a benevolent fictional character with superhuman powers: the sexiest Superhero of them all is Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch.
Imagine growing up in a world with no positive role models. Imagine too, growing up in a world without any way to express your true desires. You are a kid without any posters on your wall, a little boy or girl with no scribbles on your notebook declaring your undeniable love for the latest pop icon or movie star du jour – you are going to marry Justin Timberlake and you need all the other bitches to know and to back the hell off!!
A gay child has no such outlets. We live in a world of secrecy and shame with fake obsessions and counterfeit crushes. It is a world where we pretend to be part of the pack, liking the same things our friends do so we are not singled out. Our coat of many colors is stitched together at an early age.
A chameleon, nature’s master of disguise, has nothing on a gay seven year old – it’s simply no contest.
If I lived in a different world as a kid my walls would have been plastered with Superheroes and pages from comic books, specifically The Human Torch from Fantastic Four. I was desperately in love with Johnny Storm. He embodied what I hoped was true and pure in human nature. He was a selfless champion to the imperfect in us all, had a wicked sense of humor and looked really hot in his tight blue suit.
Intellectually I did not know what being gay was but emotionally I sure did. My friends were captivated with Sue Storm, The Invisible Girl, with her mass of blonde hair and endless curves. I was instinctively drawn to her younger brother, Johnny, with his boyish good looks, perfect white teeth and chiseled muscles. He was a dreamboat who could burst into flame on command. I wanted to hang out with him and be his friend, but secretly, I wanted to marry him.
Johnny Storm was brought to life in the pages of Fantastic Four by the skilled hands of artist Jack Kirby and the genius mind of Stan Lee in 1961 before comic books became the hyper-sexualized, adult oriented anthologies you see today. They were written for kids by “bigger kids” with endless imaginations. The intention (I am certain) was never to ignite the passion of a lonesome boy from Northwestern Ontario but that is exactly what happened and I am grateful.
The walls of my bedroom may have been bare and the pages of my notebooks blank but the caverns of my curiosity were first piqued by my heroes Jack and Stan.
I still read comic books today and I still have my crush on Johnny Storm. There are now openly gay Superheroes like lesbian lovers Mystique and Destiny, the latest incarnation of Green Lantern and Wiccan and Hulking from the Young Avengers. Recently Northstar from X-Men married his longtime boyfriend Kyle in Astonishing X-Men # 51.
Talk about progress.