Marvel reveals its first non-binary superhero, Snowflake, and the backlash is blistering
Marvel has announced its first non-binary superhero, a Black character called Snowflake, as part of a planned New Warriors reboot.
As part of the reboot, Marvel shared its plans for a cast of new characters – one of which is Snowflake, who has a twin brother called Safespace.
Snowflake is Marvel’s first-ever non-binary superhero, and their superpower is generating snowflakes.
And with all the sensitivity of two white cisgender men, Marvel’s Daniel Kibblesmith and Luciano Vecchio also announced that Snowflake is blue-themed – blue hair, blue eyes, blue outfit – while Safespace is pink-themed.
I personally love to see two white cis men at Marvel create a black nonbinary character named “Snowflake” in the year of our lord 2020
— Kate Leth (@kateleth) March 18, 2020
Look, I’m sure everyone at Marvel has the best of intentions but by god read the room on naming two black NB characters Snowflake and Safespace
— Justin Carter (@GigawattConduit) March 18, 2020
“Snowflake and Safespace are the twins,” said Kibblesmith, “and their names are very similar to Screentime [another new character]; it’s this idea that these are terms that get thrown around on the internet that they don’t see as derogatory.”
Kibblesmith added: “[They] take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor.
“Safespace is a big, burly, sort of stereotypical jock. He can create forcefields, but he can only trigger them if he’s protecting somebody else.
“Snowflake is non-binary and goes by they/them, and has the power to generate individual crystallised snowflake-shaped shurikens.
“The connotations of the word ‘snowflake’ in our culture right now are something fragile, and this is a character who is turning it into something sharp.
“Snowflake is the person who has the more offensive power, and Safespace is the person who has the more defensive power. The idea is that they would mirror each other and complement each other.”
I think it is, calling one snowflake, we all know what that really means, not much of a joke seems anti non binary to me, but I am happy for non binary folk to put me right.
— Diana James 🌈✡ (@dianalouisej) March 19, 2020
Unsurprisingly, the reaction to calling two Black characters, one of which is non-binary, Snowflake and Safespace has not gone down well online.
Marvel seriously named a non-binary Black teen (written by a white cishet man) "Snowflake." And their twin brother is a pink-wearing Black boy named Safespace. 😑
— LA Knight🐈(🤓🏳️🌈❤💜💙📚🧚🏼🦇🤧🥄) (@LA_Knight89) March 19, 2020
One Twitter user wrote: “Calling your first non-binary superheroes Snowflake and Safespace is the most insensitive and out of touch things you could do.
“They sounds [sic] like the kind of names you’d expect a writer who’s trying to make fun of non-binary people would give their characters.”
Thanks, I hate it
Snowflake the name for a Non-Binary person? Get in the fucking sea.
— Lee-Anne/only-two (@GreenLee_Anne) March 18, 2020
marvel really pulled out “snowflake” and “safespace” as black heroes, and made snowflake NB. i hate marvel so much. Hire actuall black and NB writers. No one wants to reclaim snowflake.
— richie tozier love bot (@pitiossruins) March 19, 2020
And the names have also gone down badly with the people who would usually make fun of non-binary people.
Right-wing website LifeSiteNews was critical of what it saw as a poor attempt to appeal to left-wing “woke” comic fans, while still, presumably, not providing sufficient fodder for it to mock the new non-binary character.
It reported on Marvel’s news with the headline “Marvel goes full social justice with transgender New Warrior ‘Snowflake'”.
Similarly, left-wing website The Mary Sue was also critical, arguing that even as LGBT+ representation goes, there “needs to be a lot more thought put into it than this”.
The new Marvel characters "Snowflake and Safespace" can bring us all together in hating equally! pic.twitter.com/iyFGqQBdSX
— Chad Hutsebaut (@ChadHutsee) March 18, 2020
The reaction to the new Marvel characters "Snowflake" and "Safespace" pic.twitter.com/AvYN2tTrSC
— This Is A Nighteye Fan Account (@BlazikenWreckMe) March 18, 2020