Friday, December 26, 2008

Review: Unmasked: Erotic Tales of Gay Superheroes

Unmasked: Erotic Tales of Gay Superheroes
Edited by Eric Summers

Published by Star Books Press

Review by Michael Gellings

Unmasked is a powerful book. If there has ever been an unspoken assumption that superheroes are straight guys who just don‘t have enough time for their girl-friends, this collection of “Erotic Tales of Gay Superheroes“ (subtitle) thoroughly busts this myth. Of course, fighting for justice can be a very time-consuming business, but why not take yourself a superhero boyfriend and save the world together? Other superheroes in this collection of short stories are lonely fighters struggling not only to make the world a better place but also to find an occasional sexual adventure. Most protagonists are somewhat flat like cartoon characters. But that shouldn‘t come as a surprise in a genre that is closely tied to comic books. The superheroes are always tall, their muscles always well-defined, their tights always a snug fit. But there is a wide range of supporting characters, ranging from the vain careerist superhero colleague to an overprotective mother, and from a fag hag superwoman to the ex-boyfriend turned super-villain.

Ultimately the stories in this collection capture more of human nature than you would expect at first glance from such products of fantasy. Most authors demonstrate a great sense of humor, in particular DesertMac, Christopher Pierce, and Kiernan Kelly.

So most stories are fun to read, but a few present unhealthy attitudes towards sex. I think the most worrisome contribution in this respect is Sedonia Guillone‘s Hummingbird where the beaten-up victim of an attack badly needs rest and time for recovery, but instead engages in sex with his superhero rescuer. Of course, this too can be read as a reflection of real life, where sometimes sex does not fulfill a present need.

But overall, Unmasked is a very enjoyable read. Each story combines sex and adventure, and most authors tell their tales with a good deal of humor. If you are still looking for a gift for a gay friend or relative, stop looking and buy this book!



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