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Lord Fanny

Art by Phil Jimenez
Art by Phil Jimenez

Adelinda Morales and her husband Eugenio, and her mother, Dona Isola de Rios had moved to Rio de Janeiro from their native Mexico. Isola was the most feared bruja (witch) in the slums of Rio. Her power had been passed down to her from her mother just as she had passed hers on to Adelinda.

Isola was shocked when Adelinda gave birth to a boy, and demanded she become pregnant again in the hopes of having a girl to initiate as a bruja. The second pregnancy abruptly ended with a miscarriage, and forcing Isola to improvise. She’s convinced the answer is to raise Hilde as a girl. Adelinda seems agreeable but Eugenio voices his objection: “You can’t turn my boy into a sissy!” Isola shuts him up with a threat. Of course the first part of her plan is contingent on Hilde’s willingness to be raised as a girl. She tempts him with a frilly dress, and he accepts.

A drunk during Mardi Gras stabbed Adelina to death. Hilde was only seven and Isola and Aunt Marta (a woman who had slept with Hilde’s father) raised her. They taught Hilde magical plants and sorcerous arts, and told her stories of the gods and spirits that ruled the land in Pre-Columbian times.

Isola decided it was time to return to Mexico and the City of the Gods, Teotihuacan, when Hilde reached puberty and started to show an interest in boys. The time has come to initiate Hilde into brujeria. Hilde drinks hallucinogenic tea to start her vision quest, and to find her totem. Isola cuts Hilde’s thigh to simulate menstruation in order to attract the spirits. Reality becomes meaningless to Hilde in her altered state. A large butterfly alights on her forehead, becoming her totem.

The next step is an encounter with Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror, father of all witches. He comes to her in the form of a gaunt, headless figure with two wooden doors for his chest within which he keeps his heart. Hilde’s test is to snatch his heart in order to be granted a wish. Hilde succeeds and asks for both safe passage and return to Mictlan, the Dead Lands, to learn the secrets of magic from the Skeleton God.

In Mictlan Hilde earns the knowledge of magic. The Lord of the Dead insists she stay with him. Hilde objects, saying that Tezcatlipoca had promised her safe passage. Hilde offers to tell a joke in exchange for her freedom. She leaves the God’s throne room and enters the Garden of Life and Death. By gashing her tongue with sacred thorns Hilde learns the secret language of shamans. Finally, the goddess Izpapalotl commands her to leave or be killed. Hilde returns to her body and finds her grandmother and Aunt Marta waiting for her. As they’re driving away from the temple, Isola says she has a special gift for Hilde. It’s her first lipstick.

When Lord Fanny turned 18 she joined The Invisibles, a group of radical anarchists whose goals were to save humanity from being enslaved to the extra dimensional Archons and snap the world out of its mass hallucination commonly referred to as
reality.

Lord Fanny created by Grant Morrison. Fanny is an example of the shamanic traditions that were valid and accepted expressions of some Native peoples throughout the Americas which were seen as evil and satanic by European and white American conquerors. Native men and women who had same sex attractions were seen as powerful and special. They often assumed clothing and gender roles of their opposite sex, and were often highly sought after as spouses. While Fanny may have been raised as a female, I believe the character is a little too complicated to label simply as transgender and could also be considered gay, though no contemporary label will be totally accurate since modern notions of accepted sexual identities are too constrictive.

Lord Fanny first appears and is outed in The Invisibles #2, vol 1.

© and ® DC/ Vertigo Comics. Used without permission.

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