Prince Gomolvilas

Gay Superheroes and the Battle of the Bulge

Filed By Prince Gomolvilas | November 13, 2008 8:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Entertainment, Media
Tags: Marvel, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Perry Moore, Plays, Showtime, Stan Lee, Superheroes

As if being gay weren't enough to get your ass kicked in high school, perry_moore_hero.PNGimagine being gay and a geek. Schoolyard bullies would beat you up not only because of your fey demeanor but also because of your instant recall of Wolverine's first appearance in the Marvel universe (The Incredible Hulk #180--don't hit me!).

Perhaps that's why queer fanboys are buzzing over the announcement that Marvel icon Stan Lee is developing a television series about a gay superhero for Showtime. If the series officially gets picked up, it could prove to be groundbreaking (and it could further validate my perhaps unhealthy obsession with men in tights).

Variety reports that the series is based on Perry Moore's young-adult novel, Hero, in which a high school basketball star struggles to hide his secrets (he has superpowers; he's gay) from his father. (Sounds an awful lot like Zac Efron in High School Musical, if you ask me, but let's not go there right now.)

Gay superheroes infiltrating mainstream media have been a long time coming. In my 2005 play, The Fabulous Adventures of Captain Queer, which premiered at the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco, a gay high school nerd gets bitten by a radioactive ladybug and must hide his newfound powers from the world. The reason I was able to migrate from the sociopolitical plays I was used to writing was because I found that superheroes with secret identities had always been an elegant metaphor for coming-out struggles.

So I'm rooting for this Showtime project. And I'm hoping they'll come to me for costume consultation. I mean, I love complex social allegories as much as the next guy, but, if you don't get the crotch area just right, then it's pretty much a deal breaker.


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Perhaps Captain Queer could become a recurring character on the new Hero show. Although he'll never have the opportunity if he doesn't put on his tights, tuck his bulge between his legs and go down to that god damn studio.

Reformed Ascetic | November 13, 2008 8:55 PM

Wow Prince, way to come out strong.

While they have their flaws, comic books have been the site for a surprising amount of social activism on a number of causes.

I was a big comic book fan growing up and particularly interested in the X-men. For those not familiar with the books (if there are any left), they feature mutants who are typically born into normal families that developed strange new abilities during puberty and are espised by society at large.

The movies of course sucked. Largely for the tres insightful reason you pointed out that the costuming didn't work. Storm and Colossus are supposed to be half-naked, and everyone else in revealing tights rising to the level of exposure generally reserved for the ballet. Batman owns the Goth territory as far as I'm concerned.

I'm out of the loop anymore and hadn't heard about this series. Thanks for letting me know. I hope the project flies. I look forward to seeing it.

Mike, I say keep the bulge proudly untucked. Showtime is known for risk-taking, after all.

Reformed Ascetic, hey, thanks for the mad props. I was a Marvel geek when I was a kid, but I never really got into "X-Men." My favorite was "Fantastic Four," and I know the movies are super campy, but I dig them anyway. I mean, any series that makes use of Chris Evans by making him run around with his shirt off is, in my humble opinion, a masterpiece.

I was also into "The Incredible Hulk," "West Coast Avengers," "Iron Man," "Daredevil," and--don't laugh--"Howard the Duck."

Reformed Ascetic | November 13, 2008 9:44 PM

So you're the other one that liked Howard.

Actually, I'm convinced there is a vast community of closeted Howard the Duck fans. I say it's time to come out and quack with pride.

Reformed Ascetic | November 13, 2008 11:21 PM

Oh, and I, uh, might've kinda liked the movies too. Don't tell anybody, OK?

Holy crap! Did you know when I was a kid I started a Howard the Duck fan club, and I sent membership certificates to both Tim Robbins and Lea Thompson?! Lea wrote back to me; she was so sweet. I was in middle school, but she assumed that I was like 4 years old because I liked Howard the Duck so much. She wrote something like, "Be good!" How embarrassing.

Reformed Ascetic | November 14, 2008 12:31 AM

That's beautiful. I love it.

Is it too late to join? Would I get an ID card?

