Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: "I Need A Hero"

 "There are no gay characters in the Marvel Universe." - Jim Shooter
The above quote punctuates a story about one of the first appearances of gay characters in a major comic; two stereotypical gay men raping Bruce Banner in a YMCA. Such a statement would be enough to make anyone go green with rage.

"I Need A Hero" - a short documentary now touring the festival circuit - offers a glimpse into the culture of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi sexual and transgender) comics and its representation in popular issues. When I say (or write) glimpse, I really mean just that. Clocking in at under 14 minutes, the short is made up mostly of interviews with comic book writers, featuring amusing anecdotes, interesting stories and frustrations about releasing "queer comics". While it's been a while since I bought a comic, these guys show an enthusiasm for their work that makes me want to read again. Though, I can't say that I was ever an Archie fan...

There are breaks in the documentary that feature super hero quotes that, in the context of the subject, are quite inspiring, and work as a rallying cry for progression within the industry. This is where the short shines; showing us the irony of forward thinking characters that are published and exploited by stubborn organizations.

The only thing holding this back is the length. So much to cover, with not enough time. And what it does cover is stuck in modern times - not much info about past comics. But, it does work really well as a teaser for a future feature length doc, which, if I understand correctly, is the goal. That will be something to catch once completed.

I'd like to think that America has moved forward when it comes to representing LGBT themes and characters in pop culture, but I know that there's still an uphill battle in fighting ignorance and horrible stereotypes (same when it comes to people with disabilities). We could certainly use a hero to help out. Good thing for us, the (Marvel) Universe is an awfully big place. Right, Mr. Shooter?

3/5 *'s

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