Wednesday, August 8, 2012


If you lived in Los Angeles in the world of Quantum Comics and you happened to look up and see rainbow-colored trails of light in the sky, you could rest assured that any villains or evil-doers in the vicinity were in big trouble--because you’d know Idol was on the job!

Just one look at Idol tells you exactly who he is:  He’s out, he’s proud, and he’s got more than enough power to back it up.  Even when you see Mark James Worthy out of costume, his Human Rights Campaign “Equal Rights symbol” tattoo and his fuchsia triangle ear stud put his identity right out there.  Idol’s costume takes its inspiration from the ACT UP “Silence Equals Death” graphic--but there’s even more to it than that.  Idol is a character in the spirit of another character for whom some people remember me.  I used to be the artist of a series of super-hero strips in Gay Comics that starred an All-American gay super-hero called Sentinel (later called Pride).  Though I didn’t create the sensational Sentinel, I always liked him and considered him my “beloved stepchild”.  (You see him below on the cover of Gay Comics #20, penciled by me and inked by George Perez.  He’s the star-spangled blond hunk at the center of the composition.)  I wanted to do another character who would symbolize the strength and pride of gay America and embody it in a classical super-hero.  That character, then, is the intrepid Idol.

The origin and intro story for Idol is one that makes me smile to think about it.  One warm night in Santa Monica, an engineering student named Mitch McGrath meets the most perfect boy he’s ever seen--young fitness instructor Mark James Worthy--browsing in the CD section of a bookstore.  They head for the cafe where they drink and talk and quickly fall in love.  Mark takes Mitch home to bed.  They lie together afterward, deliriously happy.  Thinking Mitch is dozing, Mark decides to step out for a bit in just his tighty whities and enjoy the cooling night.  Mitch wakes up, spies Mark slipping out to the side of the pool, thinks his new boyfriend is going to take a dip, and is ready to join him--when suddenly Mark lifts himself into the air and flies off in a rainbow streak!  A stunned and disbelieving Mitch at once realizes that he is sleeping with a super-hero!  When Mark (who’s been giving LA’s night life quite a show, clad only in his underwear with his aerial celebration of new love) flies back home a short time later, he has some major explaining to do.

Thus Mark shows himself to Mitch in costume for the first time, and Mitch calls him “some kind of costumed idol”--a name that will stick.  Mitch learns his super-powered lover’s origin.  Mark is the only child of Evan Worthy, a realtor who came out to himself only after marrying heterosexually; and Carol James Worthy, a caterer with bouts of depression.  Evan was prosperous but miserable, finding happiness only in an affair with another realtor, Patrick Sayers, who encouraged him to come out--and he did, ending his marriage and sending Carol into a tailspin.  The embittered and depressed Carol did everything to poison the mind of their son Mark against his father, railing against the “selfishness” of gays and their supposed agenda of destroying and tearing apart families.  Carol’s manipulations came to nothing when Mark realized his own gayness and Carol attempted suicide with pills and alcohol.  Still loving his mother but unable to live any more in a toxic home, Mark went to live with his father and Patrick while Jenny went into therapy.  Then a car crash claimed the lives of Mark’s Dads, leaving Mark with their money and property, his budding fitness-trainer business, and a life filled with grief.

Reeling from his losses, Mark felt himself being bombarded with the conflict over gay rights in the media (a painful reminder of his mother) and began to shut himself off from the world until he couldn’t stand it any more.  One fateful day he felt the need to run--not to any specific place or destination, just to run.  Pushing himself to his physical limits, he tripped and fell off a trail, rolling down a hill into a wooded area, and sprawled unconscious in the brush.  There he lay--until IT appeared.  It was something incredibly ancient, older than humanity, shaped like a large, hollow triangle.  It called out to Mark’s mind and he stepped into the center of the strange object.  There he was charged with immense power, and a costume and a set of wristbands with a symbol identical to the mystery object fashioned themselves onto his body.  (The wristbands enable him to switch back and forth from common clothes to his costume.)  Mark had been chosen for a purpose that he would understand if he used his new powers in the way they were intended.  His mission was simply to protect the world and humanity and be a force for good.  What was the mysterious object that endowed Mark with powers almost like those of a god?  What was he meant to do?  All this he would learn if he simply returned to the world and lived the full measure of his love, his pride, and his power.  Free of the despair that had overcome him and ready to engage with the world again, Mark returned home, recommitted himself to his business, opened his eyes to new adventure--and met the boy with whom he now planned to spend his life.  And that’s where a wonder-struck Mitch came in.

Idol is one of the most powerful beings ever to live on Earth.  He occupies the highest percentile of strength and invulnerability of all superhumans, a category that he shares with the Bearcat and some other characters you’ll be meeting in the weeks ahead.  He can fly faster than a supersonic fighter jet in Earth’s atmosphere and reach near-light speeds in space.  He can live and travel in space without a spacesuit.  The telltale signature of Idol’s presence in an area, as we noted earlier, is the rainbow-colored trail of bent light that he leaves behind him when he flies.  He can create force fields to protect others, and generate force beams capable of demolishing buildings with one blast.  He can sense energy in any form in any place.  He can emit a light so strong that it seems to turn night to day, which he does at Mitch’s suggestion during an adventure that happens later on their first night together.  Idol is as super as super gets.

Silence may equal death and action may equal life--but pride, power, and valor add up to Idol! 

1 comment:

  1. woa, that cover of super gay comics really is interesting, i'll have to look into this stuff more