Welcome to Part Two of my “Real Crushes on Fictional Men” (Chance’s title, not mine. Mine was more explicit, shall we say?)
The Eighties brought changes throughout my fanboy universe: a new Doctor Who appeared (including new titles and theme); Wonder Woman vanished from UK TV schedules; and I discovered why I was so drawn to my favorite male stars and heroes. In one decade, three of my absolute favourite heroes/hotties came to my attention.
Around 1980, while on holiday from a boarding school I loathed, my dad took me to see a double bill at the cinema, which led to my first major love outside Doctor Who. The films were Superman and Superman 2. I loved Superman. Seriously, properly loved him. I still do. As the Man of Steel, Christopher Reeve was perfect.
Such is my adoration for him, I can actually sit through Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, even to this day. He was also the first man I imagined kissing; something I imagined quite a lot. He was strong; he could fly; he had the most incredible blue eyes; he was a proper hero who always stood up for the good and the true. And he had a rather nice chest and body underneath that spandex.
The next guy, I’m going to dwell on for a bit. Not just because he’s another animated crush, but because he’s one I’m still very much into. He was also a Lord. Not a Time Lord, not Lord of the Jungle…but Lord of the Thundercats.
Lion-O. I discovered Thundercats around 1987 in the UK, and my jaw hit the floor. Hot, young, insanely muscled and macho, complete with a phallic sword that grew as he got more excited, and then exploded when he reached a climax. No, that’s not going to get my gay teenage hormones going at all. Lion-O was—and still is—nearly perfect in his allure. Wonderfully voiced by Larry Kenney, Lion-O made me melt. Despite the obvious disadvantage of being a cartoon and having no reproductive organs, Lion-O’s muscles did very bad (and enjoyable) things to me. Lion-O lived with his friends Tygra (who would have done in a pinch, and did, in several dreams of mine); Panthro (who was really into dressing as a dom top, but his ears put me off); Cheetara (a girl); two annoying kids; and a whiny thing of some kind that really needed running through with the Sword of Omens.
I wanted—and still do—a Sword of Omens of my very own. A metal one with the right sort of handle and a switch to activate a brightly lit T-Cats logo. One I can put on a stand somewhere and just marvel at how damn cool it is. I had the plastic gray one a long time ago, and it was very disappointing, even with a light-up Eye of Thundera. I had…er…have the action figure as well—didn’t want any of the others—just Lion-O, and it’s astounding just how bad it is. From a hot, hard muscled sex god of a Thundercat to a rather misshapen orange blob in blue boots with a bent plastic sword. Something was definitely lost in the translation. Thankfully, Sideshow Collectibles has produced a Lion-O statue with the same sort of physique I always remember him having. I can’t wait to display him under an acrylic dome that’s both suitably reverential and easy to wipe clean.
The year 1989 is where we’ll find my next crush: Michael Keaton as Batman. Keaton was perfect as Batman in two dark and utterly brilliant films (before they turned to mush in the hands of Mr. Schumacher). Batman was dark and powerful, though not actually super-powered, and had enough strength, gadgets and attitude to be rightfully superheroic. And I loved him.
He was like Superman, but without the good mood; and Gotham was Metropolis without the hope. Bats was snarky, evasive and not above playing outside the rules of society to get the job done, whilst Bruce played his role to maintain the charade. And although my love for the Kryptonian remained as strong as ever, Batman represented the darker struggle I was going through at the time—coming to terms with being gay and fighting the world to keep my big dark secret hidden away.
In Part Three, we’ll look and the Nineties and the Noughties in which Batman and Superman both “return,” along with vampires and Eternians. Plus, my oldest hero grows up (and so do I)!
Read Part One of Dale’s “Real Crushes on Fictional Men” here.