Prowler, Liberty, Glitter, Indigo, Butch, Mr Muscles, Diva — all superpowered, all British, and the first all gay super-hero team there ever was! Created by independent creator Martin Eden, Spandex charts the highs and lows of a group of Brighton-based heroes, doing battle with 50-foot lesbians, a group of deadly pink ninjas, as well as their own complicated love lives! Packed with pop culture references, nods to classic comics and chock-full of humour and drama, Spandex is a super-hero book like no other!
Leading up to the release of Spandex - Fast and Hard in May, we're featuring a series of articles by Martin Eden. In his first article, Martin discusses how he came up with the idea:
Spandex: The Idea
I think one question I dread being asked in interviews is ‘where did you get the idea for Spandex from?’ It’s not because it’s a rubbish question, it’s just that I seem to get asked it all the time!
So I thought I’d reveal all here for one last time (hopefully, ha ha)!
So basically, I’ve been creating indie comics since I was about 21. After a few years of working with other indie creators, I decided to launch my own title, which was a superhero soap opera called The O Men. Kind of a cross between Watchmen and EastEnders (in tone – I’m not saying it was as good as Watchmen lol).
The comic did okay and had a nice little following, but after 30 issues, I felt the urge to do something new. In the meantime, some background characters were starting to grab my attention in the O Men – just some random superhero characters that I’d made up. There was Diva who was bascially a slightly older version of Britney Spears (a cool red cat-suit/costume she wore once inspired me), Cat (who became the villain Pussy), and Liberty, who took on a life of her own and developed very quickly. Glitter was also hanging around but I hadn’t developed him much.
From there, circumstances and ideas just evolved naturally (as they normally do with my comics). For me, a comic series has to have a strong ‘hook’ or idea behind it – otherwise, I can’t see the point of doing it. So I got thinking about creating a comic about a gay superhero team and how unique that would be, and I racked my brains to think if there had ever been one before (I’ll talk about gay superheroes another time). Apparently, there have been other gay superteams but I had no knowledge of them, and there definitely wasn’t a ‘household’ name around.
I also thought it would work as a series, because it’d be great for the LGTB audience to have something to enjoy. And for the straight audience – well, I felt that a lot of current comics were getting a bit stale – and it would create a universe that straight comic readers were less familiar with.
And after that, of course, the ideas kept developing and I got more and more excited about the project and the potential...
Next: The Spandex characters...
An early dummy concept sketch of the team. Lots of the colours changed, Ms Fantastic (robot lesbian) was eventually removed from the original team and became a villain, and Indigo was just a glint in my eye!