Gaming

DC’s Official Justice League Drag Show Reveals the True Cultural Power of Comics

Summary

  • DC Comics showcases the power of comics by featuring a Justice League-themed drag show in Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4.
  • The comic addresses the controversy surrounding drag shows and demonstrates how comics can make statements about real-life current events.
  • The publication of this comic highlights how far comics have come since the days of heavy censorship and shows the ability of creative teams to use their voices to speak truths.


Warning: Spoilers for Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4!By showcasing a Justice League-themed drag show, DC Comics showcases just how powerful the medium of comic books can be in the modern age. Anyone with access to the news is likely aware of how controversial the topic of drag shows has been in 2023. It’s become a political hot topic, with several states passing laws to restrict drag performances while others have called to ban drag altogether.

DC Comics addressed the controversy head-on with drag performers dressed as members of the Justice League in Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 by Joanne Starer, Natacha Bustos, Tamra Bonvillain, Ariana Maher, and Andrea Shea. The central heroes attend a Smallville Drag Brunch, the small town’s only drag brunch and, naturally, it’s superhero-themed, featuring drag-inspired spin-offs of Booster Gold, Martian Manhunter, and even Fire.

Martha Kent brings Fire and Ice to a Justice League drag event

The fact that DC Comics can even display such a controversial subject in the confines of its pages paints a picture of just how comics have evolved since the days when the Comics Code Authority heavily censored comics. Most importantly, it shows how comics can be used to make big, sweeping statements about the important current events taking place in real life.


Smallville Hosts a Drag Event Inspired by the Justice League

Fire and Ice reconcile at the Justice League Drag Brunch

In the last issue, Fire harbors a slew of supervillains in the salon that she bought with Ice – without consulting Ice about it – for the sake of creating a rehabilitation clinic. When much of the salon is destroyed in a fight that breaks out, Beefeater is killed and eaten, and Jimmy Olsen is transformed into a giant turtle. Ice is understandably miffed with Fire, straining their relationship. Mutual friend Martha Kent decides to intervene in this issue, bringing the girls together to reconcile at a Justice League-themed drag brunch that Martha calls a “beautiful celebration of love, feminity, and glitter.”

Fire and Ice begrudgingly agree, and the best friends quickly patch things up, despite getting kicked out for talking through the performances. They walk out of the building to find a crowd led by a former Miss Congeniality winner, all protesting the drag event happening. While Ice tries to neutralize the situation, Fire escalates it by punching Miss Congeniality in the face, sending her flying out of her high heels (and unbeknownst to Fire, leaving her to be eaten).

This DC Comic Never Could Have Come Out Decades Ago

Fire and Ice confront a crowd protesting the Justice League drag show-1

Fire and Ice confront a crowd protesting the Justice League drag show-2

Some readers may consider the statement made by the comic to be too political, but the fact that the comic even exists today is a feat worth celebrating. In the 1950s, the Comics Code Authority was instituted to heavily censor comics, both the images they held and the stories they told. Affecting comics for decades, some consider the CCA largely a failure because of how it limited the freedom of creators. The CCA would have never allowed Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville’s issue to go to print, but the fact that is was published highlights how creative teams can use their voices now to speak truths that couldn’t be uttered when the CCA was still in effect.

Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 is a reminder of how timely comics can be in offering commentary on relevant angles like this happening in the world. Commenting on drag shows through the Justice League utilizes comics as a medium of political commentary to its full potential.

Fire & Ice: Welcome to Smallville #4 is on sale now from DC Comics.

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