Representation matters. That’s the very point of why we do #BlackSuperheroMonth: to emphasize and continuously reiterate that African-American stories are not a monolith. Our stories are unique, nuanced and intersectional; reflecting all walks of life and lifestyles. That’s why today’s featured character is an important addition to the narrative of Black superheroes: Masquerade.
Returning to the Dakotaverse— home of heroes such as Static, The Blood Syndicate, and Icon—Masquerade (real name unknown) realized that his assigned gender did not match his gender identity, thus when he presented himself, he always presented to those around him as male. Masquerade never disclosed his birth gender to anyone, even when he joined up with the local gang, the Paris Bloods. The only person who knew of his assigned gender was his brother who loved and accepted him unconditionally. A ruthless fighter with ambitious cunning, Masquerade’s life was changed, just like so many others- when the Big Bang—a gang war which resulted in everyone being doused in genetic altering material—happened. Now armed with the ability to shapeshift into any creature or person he would like, Masquerade was eventually recruited by the Blood Syndicate.
As a Syndicate member, Masquerade battled his fears of his fellow team members discovering his biological gender. Despite proving himself to be a capable fighter and even leading the Syndicate—granted under the guise of their deceased former leader—he feared he would immediately be dejected and turned away by the group; it would even prompt him to betray the Syndicate at some point. Though Masquerade straddled the line of morality, his narrative is an important addition to the culture. For one thing, Masquerade just might be the only black transgender character that has existed within the medium. His narrative is far from perfect—he was created by cishet men after all—but he does bring another voice that needs to be heard.
Brandon Blackmon was born and raised in Clinton, NC. After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; graduating with a bachelor’s in psychology. He attended Pfeiffer University where he received a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is currently a licensed marriage and family therapist. Brandon is a proud blerd (Black nerd) and a firm advocate and believer that representation matters in all forms of media.