EXCLUSIVE: Martin Eden Talks SPANDEX; The World's First All Gay Superhero Team

Martin Eden talks Spandex, his new graphic novel featuring the first all gay superhero team! Taking us through the creation of the series, the chances of adapting it for the big or small screen and sharing his thoughts on Northstar's marriage and much more, hit the jump to check it out!

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By Josh Wilding - 5/31/2012
Spandex is released on June 19th in the US and June 15th in the UK from Titan Books. My review of the first volume ("Fast And Hard") won't be up on CBM until next month, although I will say that this is a book you should most definitely consider checking out. Many thanks to creator, writer and artist Martin Eden for taking the time to answer the questions below, and to Titan's Tom Green for setting up the interview.



Where did the idea for Spandex come from and what made you decide to create the world's first all gay superhero team?

I was working on my old comic (The O Men) and I needed a break… And at the same time, some background O Men characters were starting to grab my attention. I started to realize that they were gay, and the idea evolved from there. It was a case of, 'Wouldn't it be fun if there was an entirely gay superteam in a universe full of gay characters'. And then I just wanted to get the comic out there before anyone else thought of it!


For anyone who may not have heard of the series, what would you tell them to expect from it?

It's a superhero soap opera about a group of British Brighton-based gay superheroes called "Spandex". In the first issue they fight a 50-Foot Lesbian, in the second they visit Japan to recruit a fluorescent gay ninja called Neon, and they also fight loads of Pink Ninjas. Then I call my third issue the 'gay zombies' issue, but it's actually quite a serious one, a bit of a horror issue. It's got lots of subplots, twists, turns and revelations – it's a big mix of drama and horror… And the emphasis is just as much on their relationships as on the battles. Has that sold it?


What were the main challenges you faced with getting the series published?

I have been self-publishing the series myself, and then I thought it would be cool to reach a wider audience, so I pitched it around. Pitching can be hard. Some companies won't even allow you to talk to them! Some told me they couldn't deal with the gay thing and some told me they couldn't deal with superheroes. I thought Titan would be a really good fit for it, as they do a lot of diverse comics. To be honest, the whole process with Titan was very smooth and I am eternally grateful to them.


Did any existing comic book characters influence the personalities or powers of the team members?

Yeah, kind-of. Most of the characters started off as a homage to someone else, but I built up original personalities from there. I see Diva as a Wonder Woman type, Prowler's powers are similar to Rogue's (he can absorb the skills of any gay person), and Butch is a female Luke Cage. And in the universe, we also have James Bend, Gulk (gay Hulk), and plenty more.


How did you go about creating the colourful and unique look of each of the characters?

It just happened naturally really. The characters popped into my head pretty fully formed. If I have to force a character's creation, that character often doesn't work for me. It's like they already exist.


Which of the team members have you most enjoyed writing so far?

I like all of them, but I particularly like Prowler, because I think his outlook is similar to mine. He is practical and optimistic, against all the odds. Butch, the tough gal, is a lot of fun – she rarely speaks, so I have to find ways to make her interesting. Liberty, the transvestite leader, is great fun because she is quite devious and slippery.


Can you take us through how you illustrate the series?

Once it's all written and thumbnailed, I begin the task of drawing each issue. I tend to draw the most exciting scenes first – the ones that have been sitting in my head for years, which I've been dying to draw. I work in a really random order, and sometimes it's hard to keep track of it all. Like, for instance, I'm about a third of the way through Issue 7 now, and some pages are ready to be lettered and some haven't even been started yet. The art is all scanned, then I work away on it on Photoshop. It takes ages. The first Spandex issue took me a full year to do, as I was learning how to use Photoshop and it was my first color comic. I've got a lot quicker though.


What should fans expect from the second volume of Spandex?

Well, I don't know if there will be a second volume yet, but I hope there will be. It would contain the next big story arc, which is called 'O.M.F.G.'. It contains a lot of twists, a lot of shocks, and a piss-take of comic crossovers. The story is about the attack of Les Girlz, the team's main enemies. The lethal lesbians attack our heroes one by one...


Do you have an idea of how long you would like the series to continue for?

After 'O.M.F.G.' (which finishes in Issue 7 of the regular run which I self-publish), there will be one more issue, a Spandex Special. I really just want this series to be finite, to not outstay its/my welcome, and, really, the events of the Special kind-of mean that there shouldn't be any more Spandex stories. I also have a lot of other comic project ideas I want to work on.


Would you be interested in adapting Spandex into a film or TV show?

