Extraño (Spanish for "strange" or "odd") is a fictional gay Hispanic magician published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Millennium #2 (January 1988), and was created by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton.
Fictional character biographyEdit
During the Millennium event, Extraño was part of a group selected by the Guardians of the Universe to take part in an experiment in human evolution. As a minor magician, his magical powers were heightened by the procedure, and his fellow participants gained new abilities as well. Together, they formed the superhero team New Guardians, and took it upon themselves to fight evil wherever it lurked on Earth.
Outwardly resembling nearly every stereotype of a gay man, Extraño initially wore loose colorful garments and has a lively, jovial attitude. He refers to himself as "Auntie" and usually imparts parent-like advice to his teammates. In reality, he may be the very first openly gay superhero, a distinction usually given to Marvel Comics' Northstar who, while coming out a few years after Extraño was introduced, was a much more popular character who existed for ten years prior and was implied to be gay in those appearances.
Serving as the team's resident magician, he could fire blasts of energy from his hands, levitate, and perform a large number of "stage tricks" to outwit his foes. Usually playing the role of comic relief, his flamboyant behavior was regarded as everything from funny to hateful by readers. He had an earnest sense of justice and love of life that made him popular with his teammates. During The New Guardians' short run, Extraño acquired a powerful crystal skull (which seemed to greatly amplify his abilities) and a more traditional, "masculine" superhero costume, perhaps as a reaction to the comments of readers.
In The New Guardians, Extraño helped his team defeat a number of supervillains while trying his best to assist them with personal problems. On one mission in particular, he was attacked by an "AIDS vampire" called the Hemo-Goblin. He was subsequently confirmed to be HIV-positive but it's unclear whether he was infected by Hemo-Goblin or had already been infected prior to his introduction. Though he showed no outward signs of the disease, his infection remained a somewhat unorthodox plot point. Although the Guardians continued to fight evildoers behind the scenes even after their comic ended, their island base was attacked and swallowed up by the villain Entropy in the pages of Green Lantern. For a time it was assumed Extraño died during this incident, but the recent reappearance of other New Guardians throws this into doubt.
Being a magician, Extraño has a number of abilities linked to his trade. Unlike stage parlor tricks, these spells rely on real sorcery and can be used for a variety of effects.