Uncensoring the story of Marvel’s cancelled Anole suicide (New Mutants).

A few months ago, I acquired a few pages from an unpublished (because it was too gay-themed and controversial for the times) storyline from Marvel comic’s New Mutants, which recently a film from the series was released in theatres, showcasing the first gay love story in a marvel film. I had a hard time making sense of some of the scenes since there is no dialogue (unpublished). I reached out to the writers of the comic and they were kind enough to dig through their memories and records to share the story!

Conversation below, slightly abridged.

Me:

Hi! Hope you are doing well! I’ve been working on a collection of LGBT moments in comics and have recently acquired some original art from [the New Mutants (Vol.2)] run that wasn’t published, but that I think would have been an incredibly powerful message and story to share with our community (we are always looking to see more representation in the comics!) I am hoping for a little backstory for the pages if possible, just to get a better context for what’s happening!

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir:

Hi. Please feel free to ask your questions.

Me:

Thanks so much for responding, I really appreciate the time! The pages I have [are] of the scene with Anole and Josh which don’t need as much explanation for but the scenes after (originally issue #9 which some were used in other issues doing the revamp], I’m not quite sure what the story was behind them. There is a fight scene between Josh and Julian, after the suicide scene and also a parent assembly where parents were angry and Shan bursts in with a something to say. Any recollection on what each of those scenes were depicting?

[I provide the images for each of the pages]

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir:

We’re digging up the old script to make sure we have all the details right (we remember the broad strokes of the story pretty well). So more information soon. But 9 & 10 are pages from the scene where Josh tried to heal Victor, but it was too late – he was already dead. Page 14 is Josh attacking Julian because Julian refused to feel guilty about having been horrible to Victor. And pages 17 & 18 are Victor’s funeral. There’s more detail, but we want to get it all right so we’re digging up the old scripts – which are backed up on an old hard drive.

Not a funeral – an assembly/memorial, we think.

Me:

Ah, that definitely puts the story into much better perspective!

I really appreciate the effort into going through the story with me

Especially with the fight scene between Josh and Julian, the anger in Josh’s expression is so intense and fits well with this particular scenario. Evokes a lot of sympathy for his character. I am very curious to know what the parents were shouting and what Shan was responding. Seems like another emotionally charged scene

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir:

So here’s the story… In Issue 8, Josh starts plans to switch rooms, because David hates him and Victor’s roommate moved out for reasons Victor doesn’t explain. Parents’ Week begins, and Victor’s parents visit him and meet Shan. David’s parents visit and also meet Shan (as well as Dani). Dani introduces Shan to Luna at the Grind Stone, and the two decide to go on a date.

At the end of that date, David and his parents are at the Grind Stone, and Shan kisses Luna as Luna heads back into work. David’s parents display the soft bigotry of “we don’t think there’s anything wrong with lesbianism, but why is she flaunting her sex life in front of the kids.” This upsets Victor’s parents, who are more old school bigots who believe that homosexuality is a sin. The parents protest, and as Xavier tries to calm them down, Northstar tells them off and walks off. Shan gets to the school, and discovers the firestorm right then and there.

The assembled parents vow to remove their kids from the school unless Shan leaves the school.

Victor comes to apologize to Shan, and that’s when he comes out to her. He says he wants to come out to his parents, because they accepted his mutation, they can accept this. And once they accept him, they’ll accept her. She tells him not to do it. Northstar comes and finds her and tells her off for even thinking of leaving the school.

Victor does come out to his parents, and they decide to withdraw him from the school and get him conversion therapy. He goes to Julian and Josh, upset, but when he tells them why, Julian rejects him, being upset that they played tackle football together. Josh is upset because this was why Victor’s last roommate left, and Victor didn’t tell him.

Their rejection, plus his parents’ decision causes Victor to go back to his room and slash his wrists.

Then in Issue 9, where all the art you have came from…

The first few pages are Noriko setup stuff and Luna and Shan breaking up, but the pages you have are Josh coming to Victor’s room to apologize, only to find him dead. He tries to heal Victor, but he heals the wounds without resurrecting him.

As medics come for the body, Northstar and Shan have a big argument as he points out that Victor was “an idiot” for killing himself at a school all about acceptance. Shan says Victor was only 15, and JP says “what’s your excuse?”

The next pages you have are after Julian makes a joke to Josh about getting a perfect GPA if your roommate kills yourself, and Josh starts beating the crap out of him. In the fight, Julian refuses to admit he did anything wrong. After the pages you have, David and Sofia join in to help Josh. Laurie sees them taking the body away, and starts to cry and her pheromones stop the fight, making them all break down.

The last pages you have are from a gathering of parents in the auditorium. Victor’s father is blaming the school for his son’s death. Shan comes in, stands up to him, and says they all let Victor down. She says her part of the blame came from being so worried about their reaction that she wasn’t there for him when he needed her. She vows to never make that mistake again, and Xavier vows to let her stay – with Northstar watching proudly.

It ended with David not quite forgiving his parents for what they started. And then going back to his room and checking to see how Josh was doing, starting that friendship.
Me:
Wow thanks for the breakdown! Hearing this storyline, now the other unpublished or reused pages make sense! I’m a little sad that this message didn’t get a chance to be published, however, I do love that Victor got the chance to grow into a lovable character and it is great to see that gay characters don’t just become backdrop stories to other straight characters. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with me! I’m part of a few different LGBT geek groups and marvel LGBT groups that might love to hear this. Would it be alright if I share with them this story?

Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir

Sure. And we agree. We’re ultimately glad Victor got to become an actual character too, instead of dying to advance Josh and Shan’s stories.

See below for a glimpse of these unpublished pages.

New Mutants, Issue #9, pages 9,10,14,17,18

Original Art by Khary Randolf

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