Marvel to feature its first live-action gay character in “Agents of SHIELD”

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What’s harder than getting comic book companies to include LGBT characters in their comics? Getting them to include LGBT characters anywhere else.

Marvel Comics is finally putting its first-ever out gay character on, well, the small screen; Victoria Hand, a lesbian, is making what has been described as her “debut” appearance, implying she may have a recurring role, on the upcoming November 12 episode of “Agents of SHIELD.”

The announcement was posted on Marvel’s blog on November 6, describing Hand as a “fan-favorite…best known from Brian Bendis’ runs on DARK AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS.”

The character will be played by actress Saffron Burrows, who is herself bisexual; the announcement was accompanied by a gallery of preview pictures.

The character’s job title is simply “accountant,” rather than being one of the superheroes on the payroll; however, SHIELD is the kind of place where even the interns are probably required to have demonstrated mastery of several projectile weapons and at least one martial art.

The Marvel wiki lists Hand as belonging to Earth-616, “the mainstream continuity of the Marvel multiverse, and where most of Marvel’s comics take place.” Her entry summarizes an impressive career as “a trained SHIELD agent with working knowledge of SHIELD combat and weapons tactics,” describing her as “qualified in hand-to-hand combat and all SHIELD-issue weapons,” and “frequently armed with advanced SHIELD weapons, including paralyzing energy weapons, high-payload grenade launchers and more standard blasters.”

This did not, unfortunately, keep her from being killed in the line of duty, as of the January 2013 issue of “New Avengers,” and her death was confirmed when fellow SHIELD agents found her body. Hopefully in this universe, her career will be a little longer.

429Magazine

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