Latest Issue of X-Men Spin-off Series Tackles Gay-Teen Suicide

Ever since they were introduced in the early 1960s, the X-Men haven’t just been a team of mutant superheroes hated by a world they’re sworn to protect—they’ve been a metaphor for pressing social issues. Back then it was the burgeoning civil-rights movement but in more recent decades, the band of outsiders has been seen as stand-ins for the LGBT community: Mutants’ special abilities usually became active in adolescence (when many gays become aware of their attractions) and they’re usually forced to hide their true nature or face discrimination, imprisonment or even torture and death.  In one notable storyline, a supervillian from the future created the HIV-like Legacy Virus, which ripped through the mutant population and had no known cure. Currently there are openly gay members of nearly every X-team and the main squad is based in San Francisco, with frequent depictions of the city’s vibrant queer culture.

One of the multitude of X-titles published by Marvel Comics, Generation Hope  focuses on the next generation of young mutants, facing a world where their number have been greatly decreased. Hitting the streets today, Generation Hope #9 tackles a subject very much in the national spotlight: the gay-teen suicide epidemic. In an exclusive interview with, writer Kieron Gillen says the book was the ideal venue for broaching the sensitive subject.

It’s not the type of story that fits in any other major superhero book. It’s simply not what those books are about. But the X-Men? X-Men is a book about mutants, used as a metaphor about prejudice. And of the X-Men books, Generation Hope is fundamentally about new mutants trying to survive dealing with the fact they’re mutants. With the metaphor in place, you can not just do a story about it—I dare say you should tell a story about it. In a real way, it’s the sort of story Generation Hope exists to tell. If we can’t tell this story and tell it as well as we can, the book may as well not exist.

Gillen says he was determined to do the storyline justice and ran his script by several longtime readers as well as the top brass at Marvel. “It’d be inexcusable to mess this one up. I don’t think I have.”


Generation Hope #9 is in stores now. For a special six-page preview, visit

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  • Jamie McKelvie

    Thanks for the write-up. We’re proud of the issue. I should point out, though, that Kieron isn’t gay.

    Or if he is, his wife doesn’t know about it.

  • Jimmy Fury

    Come on Queerty it doesn’t take 4 hours to correct a post.

    and @Jamie McKelvie, please pardon me while I geek out at your presence. *ahem*
    OMGOMGOMGOMGILOVEYOURWORK. Ok. I’m done now. The series is awesome.

  • Henry

    Shame on Queerty for outing Kieron!

  • Jimmy Fury

    Just finished reading it and damn.
    It was really good. Made me cry like a small child. Job well done.

  • Sarge

    Creative cover art.

  • StevenW

    Ok, checked out the 6 page preview. A bit of a cliched start perhaps, but definite potential. And I recall Kieron as a solid writer when he was a PC game reviewer (if a bit pretentious now and then) so on the whole I am enthusiastic.

  • Tookitooki

    Bring back Jean Grey.

  • fanboi

    Very good issue. Powerful. I liked the ending. While the main story focus wasn’t a LGBT related suicide, they DID manage to bring one up. They also got Wolverine to say “IT GETS BETTER.”

    Wolvie really seems to be bonding with Hope’s “lights.” I have a feeling they’ll be with him post-Schism.

  • Carl

    Nice, like the shout out to Sheffield. Makes a change for a none-UK comic to reference any of our cities other than London. Sheffield needs better gay bars though, Dempseys just doesn’t cut it.

    Since this is a young series, only a few issues in, I might start picking it up.

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