Wednesday, February 12, 2014

THE FOX #4: Did a Hero Get Outed??

I found myself with a rare evening to myself last night and realized that I hadn't yet read most of THE FOX #1-4. This is a comic book mini-series published by Archie Comics under its Red Circle imprint. THE FOX is plotted and penciled by Dean Haspiel and scripted by Mark Waid. It's a pretty good superhero title. The Fox is the last of several heroes sent by the Queen of Diamonds to save her King from an evil Druid. The other heroes failed, but the Fox seems to have what it takes to save the day. In the meantime, the Fox has rescued several of those failed heroes and gives them a second chance to shine, including Bob Phantom, the Marvel, and... Inferno the Flame Breather.


This blog article is about Inferno the Flame Breather.

Inferno is an old superhero dating back to 1941. He first appeared in ZIP COMICS as a villain for the original Steel Sterling. His power (which has been expanded in modern appearances) was to breath fire. Inferno would use his flame powers to melt locks and steal valuables. But he quickly befriended Steel Sterling and turned away from crime. He went on a couple missions with Steel Sterling, but eventually turned himself into the police to pay for his earlier misdeeds.


At some later point, Inferno got out of jail, donned a costume, and became a superhero. He was subsequently recruited by the Queen of Diamonds and sent to save the King from the Druid -- though he failed at this and got himself transformed magically into a golem slave. Fortunately, the Fox saved him from this fate.


While on this latest mission, the Fox and Inferno came across another old hero whom I've never heard of before: The Marvel! He was being tortured by the Druid and immediately attacked our two heroes. He eventually regained his wits, but not before he and Inferno found themselves locked in a death-trap together. That's when things got interesting. Check out this dialogue:


Okay. This isn't a 2014-Kevin-Keller-"Look-at-me//I'm-gay"-level outing. This is a 1980s-Northstar-"Look-at-me-come-to-the-edge-of-coming-out-but-not-quite-saying-it-so-that-another-writer-can-undo-this"-level outing. But I'm an old enough comic book fan to appreciate this subtle attempt at introducing another gay character to the worlds of Archie Comics!

I immediately went to Twitter and commented on this development. "Caught up w/ "The Fox" by Archie Comics. One of their old heroes was outed. Possible date for Kevin Keller? #Inferno". Which resulted in a shout-out from Kevin Keller himself -- or the official Kevin Keller Twitter account, which is just as cool!):


How many LGBT folks do we have now? Kevin, Devon, Crazy Tribble Guy, Clay, Jinx's mom and step-mom, Ginger Lopez, Nancy, and now the Inferno. Pretty cool stuff!

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