The Top

The Top

When I was a young idiot and in a hurry to assert my masculinity, I made stupid remarks about gay people and indulged in the unfocused bigotry of my peers.   In other words, before I actually knew anyone who was gay.  What I did not know is that there were gay people all around me and these remarks, however offhand, said a great deal more about me than anyone else.

Luckily, I grew up and in the world of art there were no shortage of gay folks who wanted precisely the same things in life that I did.  A good many of these people were heroic; Dr. Ron Sable, a Chicago physician who was one of the first activists on the frontlines of the AIDS crisis in the mid ’80s, Larry Kramer, who loudly refused to let gay Americans become marginalized as lesser citizens, Danny Sotomayor, the late cartoonist and Act-Up activist. . .these were brave people, and in the face of their struggle, they made the rest of America change with them. The gay and lesbian community still struggles with ridiculous and arcane and draconinan laws that other Americans stopped having to address a long time ago.

The right to marry. . .really?  The religious right claims that gay marriage is a threat to the instution of marriage.  Huh?  Hey Bunky, I don’t need gay people to fuck up my marriage.  I’m doing that fine all by myself, thank you.  It is beyond silly that this is even an issue.  Of course, gay people should have the right to get married.  Why should only straight people be miserable?

When I started the superheroes, my gay friends told me I’d not be able to come up with a gay superhero.  They also told me that in this genre of the superhero, there was a huge gay male subtext, which I get a little bit.  I think a great many new  superhero idioms probably come right out of the Tom of Finland pictures, which are amazing.   Beautifuly rendered and proudly sexualized, they are wonderful drawings.  There is a great collection of them published by Taschen.  Get them.  Others will tell you they are a window into a sub-culture and at one time they maybe were.  Now they are more a window into our culture.

This piece is titled “The Top” and his super power is, well. . .he always has papers.

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