Superjunk: Watchmen Goes Full-Frontal
BY Ben Walters
March 06 2009 1:00 AM ET
It doesn't take a
superhuman intellect to get why so many gay guys geek out for
superheroes. For the nervously closeted adolescent comic book
reader, there's pretty obvious appeal in all those stories
about mild-mannered, unassuming characters with a spandex
secret stashed away in the closet. That psychologically
precarious balance between the maintenance of a double identity
and fantastical powers waiting to be unleashed is potent
enough; throw in sustained, worshipful attention to the male
physique and you've got a compelling combination.
Ah, yes, the bodies. In
the days before any conceivable type, scene, or activity was
mere keystrokes away, we pre-internet preteens took our
titillation where we found it -- and in the bulges and ripples
of the masked avengers, we found it in spades. Not that these
guys were naked, of course. They had their colored costumes.
Except that, as Michael Chabon, author of
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
convincingly argued, they were really all color and no costume, their true purpose
being "the depiction of the naked human form, unfettered,
perfect, and free."
unconsciously, we recognized the capes, belts, and trunks for
the four-color fig leaves they were. Even so, for the
mainstream comic book reader, a little imagination was still
required -- until
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