Oh yes, definitely. To be honest, most times when I go to the cinema, I become a film director in my head and I just imagine Spandex on the big screen! Or a TV show would be good, yes. I think Kate Moss should be Diva, and Brad Pitt should be Liberty. I think obviously there is the question of whether all members of society would flock to see an all-gay movie, but that's the trick with Spandex – the gay theme is just the context. It allows me to show guys and gals kissing each other or dating without it being a big deal, so I can just get on with my story. It allows me to explore sexuality without having to contextualize it all the time! A lot of my readers are actually straight, so hopefully a movie/TV show would work too.


What are your thoughts on Marvel's first gay marriage and DC's decision to out one of their superheroes?

The gay marriage is cool, although Kyle is a bit dull. Maybe it will be more exciting as the first gay comic divorce, so Northstar can marry a fellow superhero instead. That would be a lot more fun. The DC thing is so weird. I mean, Batwoman is already a lesbian. I just don't get the 'New 52'. Does it mean that all those back issues are now meaningless? Are they now just completely changing a character's personality? It seems weird.




Prowler, Liberty, Glitter, Indigo, Butch, Mr Muscles, Diva — all superpowered, all British, and the first all gay super-hero team there ever was! Created by independent creator Martin Eden, Spandex charts the highs and lows of a group of Brighton-based heroes, doing battle with 50-foot lesbians, a group of deadly pink ninjas, as well as their own complicated love lives! Packed with pop culture references, nods to classic comics and chock-full of humour and drama, Spandex is a super-hero book like no other! This is the very first collection of Martin Eden’s award-nominated comic and collects Spandex #1-3, plus bonus material!

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36 Comments
TheMyth - 5/31/2012, 12:11 PM
And queue the homophobes...
jessepostal - 5/31/2012, 12:11 PM
I understand the whole gay superhero thing, but are the bad guys gay too? There dressed in pink?? This is why I think a lot of people are against gay anything, it's dramatically gay,and gusto's cat can def draw better.
SHHH - 5/31/2012, 12:12 PM
Thought I Seen It All.....
ThaMessenger07 - 5/31/2012, 12:13 PM
The chicks aren't....butch enough...

Gusto, you should give them some pointers on how to dress like a Butch Lesbian....

Fishandchips - 5/31/2012, 12:14 PM
Why is being gay some money making gimmick now?
ThaMessenger07 - 5/31/2012, 12:18 PM
Cause this is pure money!

ralfinader - 5/31/2012, 12:21 PM
@Monkeyballs -LOL
ralfinader - 5/31/2012, 12:22 PM
On a serious note, I can't stand when this gay stuff is rammed down my throat...and I don't even get a thank you.
eleven59 - 5/31/2012, 12:22 PM
50 foot lesbians and pink ninjas!!! But why do they have to be British! !!!

ISleepNow - 5/31/2012, 12:24 PM
The Worlds First All Gay Superhero Team

Ha1frican - 5/31/2012, 12:24 PM
i feel like this is either awesome or super offensive nothing in between
ThaMessenger07 - 5/31/2012, 12:32 PM
Where can I buy a Box of Chocolate like that Tea?!
xstryker - 5/31/2012, 12:33 PM
Looking forward to the day when stories like this elicit more "meh don't care" responses than "why is gay being forced on me? (in comics I will never read anyway)" responses. Don't like reading about gay people? Don't read about gay people. The market will decide the popularity of it.
TheMyth - 5/31/2012, 12:34 PM
jwsmith, say that all you want, but human psychology creates a strong tie between hate and fear. Do they always walk hand in hand? No. And hating a group of people for their different lifestyle is a hell of a lot different than not liking country music, not too mention extremely shallow and bigoted. If you would allow someone's sexual orientation to determine whether or not you'd be their friend or acknowledge them with the same respect you would give anyone else, what would that make you? Threatened by their orientation and what it's impact on you could be? At the very least it makes you a bigot, and it's no different than being a racist. Sexual orientation is just as superficial as skin color.
Greengo - 5/31/2012, 12:35 PM
Less paint CBM pink

essesss essesss essesss
ISleepNow - 5/31/2012, 12:39 PM
Fishandchips - 5/31/2012, 12:39 PM
@tea hahaha oh dear god, that gif is incredibly disturbing haha.
TheMyth - 5/31/2012, 12:40 PM
I do acknowledge that the comics get to close to stereotypes when representing gays, but to be fair, they did the same thing with blacks back in the day before they realized they were being assholes lol. I think Ultimate Colossus was a really good representation of a well handled gay character.
ComradeGrey - 5/31/2012, 12:41 PM
I know this is a gimmick, but once again fanboys have shown themselves to be ignorant, hateful little teenagers trapped in overweight adult bodies.
ISleepNow - 5/31/2012, 12:41 PM
SpiderFan35 - 5/31/2012, 12:46 PM
lol @ everyone. And gay superheroes are nothing new right?



