New Transgender Superhero Comic Book Figure Has a North Carolina Connection
Cover is a protest of HB 2
By CAL Staff
Christian Action League
September 30, 2016
WINSTON-SALEM – When most people think of a superhero comic book figure, they think of Spider Man, the Green Lantern, Captain America, Wonder Woman, Iron Man, the Hulk, Batman, and of course, the indomitable Superman. Dating back to the 1930s when comic books were first published, these costumed fictional characters were mostly dedicated to using their superhuman powers to fight crime, protect the public from supervillains, and overcome evil. They’ve inspired children and youth to follow after what’s noble and good.
That’s changing. Today there are new characters like Apollo and Midnighter, who were originally created as gay versions of Batman and Superman. The couple is depicted as married now with an adoptive daughter who is also a superheroine. Then there’s Preacher, a character who was possessed by a supernatural creature named Genesis that was born from the coupling of an angel and a demon. Preacher is so powerful and such a killing machine he ultimately kills both the Devil and God.
One of the latest superhero characters introduced in September from AfterShock Comics can manipulate gravity and fly. That may not seem so special, except this heroine is transgender. Her name is Chalice. Really she’s a he named Charlie Young in the brand new comic book series, Alters, which has a North Carolina connection.
According to an article in the Winston-Salem Journal, Ssalefish Comics, located in the Silas Creek Crossing shopping center in Winston-Salem, commissioned the cover for Alters. “The cover makes fun of HB 2 by depicting Chalice holding up a unisex symbol to replace the sign on a bathroom door,” reports the newspaper.
HB 2, commonly known as “the bathroom bill,” was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in March and overturned a Charlotte City ordinance that would have permitted men to use women’s bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms. It would have also unfairly allowed the government to overreach into private businesses and churches by forcing them to promote ideas and participate in events that conflicted with their religious or moral beliefs.
But despite its common-sense, Bret Parks, the owner of Ssalefish, told The Journal that he “wanted the cover to take a jab at HB 2.” He said he “thought this was a direct and effective way to comment on HB 2.”
Parks collaborated with Paul Jenkins and Joe Pruett, reports The Journal, “the publisher and a co-founder of AfterShock Comics,” who reached out to him in June. Parks said, “They had started to promote the book, and thanks to the mess that is HB 2, they wanted the support from a high profile North Carolina store.”
Jenkins has an extensive list of comic book credits. In an article about the new comic book’s release, The New York Times said that Alters was “a passion project” for Jenkins, “one he has pursued since 2005.” Jenkins, said The Times, was raised by a gay single mother, who believes, “If we ever get to a point where issues such as race, sexuality and gender identity are a non-issue, we will have arrived.”
Jenkins told the The Times he didn’t believe the comic featuring Chalice would “turn into a series of moral lessons in which everyone learns about tolerance and grows as a person.” He felt the most important thing was to tell a story about “heroes and villains, and to let these things come out in the process.”
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said he was intrigued when he first heard about the new Alters series. He said that after a meeting with some colleagues in Winston-Salem recently, he dropped by the Ssalefish store and purchased a copy to read for himself.
“I read it. The cover is about HB 2, but not the content. The content is unquestionably subtle propaganda for normalizing transgenderism,” said Dr. Creech. “It speaks to the issue on many different levels. It’s allegorical, I think, in ways. Chalice is really Charlie who discovers he’s an Alter. He needs other Alters to help him. He’s living life at three intersections, as an Alter, a transgender, and member of a family that he desperately wants to accept him as a female. Still, he’s super unique and powerful. It’s a message of affirmation, making what’s deviant and immoral acceptable.”
The story line moves from one situation to another from Charlie’s entries into his Diary. The history of the Alters beginnings in the world and their arch enemy, “Matter Man,” is seen in the opening pages. Afterward, the story moves to a scene of Charlie with his All-American family, apparently living in the suburbs with his parents and two brothers, one of which suffers from cerebral palsy. Charlie appears to be the more sensitive brother and is compassionate and kind to his afflicted sibling.
The artwork depicts Charlie’s father as a macho male. The other brother is portrayed as chauvinistic and makes a disparaging remark about gays, which is quickly corrected by Charlie’s Mom. The family goes to enjoy a baseball game together, cheer the home team, and eat hot dogs. All the while, Charlie hides from them that he’s taking hormone therapy and transitioning into a woman. He opines quietly to himself that he doesn’t want to hurt his family, but he needs to be able to be himself as a girl.
In another scene Charlie is depicted with a male friend that likes the ladies. When a girl passes next to both of them, Charlie’s friend calls “Dibs” on the young woman. Charlie, however, keeps to himself that he’s not like his friend and has no interest in the opposite sex.
One of the most disconcerting and confusing scenes is when Matter Man threatens to destroy Alters that don’t abide by his rules. Making a televised address, Matter Man says he’s looking for the new Alter, Chalice, who recently revealed herself but hasn’t reported and submitted to him. Alters that don’t fall under his command he refers to as “enemies of the state.”
“That is why I am now declaring Jihad,” says Matter Man. Next to Matter Man is an individual on his knees in an orange jump-suit – just like the 21 Egyptian Christians that were recently beheaded by ISIS. To demonstrate his ruthless maniacal authority over unregulated Alters and those that may harbor them, Matter Man breaks the man’s neck before a horrified audience on national television.
“It’s hard to understand what’s implied in these scenes. Perhaps Jenkins leaves it to the reader to make their own associations,” said Dr. Creech. “But it seems, within the context of the comic itself; such scenes make comparisons to LGBT victimization, while simultaneously demonizing anyone who opposes their way of life.”
Dr. Creech added that it’s unfortunate the LGBT community misinterprets any opposition to their way of life as bigotry and hatred.
“Serious Christians don’t dismiss the perceived misalignment transgenders experience between their bodies and the gender with which they identify. However, neither should we affirm those feelings as legitimate and something to which they should surrender,” said Dr. Creech. “All of us have dignity and eternal worth. Nevertheless, to say that men can be women and women can be men is to peddle in fiction about human nature. God made them male and female, the Bible says, and no amount of suppression or repression can change this truth or bring the joy and freedom individuals struggling with this dysphoria seek. Comic books like this take youngsters down a path of delusion. It’s a form of child abuse, actually.”
Parks told The Journal most of his customers either supported or just ignored the comic.
The Christian Action League urges parents not to ignore, but beware of this dangerous piece of LGBT propaganda.
Moreover, it should be noted that Ssalefish Comics in Winston-Salem has declared itself an opponent of legislation that protects people from violations to their fundamental right to privacy. They are opponents of a law that prevents women and young girls from being forced to use a restroom, undress or shower, in the presence of a man. Although Ssalefish Comics may likely wish to preserve their right to live and work in accordance with their LGBT beliefs, they would attack the very law (HB 2) that protects the same right of other private businesses to hold and peacefully practice a different view on human sexuality.