Monday, September 3, 2007

What Happens to Gay Superheroes?

This story from the New York Times is about a new young-adult novel, Hero, that offers an answer that is more complicated yet more positive than the ones found in many comic books. The author, Perry Moore, makes a strong case for the need for books such as this one. What do you think? (Warning: you get to watch an ad first. But I think the story is worth waiting for.)

5 comments:

A bluestocking said...

Looks like a good book, following a lot of the conventions of adolescent literature... establishing a separate identity and the resulting sense of isolation, maybe the absent mother as well? Aren't superheroes usually set apart from society? It's ironic that the author aims for inclusiveness while placing the "hero" in a group known for being on the fringes.

John-David said...

I wonder how certain literary theories, particularly archetypal theory as it relates to superheroes, would analyze this text. This would be a great addition to E 405, or at least for a book talk in 405.

amy vail said...

I think this graphic novel looks really interesting. I wonder how the hero would compare to the anti-hero in Watchmen. I'm curious to look at the technique behind this novel. The writer is also linked to major projects, which makes me want to read it even more!

Trevor said...

I think literature, such as this, is important for the gay community itself, but also in creating more awareness within society of the representation of gay people. In the article, the book's author said, " A book like this could have saved me when I was young." I came across a statistic last week that I think stated that gay teenagers are 3 times as likely to attempt suicide. Whatever the exact number is, I believe this to have some disturbing validity that needs to be addressed. The production of literature for and/or about gay teenagers might help gay teens feel less alienated or alone. Gay literature appears to be a rapidly emerging genre of societal importance.

Justin said...

I think Perry Moore's desire to write about a positive homosexual superhero is an admirable one. I do feel that he has a point in saying that gay characters in comics are often mistreated.

There are many authors, however, specifically of comics/graphic novels, who address homosexuality in their characters in interesting (and I think more respectful) ways. Neil Gaiman, in his "Sandman" series, incorporates a few homosexual characters, and I feel, gives them a good deal of humanity and dignity. Alan Moore's "From Hell" explores many aspects of sexuality, and homosexuality in particular is quite integral to the plot. "Fun Home" is a graphic novel autobiography by a homosexual woman, Allison Bechdel, that deals with her struggles with sexuality. The character John Constantine, of the popular "Hellblazer" series is bisexual, and he is generally portrayed as not only very powerful, but also compassionate and sometimes even heroic. The list could go on...

The point is that there is going on in comics today an exploration of homosexuality, and that, just as in any other media, there are going to be good, bad, and completely wacky representations of the issue.