Thursday, 4 April 2013

Excalibur: Cross-Dressing Caper

Excalibur now engages in the Cross-Time Caper, where Claremont and Davies invent Sliders 6 years ahead of schedule. Like that show, it uses its settings principally as sources of comedy, rather than seriously as a tool to examine history; and any drama that arises comes mostly from the characters and their reaction to being stranded. Unlike that show it features a massive BDSM subtext.

I'll skip most of the immensely tedious details of the various alternate timelines (although the gay ogres, the royal marriage of Prince William and Catherine are worth a mention, as is the the world which is a a horrifying preview of what comics will be like in the 1990s. Captain America is a cyborg. Galactus comes in at the end to arresteat everyone for being too silly.)

Instead on Earth-616, Nigel Frobisher continues his long-running plotline. You remember what I wrote about body mod fic in the Lady Mandarin entry. Well, that's not the only fetish stuff that appears in late 1980s X-Men. Nanny would just about slip under the radar if we weren't looking for it (as has pretty much everything involving heroes being tied up), but now we're primed to see what we can find, there's adult baby and ageplay, well before the mass media coverage that that attracted in the early 1990s. The Frobisher plotline has feminization, where Frobisher is briefly transformed - against his will but in line with his innermost desire - to the form of Courtney Ross. It's immediately brushed off as a joke, but those few panels are no more an accidental invocation of this than I am a steeplejack.

Phoenix's costume is kind of a bit, too, and I don't just mean the spikes, when suspended upside down; Kitty is able to wriggle out from her boots (amateur work tying them up). But Ray admits that her boots go up to her neck. This sort of garment exists but is very specialist; typically catsuits are worn with separate boots, even in the fetish community. Even by comic book costuming standards, this is impractical. Catwoman doesn't wear one: the cover of the recent Catwoman #1 shows this quite clearly. And there would have to be a zip or other fastener, something Ray's costume does not appear to have. We know that Ray can shift atoms around to make clothes: is that how the Phoenix costume works? Did she magic it up around herself? She's three openings in her costume away from being Fetishman. Of course, this all ignores the fact that the costume was forced on her, back when she was a hound in the future, which isn't fetishy at all, no. In #16, she dresses up in a different costume entirely, to enter a tournament. This one is a bit more ponygirl.

This stuff, put together, makes the Hellfire Club and Emma Frost look vanilla.

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