Dissolving Barriers: DC’s Coagula

(Editor’s note: In the months to come, proprietor Dean Compton and I hope to share with you the thoughts on an increasingly diverse array of comics from even more fellow lovers of that most Unspoken of Decades! If you would like to be one of them, head on over to The Unspoken Decade’s Facebook page and send us a message! In the meantime, enjoy this look at DC’s Coagula from new contributor Lee! – ES)

Hi, Legions of the Unspoken! You can call me Morbius95 (aka Lee). That’s all you get for now! As you will probably be able to tell, this is my first time writing on a professional level. I decided I wanted to write because I have a voice that can possibly help someone through my writing. (Plus it’s fun!) I was born in the 90’s, so I guess that makes me a perfect fit to write about this unspoken decade! My first tastes of comics came in 2003 when I acquired The Demon #22 for my 8th birthday from a cousin of mine. I have been in love with comics ever since, with a special fondness for the 90’s despite not collecting till the 2000’s. Doom Patrol became one of my all-time favorite groups when I first acquired, you guessed it, Doom Patrol #70. I became infatuated with these outcasts because I felt like one my self.Image result for coagula doom patrol

Kate Godwin (aka Coagula) made her debut in that issue of Doom Patrol, published in September of 1993, and quickly made an impression as one of the first ever transgender characters in DC comics history. Created and written by the amazing Rachel Pollack and penciled by Scot Eaton, Coagula’s appearance stood out in a landscape where LGBT issues in comics had been limited to very few events, such as Marvel’s Northstar coming out in Alpha Flight #106 (1992) and DC’s Pied Piper coming out in The Flash #53 (1991). Appearances from transgender characters were practically nonexistent in the Big Two –that was until Coagula showed up.

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Really ahead of the whole steampunk trend.

To start off in Doom Patrol #70 we meet a man not named yet who has a troubled psyche about his, ahem, small genitalia and how he hates others because of his problems, especially, shockingly, women. This guy gets rejected repeatedly, and every time this happens he believes it’s because of his size. So after some pity over his life he decides, he has had enough and decides to get back at society by making a gigantic codpiece to make up for his lack of size. (Yes, that is his name too. Really.)

We first meet our super-heroine picking out a mask for her friend Jean’s birthday party, a fairly realistic looking frog mask. They leave the scene and head to a bar,  where we learn about her powers, which are she can coagulate liquids and dissolve solids. We find out that while working as a prostitute she gained her powers from sexual contact with Rebis, a radioactive hermaphrodite formed by the original Negative Man Larry Trainor and Dr. Elanor Poole, who are forced to merge by and with the Negative Spirit that had left and then returned to Trainor.

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Why you get the money up front.

Next we find Kate in a bar showing off her powers for her friend. She also discusses trying out for the Justice League, who liked her powers but didn’t like the way she was. At first we think she’s about to give up, but boy are we wrong.

Codpiece is seen walking up to a bank, which he proceeds to blow away part of with his, well, codpiece. He then drills a hole in to one of the vaults with the piece, which is basically like a Swiss Army knife with all its attachments. The police try to stop him, but that goes as well as you would expect, and Codpiece knocks one out with a boxing glove from, well, you know where by now.

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And he wonders why he doesn’t have more luck with the ladies.
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George and Marion finding Coddy while on their stroll

I haven’t said much on who else is in this story mostly because I wanted you guys to know how great Coagula is, but yes, there are others in this story as well. Like the couple that come to help the cops  take on big old Coddy, George and Marion of the Doom Patrol! Earlier in the story they decide to get out of DP HQ and go out on the town to have some fun. They invite Cliff (aka Robot Man), but he refuses. (We’ll discuss that at a later date.) They encounter Coddy as he unleashes bombs from his piece and conks two officers out cold with some technical prowess. They throw everything they can at him but to absolutely no avail. He stops them at every corner, and when all seems dark for our heroes someone takes notice of the scene, and that someone is…Coagula! Kate had an official costume at one point but got rid of it because she didn’t think heroing was her calling. Then she remembers the green frog mask from earlier and puts it on.

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When the lady in the frog mask is the most normal looking person around, you know things have taken a turn.

Immediately you can tell he is distracted by this seemingly normal woman who’s just wearing some costume mask, but boy is he in for a huge surprise, folks.

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Pictured: every man’s worst nightmare.

After is all said and done, George and Marion are very impressed with the abilities Coagula showed off, so much so that they offer her a spot on the Doom Patrol. She accepts their offer to go with them, thus turning into one of my personal favorites of the Doom Patrol. This was ground breaking for the time to see a transsexual lesbian in a comic. (She later turns out to be bisexual, dating Cliff Steele.) When I first read it, it honestly blew my mind, especially for the decade it came from.

I just wanted to thank Dean for giving me this opportunity to write something I’m very passionate about and hope to write more in the future. The reason I’m passionate about LGBT issues is because I myself am bisexual and genuinely care for my community. I had problems as a child thinking something was wrong with me, and these comics helped me through some tough stuff in my life. Thanks for letting this manic depressive have a shot where most wouldn’t give me one.

