Some of you may already be familiar with Chayne Avery and Russel Garcia‘s Boy Meets Hero adventures from their web presence. If you’re just tuning in, or don’t know the whole story, you are in for a treat. Partners (in every sense of the word) Avery and Garcia just published their first Boy Meets Hero graphic novel. It arrived in my mail box yesterday, but I didn’t get a chance to read it until this morning. With a brisk and engaging story, plus fun and interesting characters, even at 120 pages, I couldn’t put it down.
Boy Meets Hero tells the story of a young superhero duo called the Cosmic Crusaders, which consists of Blue Comet (aka Derek Maxwell) and Sunstar (aka Jillian Summers). They are part of the World Hero Organization (W.H.O.) and gallantly protect Golden Bay City from a host of villains, invasions and general destruction. There is a lot of familiar territory here: secret identities, superheroes, superhero leagues, cities in peril. Luckily, the creators use these conventions to their full advantage, giving even the casual comic book reader an easy road into the story’s world. What Avery and Garcia do with that familiar world, however, is extraordinary.
As the story opens, Blue Comet and Sunstar are playing along with the W.H.O.‘s marketing scheme to present them as a couple to their adoring fans. They play along for the publicity, but really they’re also playing a complicit role in keeping Blue Comet’s homosexuality a secret. And then if that weren’t enough to conceal, Blue Comet’s alter ego, Derek, is in a secret relationship with Sunstar’s brother, Justin. Secret identities, phony relationships, closeted heroes…there’s a lot going on here. So much so that is all begins to take a toll on the trio.
More than just an adventure story, Boy Meets Hero could easily serve as a primer for coming out. Funny, complex and full of both practical advice and emotional layers, the book struck many chords that will undoubtedly ring true to gay readers, whether coming out, thinking about coming out or long out of the closet. Coming out is never easy, and there are many pitfalls along the way: friends, family, work. The book tackles them all, as well as showing that even when you do come out, it’s not always an easy road after that. They manage to convey all this, plus give the reader a great story full of action, humor and sly winks and nods to other pop culture references and superhero archetypes. Understanding that it’s not enough to just announce a superhero is gay, Boy Meets Hero really delves into the subject matter, giving us both a highly realistic and evocative story.
Though the exposition is a little heavy at the beginning, it’s a necessary evil to bring the reader up to speed quickly. After that, the story and dialogue are crisp, fun and memorable. The artwork is dazzling, in bold colors and clean lines. This isn’t a moody, muddy world our supers live in. It’s bright and bold and colorful. Avery and Garcia will soon launch a downloadable comic of the further adventures of the Cosmic Crusaders. And, oh yeah, the guys in the book are hot! You can read more about Boy Meets Hero, its characters and creators here. You can purchase the book there or at Amazon. Enjoy!