It's surely one of the significant milestones of the passage to adulthood since abject poverty and apocalyptic battles notwithstanding, which growing boy hasn't had at one time or the other read a comic? Surely in all of us there's this indelible image of an adolescent pimpled kid stealing into his treehouse sanctuary to fumble through his hidden cache of comics ( and furtively groped stash of porn - whether gay or otherwise ) during one of those late seemingly endless days of summer.
What can I say? Always been a fan of the masked adventurer ever since I first got a glimpse of the suave Scarlet Pimpernel. Yeah, I can see some of you looking agog at the hitherto fabled name - especially Charming Calvin looking nonplussed over there :) But the man's actually one of the predecessors to most of the 'split personality' heroes that we know now such as the ubiquitous Batman, Superman and even Zorro. Who can possibly forget the endlessly charming Sir Percy Blakeney, wealthy, simpering British nobleman by day and daring, swashbuckling revolutionary by night with that mysterious penchant for that little common red flower.
They seek him here, they seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That damned elusive Pimpernel.
Like any other red-blooded boy, I spent my time dreaming wildly improbable fantasies of dodging bullets and lasers in my masked persona whilst battling evil in all its multicoloured spandexed guises - but there the similarity with other straight boys ends since I doubt many of them actually dream of going home with Superman to find his burgeoning Clark Kent. With Brandon Routh in the spandex suit, those dreams still live on actually :)
Gay heroes are still quite rare these days though the numbers are slowly rising as closets are being thrown wide open. Easy enough to imagine gay men fighting the good fight with Apollo and Midnight leading the way.
Still even my wildest fantasies could hardly live up to the Falcon / Bel Ami inspired wet dreams of Stonewall and Riot. For the few zealous activists amongst us who seek to redress the lack of gay visibility in the media, look no further for gay superheroes in animation. Not only are they obviously gay, both Stonewall and Riot seek to prove their point again. And again. And again.
In various shockingly graphic positions straight out of the pages of a homosexual kamasutra.
Stonewall and Riot!
This isn't the usual saccharine-sweet singing-to-the-doves Disney kid fare, folks. Not only do Stonewall and Riot borrow heavily from the famed daring duo of Batman and Robin - albeit with a decidedly queer slant - the other assorted villains are also hilarious campy spoofs of noted villains. Courtesy of the talented Joe Phillips, the sinister Joker dons fishnet stockings and a fey pseudo French accent to become the French Tickler while the sensuous Catwoman switches side to take on the role of the decidedly masculine Polecat with a marvellously defined tail.
Certainly not going to win an Oscar for Best Screenplay but man oh man, none of the bad boys are afraid to show off their considerable assets in this fiercely erotic caper - and sometimes that's really all we want, don'tcha think? Who cares about thespian skills when there's a pec shelf hard enough to stop speeding bullets?
Fear not, gentle readers. For those who prefer their heroes a little gay but far more sedate - and possibly less sexually adventurous, look no further than the other daring duo in Young Avengers, Wiccan and Hulkling. Troubled powerful teens with rampaging hormones... and yet they find themselves far too preoccupied with homework, housework and saving the planet from hostile alien conquerors.
What's a boy gotta do!