Comics: Smash That Stereotype

The first transgender superhero was Mantra, who first appeared in Malibu Comics’s Ultraverse series in 1993. Creator Mike Barr explained on a collector card: “Mantra is a man, he just has a woman’s body. It was from this dichotomy that Mantra sprang. From the major theme — a switch in genders — came the minor theme of the series: a warrior who must become a sorcerer, a slayer who must become a nurturing mother, a man who has died hundreds of times must become a woman who can only die once. That’s the conundrum — and appeal — of Mantra.”