The Man: A Hero for Our Time, Book One

Robert Drake, Author, Derrick Buisch, Illustrator
Robert Drake, Author, Derrick Buisch, Illustrator Plume Books $10.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-452-27447-1
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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The co-editor of Indivisible, an anthology of West Coast gay and lesbian fiction, offers an seemingly pointless attempt at an illustrated novel about the adventures of a gay superhero. After his boyfriend Matthew is bashed to death in his presence, Adam turns himself into ``The Man'', training at a boxing gym and striking out against perpetrators of anti-gay hate crimes wearing a black costume with a gay pride pink triangle. Meanwhile, Michael, who prides himself on killing gays rather than just bashing them, recruits homophobic thug Jimmy to harrass intended victims in preparation for Michael's fatal assault. In the novel's most absurd moment, killer Michael rapes basher Jimmy, theorizing that ``You cannot kill what you have not been.'' In a subplot, Jimmy turns out to be the son of the local police chief in charge of homicide, who frets over the possible embarrassment his son's bashing might cause him if discovered and aired by a lesbian news anchor. Although Drake has a taut, clean narrative style, Buisch's illustrations do little to enhance the slim storyline. In keeping with this first volume's subtitle (``Why?''), much of the narrative seems to be a meditation on the origins of the savagery that characterizes hate crimes, but the cartoon aspects of this superhero tale trivializes the subject it aims to explore. (June)
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