Thinking about putting Orlando into my queer comic book character month celebration actually made me put the Naked Justice in yesterday. The version of Orlando (literary character created by Virginia Woolf) I’ll be discussing is the one in Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
And while it came be argued that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is not light reading, it is also extremely adult and erotic in nature. It just doesn’t usually get shelved in the cage with other erotic comic books. (Seriously, there’s a comic store where the adult comics are housed in a cage.)
As in Woolf’s novel, Orlando is a gender-changing immortal. Zi is also omnisexual and doesn’t waste an opportunity to go to an orgy. Or get into a sword-fight.
Orlando is largely featured in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier and Century. Zi is part of Mina Murray’s team, and in many ways, zi helps the team adjust to the 20th century. And Orlando is not likely to miss an opportunity to slip into Mina’s or Allan Quatermain’s bed. There’s also a rumor that Orlando is the Mona Lisa and wields Excalibur. Zi also claims to have partied with Jeeves and Wooster and the characters from The Great Gatsby.
Orlando claims to be over 3,000 years old and switched genders many times. Zi was born in Thebes in ancient Greece. As a child, Orlando was cursed to switch genders as part of the tragedy of zi’s father King Oedipus. When zi changed genders for the first time, Oedipus sold Orlando into slavery. Orlando then floated from major civilization to major civilization: Egypt, Abyssinia, Troy, Babylon, Sumeria, Macedonia, Alexandria, and Rome. Orlando also knew such characters as Robin Hood and was a lover to others such as Sindbad.
Zi initially served Gloriana, the fairy queen, and that’s how zi got placement with the League on the original team with Prospero. Orlando wandered to France than to Asia. Until zi met Mina and Alan as they caught zi having sex with a yogi.
The newest book Century is being released in three separate comics, and only part one has made it to stores. But rumors abound, Orlando is going to feature largely in the third book.
While you’re waiting, don’t forget to read and buy The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1910 by Alan Moore. Plus, you’ll be supporting this blog.