Sunday, December 31, 2006


by Dan Danko, Tom Mason, and Barry Gott

In a very nice email David Levithan sent me in response to my not-so nice review of his latest book, he pointed out that I am a good ten years older than the intended audience (note to self: heed your own advice). Keeping that in mind, I found Sidekicks to be a fun and clever read, so long as I reminded myself that I am at least fifteen years older than its intended audience. Speedy, a fourteen-year-old kid able to run about 85 miles per hour, plays sidekick to Pumpkin Pete, a superhero with a pumpkin head and not much else in the way of superpowers. Speedy is also a member of the Sidekicks, a group of, well, sidekicks. The story plays with superheroes, sidekicks, and supervillains in a humorous if not entirely original way. I enjoyed it.

As I worked on a writing project last night and thought back to my teenaged obsession with superheroes, as well as a discussion on Santorio's blog a few weeks ago, I realized that Batman was the epitome of both of my strongest teenage desires: for man-as-father-figure and for man-as-sexual-object. I envied Robin as much for his role as Batman's adopted son as I did for whatever homoerotic connotations there were to their relationship. This week I read a recent Batman story in which Bruce Wayne offers to legally adopt the latest Robin, Tim Drake. Tim, overwhelmed by the recent loss of not only his father but also his best friend and his girlfriend, falls into Bruce and the two hug. (I might point out that the two are both dressed in tights at this point.) I read this and noted that it was a nice moment, a touching end to the story. I did not, however, obsess over the scene or ache to put myself in Robin's boots.

I think I've managed to grow up over the last ten years, at least a little bit.

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