 

 

A Warrior’s Path: The Journey of Guy Gardner

ggwa1-coverYeah, I know. He’s arrogant, pompous, and opinionated (Plus a long list full of even more negative adjectives that would make even a sailor blush!) In other words, he’s a jerk. Be that as it may, I like him. Why you ask? Because he’s real. What do I mean by that? Read on and you might just discover that for yourself. The life of Guy Gardner wasn’t what you would call pleasant. He was raised by an abusive, alcoholic father that would rather beat him senseless than show him any affection. This caused Guy to act out in his teen years to the point of becoming a juvenile delinquent. His older brother, Mace, straightened him out though and Guy went to college. There, he played football and earned bachelor’s degrees in education and psychology. He had many jobs after college but none of them ever seemed quite right.

801957That is, until the day Gardner was chosen to be one of Earth’s Green Lanterns. This was it. His chance to be somebody. To be a superhero! Guy exhibited (Mostly due to his upbringing) arrogant and violent tendencies as a hero. This led him to challenge the rightful Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, into a fistfight. Winner keeps the ring. Guy lost that challenge and surrendered his power ring.

1081687  Unable to accept that his days as a hero were now behind him, Gardner next acquired the yellow ring of Sinestro. Keep in mind that the color yellow was the only weakness of a Green Lantern at this time! (Geez! Bitter much?!) But, Guy soon lost the power of his yellow ring after yet another battle with, you guessed it, Hal Jordan! (In Guy’s defense, Hal was now the powerhouse villain known as Parallax at this point.)

guy_gardner_warrior_03But, still unwilling to stop his search for power, Guy traveled to the Amazon. There, he would discover the relic known as The Chalice of the Warrior. Drinking water from it, Guy Gardner awakened dormant DNA placed within his bloodline by alien creatures known as Vuldarians! Vuldarians, as it turned out, were a warrior race that could shapeshift parts of their bodies into weapons by mere thought, limited only by the power of their imagination! This included fantastic bladed weapons and even complex firearms.

guy_gardner_warrior_04Finally, a power to uniquely call his own! Guy, now called Warrior, set out to become the hero he had always dreamed of being. During this time, Warrior defeated many powerful supervillains, gained the respect of other superheroes, and even made peace with his past.

guy_gardner_warrior_44Though this era in the Guy Gardner mythos is often overlooked and, to many, he will always be seen as a second-string  Green Lantern with an attitude problem. But, to me this was the greatest time to read about the character. To me it seemed as if all of his dreams had finally been realized and he had received his much-deserved status as an icon. You see, unlike Hal Jordan, Guy made many mistakes in his life, but he had learned from every one.  He had come from less than humble beginnings and become something much more. Isn’t that what every human being wants in life? To finally receive a happy ending after a lifetime of trials and tribulation? Guy Gardner was and is less than perfect. He is flawed like everyone else. That’s what makes him real.ggwa2-cover

You Will Believe a Boy Can FLY!

526477-fly1As a kid, who didn’t want to be a superhero? I know I did! I think that was the appeal to The Fly character by DC’s Impact line of comics. Journey back with me to an age where comics were fun. An age where comic movies weren’t the norm, big event titles were more of a summer thing, and heroes didn’t murder other heroes. But first, a little history on our bug-eyed friend.

The_Fly_1,_Impact_Comics,_August_1991_by_Mike_Parobeck_and_Paul_FrickeThe Fly was originally created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Archie Comics’ Red Circle line in 1959. After cancellation he was revived in 1984 under the same banner for a short time. The incarnation of the character we will be looking at will be The Fly of the 90’s. In 1991 DC had acquired the rights to all Archie superhero characters and released them under their Impact line. Though the line only lasted until 1993, many fans (including myself), still look upon this era fondly. All of the Impact characters were fun in their own way, but to me, one always seemed to stick out….The Fly!

629781Jason Troy wasn’t a troublemaker but he wasn’t exactly an honor student either. He was your typical kid. Average in most ways but full of imagination. It was during his high school Mythology class that he was found playing video games during a lecture. Caught by the teacher, he was given the assignment of creating his own superhero based on one of the Earth’s most humble creatures. Jason chose a fly. (Some punishment, huh?) The teacher was so impressed with his work, he rewarded Jason with a fossil of a fly trapped in amber. Soon after receiving this, it was discovered that the fossil possessed the strange power to in fact transform Jason into the character of his design….The Fly!

629331Wasting no time, The Fly flew into action against an attacking superpowered arsonist downtown, easily defeating him in combat! Excited but curious, Jason reverted back to normal to speak to the teacher. After all, who else would know the mystery of the fossil better than he? Upon his return, it was discovered that no one had ever heard of the strange Mythology teacher! Confused, Jason left school and embarked upon his new career as a superhero! The Fly fought many fun and unique villains throughout the title’s run. He even joined the premiere superhero team, The Crusaders, with other heroes such as The Shield, The Comet, The Jaguar, etc.

But, during a battle alongside these heroes, The Fly, along with several other heroes, disappeared into another dimension. It wasn’t until years later that he reemerged, a man! He was soon married to fellow Crusader, The Jaguar. That was about it. In 1993, all Impact titles were cancelled due to low sales. We were never to learn the secret of the mysterious fly trapped in amber. Sad. But, rather than focusing on the negative, let’s look at all of the amazing adventures he gave us. How, for a short time, all of us around the same age as the Jason Troys’ character felt what he must have felt with the power to pummel supervillains, to meet and fight side by side with other heroes, and most of all….to fly! For the short time that title lasted, we knew what it felt like to be a superhero ourselves.

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