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HIV Meets the Comic Book Universe: 10 Notable Moments

June 12, 2013




Not every depiction of HIV in comics is affirming. In fact, some appear to reinforce stigma and hinder progressive thinking about HIV. In the 1980s, when the first HIV-positive superhero, Extraño, made his appearance, a backstory as needed for how he became HIV positive.

Enter the "Hemo-Goblin." Created by a white supremacist villain, the Hemo-Goblin is an "AIDS vampire" that was meant to infect all people of color with AIDS. He was ultimately defeated by the New Guardians, but not without first infecting Extraño.

Of course, "AIDS vampire" is a metaphor for the way many people in the '80s viewed gay men: as mindless beings whose urges led to the spread of HIV through fluid exchange. This was not the most compassionate depiction of the HIV epidemic to come out of the comic book universe.

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