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Hero (2007) is a Lambda-winning first novel by openly gay film producer and novelist Perry Moore. The fantasy novel is about a teenage superhero, Thom Creed, who must deal with his ex-superhero father's disgrace, his own sexuality, and a murderer stalking the world's heroes.
Plot summary Edit
Thom Creed is a high school basketball star. His mother abandoned the family and his father is a former masked crimefighter who retired in disgrace following a national incident and now works as a lowly worker in a factory. Thom's own superpowers are beginning to manifest themselves, as is his homosexuality. But Thom must keep his powers a secret, for fear of further disgracing his father and risking his hometown's homophobic wrath.
But as Thom's sexuality becomes more troublesome, he decides to run away from home. He immediately becomes mixed up in a battle between some villains and The League, and does well enough to be invited to try out for the team. Thom is accepted as a trainee, and assigned to work with a group of other probationary heroes. The stress of keeping so many secrets from his father exacts a painful toll.
Soon, however, the world's superheroes begin dying under mysterious circumstances. In order to solve the mystery, Thom must reunite with his fellow outcast trainees and deal as well with society's prejudices when his secrets are revealed.
Genesis and future booksEdit
Moore says he wrote the book after being upset by a Marvel Comic in 2005. In X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #2, the gay superhero Northstar was killed by Wolverine. Moore believed that having one of Marvel’s biggest superheroes murder its most prominent gay character sent the wrong message to readers. Moore subsequently created a list of GLBTQ superheroes who have met with torture, rape, disembowelment, decapitation, had their genitalia disfigured or removed, or retconned as heterosexual. His growing awareness of the poor treatment of GLBTQ superhero characters led him to write Hero to present a more positive image.
Moore told The New York Times that a series of book sequels featuring Thom Creed are planned, and a motion picture adaptation is in the early stages. The first adaptation will be for the television, Moore announced "It looks like we’re going to do a TV series. There were two networks that we pitched, and we got two offers."
Reviews of Hero have been mixed. For example, Publishers Weekly applauded the book for its subject matter and for expanding the genre of gay literature into superhero fantasy. But ultimately, the review noted, "the novel misses its mark, with an abundance of two-dimensional characters and contrived situations. ... While some may be glad to see a gay hero come out of the closet just in time to save the world, others may wish the situations felt less clichéd."
The Advocate similarly equivocated in its praise. The gay newsmagazine applauded Moore's original superhero characters and Moore's decision to make avoid making Thom Creed an outcast. The review also pointed to wittily-written descriptions of Thom masturbating to Internet porn, coming out to his father, and his first kiss. "But otherwise his play-by-play writing style can seem a bit choppy, especially in the story's more poignant moments," the review noted. Nevertheless, "Hero is a quick, at times shallow, but satisfying novel, the kind we all wanted while growing up and hopefully the first in a new genre of young adult literature."
The Times (London) review on the publication of the UK edition was largely positive. "Thom is devoid of the grossly stereotypical attributes that comic books link to their gay characters' sexual preference" and "The book is entertaining, though in contrast to its rich core tackling deep social issues, the writing is light..."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 George Gene Gustines, "A Novelist’s Superhero Is Out to Right Wrongs," New York Times, September 3, 2007.
- ↑ Perry Moore, "To the Bat Closet," Harper's, October 2007.
- ↑ Is America's First Gay Superhero Coming to TV?, New York Magazine, May 22, 2008
- ↑ "Children's Book Reviews," Publisher's Weekly, September 10, 2007.
- ↑ Steven Gaughan, "Gay Teen to the Rescue," The Advocate, August 15, 2007.
- ↑ Nir, Sarah Maslin. "Meet Perry Moore, caped crusader for gay superheroes." The Times. May 2, 2008.
- ↑ "Lambda Literary Awards Announce Winners." Press release. Lambda Literary Foundation. May 29, 2008.
- Perry Moore Web site documenting more stories featuring Thom Creed
- Hero book review. Entertainment Weekly
- Entertainment Weekly Must List
- People Magazine Review
- Lambda Literary Awards finalists in the YA category
- Meet Perry Moore, caped crusader for gay superheroes, The Times, May 2, 2008
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