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When gay comic fans had been clamoring for a gay superhero to identify with, I don’t think Extrano (meaning “strange”) was what most homosexuals had in mind. Right away, Gregorio de La Vega was the epitome of every cliched gay stereotype. His manners, his look, just about everything about him was so overly flamboyant to the point that most readers, gay and straight, simply cringed with embarrassment whenever they saw him. Worst yet, he was later bitten by a goblin who gave him the AIDS virus – in a time where most people couldn’t think of homosexuality without also thinking of the deadly disease (this certainly didn’t help matters). Nevertheless, there was a genuine sweetness and zest for life about Extrano that ultimately won most readers over to him.

extrano2016Gregorio was one of the few chosen humans of Earth to take part in an experiment in human evolution during one of DC’s worst inter-company crossovers ever called Millennium. Gregorio and several others were then transformed into their ultimate selves, and the group spun off into their own title the New Guardians (volume 1), which was, safe to say, quite possibly the lamest assemblage of characters ever introduced in comics in the entire history of the medium. To no one’s surprise, the title was soon cancelled, and Extrano and his comrades faded into obscurity, never to be seen again. Extrano can perform a variety of magical tasks as an avatar of Chaos, which isn’t quite as bad as it sounds.

Writer Steve Orlando surprised just about every comics nerd when he and artist Fernando Blanco had Extrano return in his Apollo and Midnighter mini series in 2016. Orlando teased that Extrano had changed while artist Fernando Blanco confirmed a visual makeover for the queer sorcerer. Gregorio had married former Global Guardians member Tasmanian Devil and are living in Lima along with their adopted young daughter Suri. Extrano also appeared in Justice League Dark by James Tynion IV, Alvaro Martinez Blanco, Raul Fernandez, and Brad Anderson (issues 1, 8 – 10, 12, and 22).

Created by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton. Extrano’s first appearance is in Millennium #2 and went on to appear as one of the ensemble cast members in New Guardians. Art by Joe Staton and Ian Gibson (feature image) and Fernando Blanco (first image) and Fernando Blanco and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

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July 12, 2021
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