“The Marriage of True Minds”
Writer: Chris Claremont
Pencils: Alan Davis
Inks: Paul Neary
Colours: Glynis Oliver
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Original publication date: October 1989
What do Gloria Anzaldúa, Donna Haraway, and Kitty Pryde have in common? Find out in this week’s discussion of Excalibur #13, “The Marriage of True Minds,” where Anna, Mav, and Andrew are graced by the intersectional insights of comics scholar & queer archives specialist Dr. Margaret Galvan! Topics include the multivalent feminism of one K. Pryde, the queered metamorphoses of one Nigel Frobisher, the mysterious selective face-blindness of one Brian Braddock, and the multitudinous pleasures of one Alan Davis page.
This episode has an enhanced video version! Watch here:
Latest salvo in Andrew’s war against Toxic Brian:
“The title is a Shakespeare reference. It basically means, ‘If you love someone, you shouldn’t try to change them, and you shouldn’t try to change *for* them.’ That speaks the Kitty’s story here. But when the title page is revealed, it’s Brian. The man who’s in a relationship with an empathic metamorph who is changing to please him.” -Andrew
On Kitty’s princess-ly transformation:
“My first time reading this I didn’t think that much about how horrifying what’s done to Kitty actually is, where her mind and body are re-made to fit a stereotypical feminine ideal. Re-reading it, it’s all I can think about.” -Anna
On Kitty Pryde’s multivalent feminism:
“In my work, I do a lot of thinking about which things were in cultural production at the same time. I chose Gloria Anzaldúa and Donna Haraway to talk about Kitty because they were her contemporaries in the 1980s. Kitty uses her powers to build coalition. Her power is not so powerful she can do it all herself. She’s intersectional before we’re commonly using that word.” -Margaret
More on Kitty’s multiplicity:
“I first read this story as a 15-year-old Black boy, not a 15-year-old Jewish girl. But it never occurred to me *not* to identify with Kitty. That speaks to her multiplicity and strength as a character. And she embodies that multiplicity literally here, when she’s flipping back and forth on the page between her older and younger self.” -Mav
On the characters’ multivalent responses to Kitty’s transformation:
“Rachel is distraught, Kurt is angry, Brian is intrigued (?) and Meggan is like ‘she looks beautiful!’ But Rachel’s reaction is particularly moving. She acts like she just lost her best friend.” -Anna
On Nigel Frobisher’s evolving queerness:
“Something really important happens here. It’s not Gatecrasher that explains the transformation. Nigel explains it. That means Nigel knows he dreams of being Courtney Ross.” -Mav
Perspectives on a page:
“Ideally, comics create an immersive experience for the reader, where they’re moving around in the space in a way that’s synchronized with the content, giving them spatial awareness. Here, the reader becomes distracted by the background action, which is exactly what the page is trying to express – a distraction where you miss the sleight-of-hand by the queen. This page puts you right there in that world. That’s not just genius illustration. That’s top-notch draftsmanship.” -Andrew
“You’re primed for distraction because there’s so much text on the page. It’s a lot of text and it’s very weighty because it’s all on that left side, weighing it down. It’s showing us visually how tedious this conversation is.” -Margaret
“We’ve talked before about whether Kurt’s the leader of Excalibur, and I said he is because of his emotional intelligence. I love that he’s the one who doesn’t gets distracted here – who follows the important action going on.” -Anna
Want more Margaret Galvan?
We’ll keep you posted on Margaret’s book on X-Men: The Animated Series!
You can also read Margaret’s X-Men insights in the book The Ages of the X-Men: Essays on the Children of the Atom in Changing Times! Margaret’s chapter is called “From Kitty to Cat: Kitty Pryde and the Phases of Feminism.”
You can also support StripAIDS2020, “A series of new comics addressing contemporary aspects of the ongoing HIV pandemic, commissioned by Visual AIDS and curated by Paul Sammut.” You can find details here.
Also mentioned on the pod: the work of Ramzi Fawaz, whose ideas are distilled in the book The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics.
And as usual:
You can find Andrew on Twitter (@ClaremontRun).