Who is your favorite superhero? If you’re like many comic book fans, your choice to love a superhero may have a sacred reason to you. The idea of a superhero is a means to escape for many fans. When we delve into why we love our superheroes, we may come up with an assortment of reasons. Maybe you like Spiderman because of his quick wit. Maybe you like Batman because of his ability to turn his dark past into something meaningful. Maybe you like Wonder Woman because she seeks the truth. Maybe you like Wolverine because he’s a classic antihero but deep down he seeks to do the right thing. Or maybe the reason why you love your favorite superhero never occurred to you.
Whatever the reason is, most people would agree that we love our favorite superheroes because they’re an extension of ourselves. They’re who we long to be or who we long to be with. They symbolize our deepest desire to save or be saved. Superheroes are the part of us that rescues the parts of us that need saving. They’re who we are in our daydreams. They’re who we pretend to be when we act out conversations in our heads. Our escape from reality. Our ideal version of ourselves.
Which is why Aftershock’s introduction of Chalice in their series “Alters” is a such a tremendous leap forward in a world striving to make everyone feel acknowledged and accepted. Everyone wants to relate to their favorite heroes, everyone wants their favorite fictional character to experience things that they might experience and perhaps offer a fresh and unique perspective to the situation. Which is one of many reasons that Chalice needed to exist.
Chalice is a character in Aftershock’s new series “Alters”. The series is about mutated humans facing the conflict of prejudice and discovering new, dangerous powers among themselves. Chalice is a college student known to her family as Charlie Young. While transitioning to female, Chalice struggles with finding the best time to break the news to her family. Hurdling through her mundane life as male, Chalice is truly extraordinary in that her superhero form is also who she truly feels she is. The following is quoted directly from Aftershock’s description:
“As the world struggles to accept the emergence of these Alters, a young woman begins her transition from male to female only to find herself also transitioning into a powerful Alter. Faced with persecution by the multi-powered fascist known only as Matter Man, she will face the world as Chalice–a hero for a new age. But as Chalice navigates the path to becoming her true self, she must juggle the complications of her civilian life and the responsibilities of her newfound power.
This groundbreaking series–years in the making–begins the saga of a young woman who can only really be herself…whenever she is not herself.“
The series is written by Eisner award winner Paul Jenkins, who is well known in the comic book universe. His contributions include writing for the Hellblazer series, Wolverine: Origins, The Incredible Hulk, Civil war, Captain America, The Sentry, Inhumans, and many, many other awe inspiring series.
In an interview, Jenkins said the plan for a Transgender superhero was always there but it wasn’t solidified until a fan encouraged him to create a hero who had not fully transitioned yet.
Though the comic is not just about Chalice’s struggle, there is a homeless character, a character who suffers with PTSD, a character who breaks his neck, and many other characters who face being marginalized or live with a disadvantage.
Truly, Chalice is a heroine to look forward to. Comic book heroes not only save the day in their comic book universes, they also ignite inspiration and creativitity. Superheroes inspire the courage within us to face our everyday problems. Chalice exists because somewhere out there, someone needed this perspective. Chalice needed to exist because someone is living a similar existence and doesn’t know how to proceed with life. Chalice needed to exist because someone out there is trying to relate to their son or daughter a little better. Chalice needed to exist because there are still people out there who don’t understand. Hopefully, Chalice inspires courage in someone who truly deserves it.