On Being the (Second) Drag Queen in the Marvel Universe

Photo courtesy of terrenceclowe.com

Earlier this month, Marvel announced it will be expanding its podcast offerings to include several scripted programs and nonfiction shows. This makes sense, given the success they’ve had with their Wolverine podcast, which won the Webby Award for Best Original Music/Sound Design and the iHeartRadio Award for Best Scripted Podcast. Wolverine: The Long Night ran from September to November in 2018. The second season, The Lost Trail, premiered in March, with weekly episodes from July to September 2019.

The Lost Trail’s third episode, “The Cold Blooded,” contained a nice surprise for LGBTQ X-Fans. It introduced the character of Flamingeaux, a drag queen compatriot of Logan whose as good with a gun as a one-liner. Joking about him being grumpy and calling the titular mutant “Lo-Lo,” Flamingeaux proves to be a resourceful ally in the fight for mutant freedom with hints of a rich backstory.

Actor Terrence Clowe performed the voice of Flamingeaux, and, though he only appears for a few minutes, he leaves a distinct impression, and not just lipstick smears on “Lo-Lo”’s cheek. I contacted Mr. Clowe via email to see if he’d like to share more about the role, Flamingeaux’s place in the wider Marvel Universe, and what it’s like to be the (second) drag queen in the X-Men canon.

How did this role come to your attention? What was the audition process like? Was there anything in particular that attracted you to the role?

I initially received the audition through my manager. It was a bit daunting at first as they requested me to record two scenes and to prepare a song in the style of the character.

The character description was as follows: A drag singer who performs in the French Quarter of NOLA. In another life, he was a private security guard in a conflict zone abroad. But he left that behind. Now he’s a beloved performer who fashions himself as an advocate for oppressed people of all stripes. Fiercely loyal to his friends. Singing ability a plus.

So you see, I had no idea it was for Wolverine!

Having a background in musical theatre, I was up for the challenge and excited to audition for my first podcast. I had heard that podcasts in general were becoming more popular, but unless you are submitted through your representation and granted an audition it is pretty impossible to get in and be considered for roles. So, just getting an audition, I felt like I scored! LOL

I chose It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls as my song which I sang (down a few octaves) and envisioned myself performing in my favorite Drag Bar, the now-defunct Xes Lounge. I have to admit, recording it with my voice over coach was a ton of fun. The monologue resonated with me on a personal level, especially in light of our current political climate where so much division is being promoted and accepted. I found it moving and poignant. It was key to create these imaginary relationships and experiences through improvisation on my own so that once it came to recording there was a clear understanding of the text. Guess it worked out alright!

How similar and different was it to auditioning for a tv or film role? What was the recording process like?

In general, I prepared the same as I would auditioning for any role in any medium. Although it is voice over, having to define the wants and needs of the character were the same. I study with a fantastic coach, Anthony Abeson, who is big on identifying references to the past and character relationships so I put that to work. The recording process was thrilling. In most of the VO work I’ve done, I was confined to the recording booth and movement was impossible as you were hooked up to headphones in front of a microphone. Here, we were in a large booth were we were blocked and choreographed. It was so cool. During the fighting scenes I was literally hurling myself on the floor. During Flamingeaux’s on-stage performance, I was actually moving and dancing, and I entered my dressing room to meet Wolverine tossing a pair of high heels to the floor as I spoke of “getting out these heels.” I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Are you a fan of the X-Men or Marvel movies? Did you do any research to prepare for the role, like read any comics or watch any movies? Did you do any research into drag, New Orleans, or espionage?

Yes! The recent Black Panther movie is my favorite to date. Once I found out the project was Wolverine, I did some online research into the character and watched Hugh Jackman do his thing. I must admit I got distracted by his beauty most of the time. LOL My husband is also a huge fan so we generally go and see the new Marvel movies as they are released.

Hugh Jackman in Logan

I have dabbled in drag for different roles. Most recently for a TV movie titled Eye for an Eye starring Lew Temple from The Walking Dead. The release date hasn’t been set. I also love RuPaul. I remember seeing him perform at a club in the East Village back in the 90’s when I was at NYU called The World and thought he was so magnetic. I envisioned Flamingeaux having a bit of his flair onstage.

Wolverine has been depicted in a same-sex relationship in the past, though this was dismissed as having been in an alternate universe. Do you think it’s a possibility that Flamingeaux and Wolverine would be a couple? Did you intend to imply that? Or is this just wishful thinking on my part?

Hmmmm…it’s fun to think of a relationship as a possibility, but I felt they were only extremely close friends. I envisioned a situation where Wolverine had Flamingeaux’s back early on as he perhaps came out while on security detail and encountered homophobia. This created a bond that led to an undeniable trust where we now see Wolverine seeking his help and Flamingeaux willing to fight on his behalf.

Richard Armitage voices Wolverine for Marvel’s podcast. Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema

I was disappointed Flamingeaux didn’t appear again for the rest of The Lost Trail. Do you think we’ll see or hear Flamingeaux again? Would you return to the role, maybe in a tv show? Would you like to see the character depicted in a comic?

There was talk of it happening, which is one of the reasons he didn’t die during the confrontation [with Weapon X later in the episode]. I would love to see him in one of the franchises on screen, and YES I would certainly be available! I think it would be cool to see him have a life in the comics as well. He is such an interesting character with a luscious background, but I think ultimately seeing him again would be up to the fans.

Earlier this year, Sina Grace introduced the character of Darkveil in Iceman, vol. 4 #4, “seemingly Marvel’s first drag queen superhero,” according to the Marvel fandom wiki. Had you heard of this character? While there’s obviously plenty of room for two drag queens in the Marvel Universe (and hopefully many more in the future), do you have any concerns that people might consider her too similar to Flamingeaux or vice versa? Why or why not?

Frankly, I was not familiar with Darkveil. I personally think the more LGBTQ representation there is the better. Seeing these characters that are comfortable in their own skin kicking ass is amazing. I say the more the merrier. The commonality between the two of course is drag but I think fans will be able to clearly distinguish the two because their personalities and backgrounds are so unique.

Darkveil. Artwork by Sina Grace

Where can we see/hear you next?

Thank you for asking! I am in my first Christmas movie, A Christmas Movie Christmas premiering on October 27th on UPtv, Dish188, Direct TV338 7pm Eastern and 4pm Pacific. I play the role of Mr. Peterson and Scrooge in an endearing story of a woman who loves Christmas movies and gets magically transported into one.

A Christmas Movie Christmas. Image courtesy of UPtv

Wolverine: The Lost Trail is currently available on Stitcher.

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Devin Whitlock

Devin Whitlock

Devout Chicagoan, though born and raised elsewhere. I write about gay comic books on the internet. http://queercomicsblog.blogspot.com/