Review by: Jay Bosworth
Growing up in the closet sucked; always hiding my true feelings, watching what I said so I wasn’t found out, all those colorful, secret desires that consumed my teenage thoughts.
Yes, I loved comics, and was terrified that anyone would find out! I would hide them within copies of Playboy so the fellas never suspected there was a comic inside. I constantly had to make up excuses and break plans so I could secretly be at the comic book store on Thursdays (New Comic Day was on Thursdays in olden times, kids). Yes, I was deeply closeted as a teen.
Oh, and I am also gay, so that closet sucked too.
Fast forward many, many years and I am amazed that the two things I once had to hide so carefully for fear of being discovered are not only topical in pop culture, but generally accepted and celebrated! Heck, it’s even ‘cool’ to like superheroes and to be gay. And now the two are even crossing over into each other’s realms. Recently Marvel Comics announced the marriage of two male characters in a high profile X-book. Not to be outdone, DC Comics announced the coming out of one of its established heroes, the Alan Scott version of Green Lantern. You can almost hear the battle cry now! “We’re here! We’re queer! Snikt, thwip, p-choom!!”
So with the pink tidal wave of stories and characters coming at you, it may feel overwhelming and a bit scary trying out something new for the first time. My advice? Just relax, take a few breaths and check out Spandex: Fast and Hard by Martin Eden.
Skeptical at first glance, Spandex on the surface seems silly and cliched and, well, gay. The names: Diva! Butch! Glitter! The colors–rainbow, of course. The villain–a 50ft angry lesbian. But give it a few pages, let some of the wry British humor surprise you. Let the simplistic, colorful artwork engage you. Let the interesting and unusual super powers amaze you. And let the multiple shock endings of issue one catch you by surprise!
There are deep flaws in these super people. Secrets and deceit and real humanity in these ‘heroes’ that most mainstream comics don’t dare explore. By the time the army of pink ninjas attacks in the second issue, you feel like you know this team intimately. But then more shocks are revealed that undoes everything you think you know, and that’s only two issues into the book.
And the third issue of this collected hardcover? You will not see this one coming, thanks to a truly creepy villain, and so much character development in 22 pages you won’t believe it’s only issue three!
In Spandex, Martin Eden has created a worshipful homage to all things gay and superhero. Short (almost too short for this reader), it is only three issues and a few pages of intriguing ‘Spandex Shorts’ where Eden lays the foundation of future issues to come. His simple, basic art style is deceptive on the surface but really draws you in to the story as shock and surprise are revealed page after page. The bold colors work well for the simple lines, and perfectly fit the tone of the book.
It’s smart, sexy, full of surprises and perfect for any fan of the superhero genre. If only I had Spandex when I was a kid, those closets would have been a lot more fun to be in.
I confidently give Spandex: Fast and Hard 4 out of 5 Nerdskulls!
About the Author:
If only they knew what they were unleashing upon the world that fateful day, perhaps Ma and Pa Bosworth would have thought twice before handing their chattiest child comic books in an effort to shut him up. Since then it’s been all comics, resulting in the opening of Maximum Comics in Las Vegas in 2007, adding a second location in 2010, and a third opening this fall.