The Gayest Thing Ever – A Spandex – Fast and Hard Review
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
The heroes in Spandex: Fast and Hard are the world’s first all gay superhero group, and possibly the most colorful and flamboyant as well. But perhaps unexpectedly, they’re also one of the most human. Yes, what we have here is obviously a satirical look at the superhero genre. But it’s more than that. These jokey characters who initially we don’t take very seriously eventually turn into people placed in situations very derivative of the obstacles some of us face on a day to day basis.
Our cast of characters in Spandex consists of: Liberty, the team’s transsexual leader, as well as the heart and soul of the group; Diva, the team’s sexy Wonder Woman equivalent; Glitter, a Human Torch-like character who can fly and radiate orange light, Butch, a tough, transsexual Luke Cage equivalent; Prowler, a character with animal-like powers and a tail, Indigo, who can pop in and out of our dimension and into her “Indigo Room,” among other characters. In this book we see these most atypical heroes battle a 50 foot lesbian (no joke) and a clan of pink ninjas before facing Nadir, a villainess that longs strip society of it’s joy and individuality.
Spandex pulls you in with it’s gay superhero parody premise, and then switches gears about halfway through. The giant lesbian and the pink ninjas suddenly disappear, replaced by a spooky villainess who has brainwashed most of the world. Only a handful of our heroes remain unchanged. As Nadir bears down on them, they struggle with being isolated and outcast in a world they no longer fit into. We see sudden goodbyes. We see sadness. We see fear. We see desperation. And yes, we see great courage and perseverance. That’s not to say the characters were strictly parodies beforehand. That humanity is present throughout the book, as we see Butch blame Glitter for the death of her brother, and Liberty’s manipulation of her teammates and friends. But the second half makes it something that resonates on a deeper level.
While I really enjoy the heart on display in Spandex, I can’t say I’m crazy about the art. It’s more along the lines of something you’d see at a random table at a convention than a book like this. I can’t help but wonder what Spandex would have looked like had a more advanced artist been able to present these characters in a slightly more traditional way. Granted, the natural argument against that train of thought would be that these aren’t traditional heroes. And I suppose few were more qualified than Eden himself to carry out his creative vision. But he’s never going to be my favorite when it comes to the pencil. He also has a little bit of awkward, tedious dialogue early in the first issue.
Spandex – Fast and Hard is a book that shouldn’t be judged by it’s very colorful cover. It gets off to a wobbly start, and it takes some time to get used to Eden’s art. But when it hits its stride, it meets its mark. I also need to take my hat off to Eden not only for his creativity in designing the characters, but for being gutsy enough to take on a project like this. No doubt a book like Spandex is bound to have more than its share of haters.
While I myself am not gay, I was still able to find elements in this book that I could relate to. Perhaps the most important one being that at the end of the day, straight, gay, transgendered, or something else entirely, we’re all just people.
Front page image and image 1 from lezgetreal.com. Interior image from forbiddenplanet.co.uk.