series for its sensitive and impactful representation of the non-binary experience identity.
Halo, known as Violet Harper, has multiple powers which change with the multicolour ‘halo’ that surrounds them.
They ‘came-out’ as non-binary on the show after realising that while their outward appearance is female, they do not feel as if they fit into either gender construct.
Fans of the show praised this epiphany as an accurate depiction of non-binary identity and lauded DC’s earnest movements towards establishing thoughtful representation.
Halo is also proudly Muslim and wears a hijab both in their civilian identity and as a superhero.