Save Me Gay Heroes: The Enigma

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Like so many people last night, we tuned into NBC’s new series, Heroes. If episode one’s any indication, they’ve got a great show on their hands. While we’d love to go on and on about the hunkiness of Sendhil Ramamurthy (who plays Professor Mohinder Suresh) or how Milo Ventmiglia’s dreamy Peter Petrelli makes us wet (very wet), we think the show’s a perfect segue into something we were saving for Friday’s edition of “Save Me Gay Heroes:” Enigma by Peter Milligan.

For all you guppies out there, Enigma helped DC launch its “mature” series, Vertigo, and introduced us to Michael Smith. An admitted bore, Smith’s life’s turned upside down when his favorite superhero, The Enigma, comes to life. Drawn to his childhood fantasy in more ways than one, Smith must confront his own enigma: his latent homosexuality.

Originally published in 1993, the book broke new ground by portraying a very human character come to terms with his sexuality. Toward the beginning of the story, Smith reacts violently when approached by another gay character. As they mystery deepens, however, he begins to let down the guards.

Finally, as Smith realizes his true desires, Milligan writes: “And he feel himself falling. As though falling from the highest mountain. And this time he will let himself fall. And he will learn… He will learn that, contrary to popular opinion…It needn’t hurt at all.”

Though Milligan’s analogies between “the enigma of life” and homosexuality verges on hyperbole, the book will be remembered (at least by nerds such as ourselves) as one of the earliest examinations of faggotry in the funnies. As Grant Morrison writes in his introduction to the collected series: “The truth is that Enigma is one of the greatest comic strip series ever written because, with vicious glee, it exposes the absurdities and inadequacies of our lives and holds all of our ludicrous hopes and fears up to the harsh light of The Truth.”

Not only that, but the Enigma’s hot. You know, for a drawing and all.