I would read comic books, if only it weren't for how cheesy the dialogue normally gets.

It's like reading cheap erotica, but without the satisfying stuff ;).

"It's like reading cheap erotica, but without the satisfying stuff ;)."

...You sound like an authority on the subject. :)

My yaoi past (and sometimes present) speaking, yeah ;D.

Hey! Good to see some gay geek content on the site! I'm a big comic book fan, but I unfortunately was extremely disappointed in Moore's book. I felt it really lacked a clear direction, a distinct lore, piggy-backed (on the verge of plagerized) the existing comic histories in the marvel and DC canon, and involved a plot line so convaluted, it even drew the ire of this die hard comic fan. And I survived Chris Claremont on X-men... and that's saying something!

I would hope some actually decent work about gay superheroes would get some more media attention. Great titles like Runaways (which not only has a lesbian character... but she's dating a gender bending shapeshifting non gendered alien!), and Young Avengers are plenty gay enough for the queer fanboys and fangirls to squee over. Frankly, I have been really surprised at the reaction Moore's book has been getting. Are gay people really this starved for representation that we have to lower ourselves to writing that is reminiscent of livejournal fanfic communities?

Sorry for the rant. But good on ya, and welcome to the bilerico family!

So what happens to Captain Queer?

Jason, thanks for the insight. I'm sorry to hear that about the book--but maybe Stan Lee will be able to help whip it into shape and something will change in the translation? We'll see. I hear that Showtime has a half a dozen other shows in development, so unless this one is strong it won't see the light of day.

Annie, well, Captain Queer defeats the evil Reginald Screamingbottom (the leader of an ex-gay ministry) and Dr. Octopussy (his mutant sidekick). He also falls in love and ends up with the school soccer star. It's a happy ending!

First of all THANK YOU this is awesome news.....

I think the rage with Perry Moore's book involves not just his book but his other vast work and research. Hero is only the tip of the iceberg. Perry has production and acting credits behind him and he is willing to put himself out there full board and that is the fantasy for every queer fanboy and comic/animation geek is to be able to make the world a little better and a little more queer each day. So if you take Hero at face value from the perspective of a fan fiction that actually got published you are never disappointed. He did what others only dream of doing, and he is still doing it, give him credit for that.

I will say as a caveat I have only read excerpts of Hero so I cant comment on the editorial function or literary style of the book just what the book has accomplished within and outside the community. I know straight boys who have read it and said they liked it.

Hey kenneth,

I encourage you to read it for yourself. I thought that I might be a tad biased and literary snobby, I mean it's young adult fiction for crying out loud. So I gave it to my all-american teenage straight cousin to read... and even he thought it was abysmal. And it wasn't because of the gay content, he's a hardcore massachusetts gay-marriage supporting teen (with a gay sister to boot). I don't think Moore's book succeeded with my cousin, his target audience... which leads me to believe that his target was perhaps older gay men reliving their fantasies of youth and young newly out gay teens, who frankly, will consume any media with gay content... I mean who do you think financed Another Gay Movie... and it's SEQUEL. God have mercy on us.

Here's hoping that the ever brilliant Stan Lee can salvage something out of Moore's contradictory and plagierous book. Oh, what's that... oh sorry... it's an homage... not plagiarism. Those can be so confusing nowadays.

Hey Prince, have you heard about Pride High? http://www.pridecomics.com/

I picked up the first issue at the Alternative Press Expo last month. It's about a Gay-Straight Alliance at a high school for superheroes, and it's pretty cool.

Stefanie, thanks so much for the info! I hadn't heard of it, but now I'm very curious. I'll have to check it out.

As far as Pride High goes...its kewl! and very positive for the community as a whole. I have covered it extensively on my blog
look here: http://frfozybearftwin.blogspot.com/2008/03/queer-comics-and-animation-series.html
and here http://frfozybearftwin.blogspot.com/2008/04/is-there-such-thing-as-too-much.html
and the most recent post here: http://frfozybearftwin.blogspot.com/2008/11/perry-moore-receives-three-accolades-in.html)

They are up to issue 7 and have 8 and 9 already planned.
Not trying to plug my blog just passing along information.