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Queer As Folk Rages To DVD

27 Nov, 2002 By: Brendan Howard

Is the world ready for an openly gay superhero?

“Rage is exploding out of the closet and into the world to fight intolerance and defend the fabulous citizens of Gayopolis,” reads the introduction in the 16-page first issue of Rage: Gay Crusader, available through Jan. 15 while supplies last to preorder customers of the second season of the Showtime gay drama “Queer as Folk” on DVD from Showtime Home Entertainment. The show's second season is priced at $119.98 (VHS/ DVD).

The issue follows Rage and sidekick Zephyr as they fight gay bashers and heal a brutally beaten gay man. The content is for mature readers, especially since one of Rage's powers involves sex.

For those unfamiliar with the comic book's birth on the show, it was an act of indignant rage from the character of the comics-loving writer Michael.

“Michael's [comic-book] hero, Captain Astro, has his book cancelled because the publishing company felt it had too many gay references,” said “Queer as Folk” executive producer Daniel Lipman. “Well, f*** them, they're going to make their own comic book.”

You might not think a gay man would gravitate toward comic book collecting, typically a nerdy teenage hobby, but Lipman disagrees.

“For many gay guys, comic books have become a very seminal part of their identities,” he said. “The obvious is the physiques of all the superheroes, but also the fact that [because they have secret identities] they're a metaphor for being gay.”

The passion for comic books also fits well into Michael's psychology, said executive producer Ron Cowen.

“He didn't have a father growing up, and he's rather small, and his friend Brian [the character Michael bases Rage on] was always his best friend and protector,” said Cowen. “He fantasizes about something he'd like to be himself [Michael is the basis for Zephyr], and also that magical person who comes along to save him.”

Turning the comic book from a plot line in the show to a real object was a collaboration among Cowen, Lipman, comic book artist Joe Phillips and their assistants, Dave Donohue and Justin Spritzer.

Sadly, plans for any issues after this first one -- outside the show, anyway -- are a pipe dream right now.

“We have fantasies … the animated half-hour series on Saturday morning, the comic book series,” Cowen said.

The second season of “Queer as Folk” on DVD prebooks Jan. 28 and streets Feb. 25.

The curious can get a sneak peek at the comic at http://queer.sho.com.

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