Tuesday, November 17, 2009

First Gay Superteam?

I just wanted to address some recent internet comments about Spandex. Now my Spandex guys are always up for a ‘backlash’ (ooer) but I just wanted to set a few things straight (so to speak). There have been lots of interweb write-ups about the comic, and the press release I sent out claims it is ‘The First Gay Superhero Comic’ (which should really be ‘Superteam’), and this is being disputed and commented on. Okay yes, it is a bold claim and let’s face it guys, we’re all on the same page here – the point of a headline on a press release like that is to grab people’s attention and get publicity.
Yes there have been gay superheroes in the past, but have any of them really set the world on fire? Look at the limp-fest that was Northstar (who, in Alpha Flight Issue 50, was supposed to reveal he had HIV, but the Editors wimped out and decided to make him a ‘fairy’ instead. Yes, a fairy.) His coming-out was barely noticeable in that famous Alpha Flight issue and ever since then it’s been pretty much ignored – even when he got his own series.
There have probably been some indie gay superteam comics, but I don’t know them.
So really, I hope people can get past the ‘first superhero comic’ thing – it’s just a headline to attract attention – and besides – I really don’t think there has been a gay superteam. And if there has, well, let’s call it the first gay superteam comic set in the UK. And if that fails, Brighton. And if that fails, well let’s call it ‘the first gay superhero comic created by Martin Eden’.
I hope people can just focus on the actual comic itself, which introduces a whole bunch of cool new characters and a slice-of-life storytelling style which you don’t really see much of these days. It’s a load of fun, it’s there to be enjoyed and I’d love people to come along for the ride (so to speak)!
P.S. I’m going to try to resist reading people’s comments on internet articles – people can say some pretty horrible things, I think!


Todd said...

So what you're saying is it's "the first gay superhero team I've heard of". Complaining that people have become distracted by the factually incorrect claim, and justifying it by saying that it's good PR... seems a bit conflicted.

While it's true that previous gay superheroes haven't "set the world on fire", that's because they're never going to. Yours won't either, regardless of how good it is, because the world simply isn't sitting around waiting for (another) one. Sorry.

Mart said...
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Mart said...

I was at a convention yesterday, and people are loving the characters and the whole 'Attack of the 50 Foot Lesbian' thing. That's where the focus is now, and I'm certainly not intending to ride on this whole 'first gay superteam' tagline. It's a fun, experimental comic, and, to me and to all the readers I met yesterday, the story and the strength of the characters is now more important than any labels that have become involved. That's over now - that was last week. I really am going to put some material out there that has not been done before and I'm very excited about it.

Ian said...

the big problem, well, one of the big problems, is that you're trying to Make A Point of your characters' sexuality, as if it's somehow a novel thing. When people point out that it isn't, you seem to switch to the tactic of saying "all right, that isn't important, don't make such a big fuss about it". People make a big fuss about it because you made a big fuss about it.

If you haven't (and I really hope you have), read The Invisibles. That's how to do a "gay superteam". Make sexuality only as important as hair colour or accent.

You should have let your story succeed or fail on its own merits from the start, but then I suppose doing that wouldn't have given you as much publicity.

Mart said...

I think when I say 'let's move on', what I mean is, okay, I got your attention, the headlines happened last week, now read the book. I'm not gonna ride on this whole 'first gay superteam' thing, I'm not printing up t-shirts or putting it as a banner on the website.
I didn't make a big fuss about it, the media did. I didn't write all those stories.
I love The Invisibles to bits, it's probably my favourite comic series of all time. I wouldn't call it a gay book though. Yes, you have Lord Fanny and Jolly Roger, who are fantastic creations and wonderfully written, but it's a mixed book.
The set-up of Spandex is that they are a gay team, and it uses that context to have a lot of fun, examine cliches and stereotypes and turn them on their head, and show gay people in a very natural light. I think, behind the costumes, I have created some very real, human characters.