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June 19, 2010: I've launched a new version of this website as a Wordpress blog. This version won't be updated anymore.
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

Boy Meets Hero

Buy from Amazon (the creators sell signed copies from their website, too).
A 120-page graphic novel, Bruno Gmünder, 2008.

Category: coming-out, fantasy.

Author(s): Chayne Avery, Russell Garcia.

Webcomics have now become part of the comics landscape, and a number of them have been picked up by book publishers. It seems the same thing is beginning to happen in the gay comics world: Created by real-life boyfriends Chayne Avery and Russell Garcia, Boy Meets Hero is the story of a closeted superhero, his non-powered boyfriend, and the odds they face in a world that might not be ready for its first out superhero. It was first published on the creators' site, and it's now available from publisher Bruno Gmünder as a thick and handsomely produced graphic novel; the art has also been heavily reworked, and it shows.
Justin is a young, blond cute gay guy, who unfortunately is the only one in his family to lack superpowers. His sister Sunstar is in the employ of WHO, the World Hero Organisation, which seems to act as an impresario for its members, booking them for various appearances, giving them missions and money from various merchandising. Which explains why Derek, aka Blue Comet, an up-and-coming hero reluctant to come out and risk his job, agrees to be paired with Sunstar during missions, and play the perfect (straight) boyfriend to please the public. When he falls in love with Justin, who knows how to keep a secret or two, things get complicated. The reappearance of old enemies of both Sunstar and Blue Comet don't help, either.
Boy Meets Hero is a very entertaining take on celebrity via superheroes (how many young actors don't want to come out for fear of ruining their careers?), with a balance of powered action sequences and intimate, realistic scenes of love and doubts. Avery's art and Garcia's colors (they co-write the story) have a lot of energy and build a bright, rollercoaster world where the public and private personas of a troubled hero can bring him to make life-altering choices; all that with only a modicum of melodrama, in fact often less than in lots of mainstream titles. What you definitely don't get in mainstream comics is the male nudity, which is featured prominently here--though there's no explicit sex. This might be the most restrained comic book published by Gmünder.
The authors are now working on a sequel, which they'll publish themselves. I'll be glad to meet Justin and Derek again, because their first adventure has brought a big smile on my face.

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