@TheMyth: Well said but I wouldn't waste your time, cause



(I couldn't find one that said closed-minded homophobic bigots gonna hate :D )
GuardianAngel - 5/31/2012, 12:59 PM
*insert seal* GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYY
GuardianAngel - 5/31/2012, 1:05 PM
HOW THE [FRICK] DOES THIS SOUND LIKE A GOOD IDEA?! If you're gonna make a gay superhero team atleast make it interesting. They are all gay, fight 50 foot lesbians, and pink ninjas.
DanteSparda - 5/31/2012, 1:16 PM
Lame! They all look like rip offs.
Darkhaven - 5/31/2012, 1:17 PM
This is possibly the greatest thread in a long time :D
Jer3miah - 5/31/2012, 1:24 PM
Here we go, again. >.>
Rhino4508 - 5/31/2012, 1:30 PM
@TheMyth

Quit your bitchin'. Not agreeing with something and hating something are two completely different things. I have many gay friends but don't agree with their life style, and we all get along just fine. However, the constant use of making homosexuality seem more appealing by mass marketing it gets quite aggravating, even to homosexuals. It causes a fuss and fingers start getting pointed. From homophobes to queers, the insults start flying. If you want to make a gay superhero, fine. However, do it freaking tastefully. Don't take a character many fans have already began to identify with and suddenly change their sexual identity. Don't make an overly flamboyant gay super team. Make the character a newbie, (if male) keep him masculine and of strong character, don't make him super feminine and flamingly homosexual to the point that it beats someone over the head,(if female) Keep her feminine, allow her to have normal interactions in society without seeming butch or overly sexual with other female supes. Keep it simple.
Action - 5/31/2012, 2:33 PM
Why are the "gay" superheroes dressed so different from stereotypical superheroes? The team screams out GAY! I don't like this comic.
JDUKE25 - 5/31/2012, 2:55 PM
Well said Rhino, well said.
DCwanabe - 5/31/2012, 3:16 PM
Hahahahaha lol, so much gay it reverses on itself and becomes a joke. Gays when you quit making it so easy, I will stop making you the butt of a joke.
TheMyth - 5/31/2012, 3:33 PM
Rhino4508, and do these gay friends of yours know you despise them? Apparently you've missed the last few articles regarding shit like this to see the hate come out in full force. If you don't think my comment applies to you, then ignore it.
BigK1337 - 5/31/2012, 3:47 PM
I lol'd at the last picture's title; Spandex: Fast and Hard.

Seriously, this series sounds like a joke as a whole . . . I should check it out, cause this is just WAY to obvious.

2gold - 5/31/2012, 3:55 PM
The artwork is terrible, screw it being all gay or whatever, that artwork is just lazy. There looks like no effort was put into drawing it.
Rhino4508 - 5/31/2012, 6:33 PM
@TheMyth

My gay friends know I adore them for who they are regardless of their sexual orientation; however, they also know where I stand on their sexual orientation. Thank you so much for your imbecilic assumption that if you disagree, you therefore despise.

Your comments apply to me, because I grow tired of people immediately shouting "Hate!" anytime someone disagrees with the homosexual marketing. Wanna make a TV show successful? Throw in a over the top flamboyant into the mix and instant laughs. Comics starting to fizzle? Throw in a gay superhero, better yet reinvent an already existing character and piss off the fans.

Then, there are the people like you. Those who think they are so above everyone else. That they are the height of human intelligence due to the fact they would never be upset over a 'closeted' hero coming out, or a new super-gay team. Maybe you should stop boasting about how accepting you are of everything and start looking at the facts.

People don't like seeing characters they have grown up with have their overall character changed. Spider-Man has always been a wise-cracking, genius level, has trouble getting the girl, everyday guy kind of hero. Batman has always been a brooding hero only after the pursuit of justice who puts off relationships as a result of his fixation on the Batman persona. You can re-tell an origin, change elements of their social life but to change the core of a character that someone has identified with through the years will piss fans off.

Parading homosexuals out as a gag or only portraying them as ridiculously costumed 'heroes' will only lead to people growing stereotypical and judgmental. Which will lead to frustration within not only the straight population but also the gay population.
JDUKE25 - 5/31/2012, 6:37 PM
@Rhino

the rock clapping gif Pictures, Images and Photos
mob7medina - 6/1/2012, 4:44 AM
Very gay..

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