shrew (n) :
1. "small mammal," O.E. screawa "shrew-mouse."
2. "peevish, malignant, clamorous, spiteful, vexatious, turbulent woman" [Johnson] c.1386, from earlier sense of "spiteful person" (male or female), c.1250, traditionally said to derive from some supposed malignant influence of the animal, which was once believed to have a venomous bite and was held in superstitious dread.

Synonyms: amazon, battle-ax, bitch, calumniator, carper, dragon, fire-eater, fishwife, fury, harpy, harridan, hell cat, hellion, hussy, madcap, muckraker, nag, ogress, scold, she-wolf, siren, spitfire, termagant, tigress, virago, vixen, wench

This blog features reviews of LGBT science fiction and fantasy, tales of the life of a freelance writer, the occasional meme, and pictures of cats. If any of this offends you, please press Ctrl+W.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Holy Bulging Muscles, Batman!

So I was browsing iO9 and came across this gem: 90s Marvel Comics Pin-Ups.

And I was struck by how many of those male superheroes look, well... gay.

Exhibit A: Captain America.

Yeaaahhh, um... iO9 said it best: "This Captain America illustration was a collaboration between Norman Rockwell and Tom of Finland."

And of course, I would be remiss if I didn't point out comics' first gay superhero: Northstar. 

Now, he's hot, don't get me wrong... but somehow this is more demure than the "straight" superhero pin-ups in the bunch. I honestly wonder why that is... Is Northstar not presented as a sex object because he's gay? Because it would be more threatening to show him in a banana hammock? Possibly. Are Captain America's muscles presented to the (presumably male) viewer as something to aspire to rather than something to desire? If so, where does this put female or gay male viewers? Is Capt. America presented to female viewers as titillating, and if so, then is Northstar as well? 

Take a minute to glance at these two pictures... Captain America's ass is there for all to see (oh, those wrinkles are driving me crazy), but Northstar's is conveniently hidden by that spray of water. The Shrew wonders why. The Shrew does not have any hard answers, but thinks it's fun to contemplate the intersection of comics, representation, sexuality and the male gaze. If anyone has thoughts, feel free to share in the comments. 

If you're interested in reading more about gay superheroes, here's a few links:
Perry Moore, author of Hero (a gay superhero novel), also has a list


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