The world of comics has gained a new, very different type of character: in the form of a gay Mormon superhero.
, created by Brian Andersen and illustrated by James Neish, follows gay newlywed Sam Shepard who is visited by an angel and called to be "the hand of God on Earth."
The story is an exploration of the mythology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through a queer lens. The book's title refers to a Book of Mormon story about 2,000 young men who fought in an ancient American civil war.
Speaking to The Huffington Post
, Andersen said, "I wanted to mine the religious lore and mythology of the Mormon Church to empower a homosexual hero - to show that a gay character is every bit as worthy in the eyes of God as any heterosexual one."
He also attacked the notion that superheroes should be stereotypically butch; something which itself feeds into the gay community's obsession with masculinity. "One of my main characters, Samuel Shepard, may have a fruity inner monologue, but that doesn’t take away from his ability to kick ass," Andersen says.
"Like me, Sam is many things and he can be both fully queened-out and totally butch at the same time. I’d love to see more “femme/masc” heroes out there!"
In November, hundreds of Mormons resigned in Salt Lake City, over the church's move to prevent baptisms for the children of same sex parents.
Speaking to The Daily Beast
, Andersen said he wasn't worried about falling out with the church over Stripling Warrior
. "I’m ready for it. For my husband and I, this [policy] was the proverbial ‘last straw’. I’m just so exhausted by the Church’s efforts to harm me and my family.”
You can check out the new comic on Brian Andersen's official website.
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