Comics legend Stan Lee has signed a deal with acclaimed novelist Perry Moore, author of the award-winning gay superhero novel Hero. The two creators announced their new business partnership today at the Comic-Con International: San Diego panel “LGBT Portrayals in Comics.” Lee appeared as a surprise guest at the panel, sponsored by Prism Comics, a nonprofit organization that promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) creators and comics content.
Lee praised Moore’s Hero, calling the book’s young gay protagonist “a one-of-a-kind hero for the future.”
The standing-room audience for the already-well-in-progress panel leapt to its feet and exploded in applause as Lee entered the room, made his way to the dais and embraced Perry Moore. Hero, published by Hyperion in August 2007, won the Lambda Literary Award in 2008 for best LGBT Children's/Young Adult novel. Author Moore is also executive producer of Disney’s Narnia film series.
Before Lee’s arrival, Moore and the other panelists, Gail Simone (DC Comics’ Wonder Woman), Judd Winick (Pedro and Me, DC’s Green Lantern and Titans), Marc Andreyko (DC’s Manhunter), Bob Schreck (Group Editor, DC Comics), and moderator Patricia Jeres (Prism Comics Talent and Industry Chair) discussed the dearth of positive LGBT portrayals in comic books, and the changes in those portrayals during the past five years.
“Minorities have been portrayed as villains and victims,” Jeres said after the panel. “How can we [have those characters] grow from victimization so that they can be heroes?”
The panel topic was inspired in part by Moore’s essay Who Cares about the Death of a Gay Superhero Anyway? The essay lists the fates of gay superheroes that have been killed or otherwise victimized in comics.
During the panel, Moore acknowledged that his essay had been, in turn, inspired by Simone’s groundbreaking 1999 work Women in Refrigerators, which detailed the destinies of multiple comics superheroines who, according to Simone, “have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator.”
Hero is the first in a series of fantasy novels by openly gay film producer and novelist Perry Moore. Hero tells the story of 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.
Stan Lee is the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics who created such legendary comic book characters such The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The Hulk, who appears as the host of the reality TV show “Who Wants to be a Superhero” and who recently formed a new company, POW! Entertainment Inc.
Prism Comics is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the work of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) creators in the comics industry, as well as LGBT themes in comics in general. Incorporated in 2003, Prism Comics publishes an annual resource guide, Prism Comics: Your LGBT Guide to Comics.