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R.I.P. Perry Moore, Author of the Great Gay Teen Superhero Novel ‘Hero’

February 23, 2011

I was shocked to read just a few minutes ago that Perry Moore, co-producer of the latest incarnation of the Narnia movies and author of the excellent gay teen book “Hero,” died of unknown causes Sunday. Just the day before, I had been in the Strand in New York City, trying to find that very book for a friend.

I read “Hero” pretty soon after finishing my year teaching English in France and returning to the U.S. I had a little bit of time off, which I soon learned I hated, and Moore’s book was one of the things that pulled me out of my funk and really got me engaged in the world again. It’s the story of Thom, a d-list superhero with no codename and less-than-ideal powers, who’s also gay and the son of someone who’s essentially a stand-in for Superman. It was just the kind of book I could have used as a teenager.

Moore was also a writer and producer of some note, and his website was home to a disturbing but influential list of all the gay comic book characters who have been killed off, a trend he said spurred him to write his own novel. It went on to win a Lambda Award.

“I have always been enthralled with comic books and superheroes, and I’ve always believed there should be a gay superhero. Not as a joke, not as a supporting character, not as a victim, not as a token, but as a real front-and-center hero. I’ve always been surprised by how few gay heroes there are in comic books, and I decided I would write the definitive coming-of-age story of the world’s first gay teen superhero,” he said what has become an oft-quoted inverview on his website.

I’ve long been awaiting the TV version of “Hero,” which is apparently still in development, and the sequel to the novel he said he was writing, which I doubt will ever see the light of day. At the very least, I hope his work—and the impetus behind it—can gain more exposure, perhaps moving the world a little closer to the one he tried to create through it.

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