I came out of the closet at a young age. Not the sexuality closet – well, that too – but the nerd closet. I am a geek. More than that, I am a pop culture nerd. If you make a reference to a TV show or a movie, I will get it. My friends call it a talent; my parents call it a waste of time, I call it my “geekdom”. Now as a pop culture nerd there were many aspects to my “geekdom”: anime, cult-classic TV and films, underground-nerd-community-celebrated shows, cartoons, manga, fantasy books, science fiction, console gaming, table-top games, and role-playing games (only occasionally the dirty kind). And yet one aspect of the geek community I struggled to get into was comics – until I stumbled across The Young Avengers.
“Who the #*&% are the Young Avengers?” Well, you know The Avengers, right? The Young Avengers are kind of like that, but instead of being centred around a group of cishet white men, we have a comic with an all-queer team that is hilarious, quirky, epic, and racially, sexually, and gender diverse. I was originally drawn to The Young Avengers due to the character Billy Kaplan (aka. Asgardian Wiccan). You see, I am a gay Jewish fanboy obsessed with magic and superheroes, while Wiccan is a gay Jewish ascended fanboy superhero with magical powers. So representation is really quite important here.
A brief description of the topics covered in the first volume of the Young Avengers: the media, youth empowerment and action vs adult oppression, misogyny vs female empowerment, time travel, shape-shifting, camaraderie, death of a family member, the feeling of being hunted, the importance of a name, Iron Man and Captain America Being Assholes, destiny, changed and alternate futures, responsibility, technology, the importance of good styling, sexuality, parental disapproval and disappointment, drugs, dramatic irony, rebellion, trauma, bullying, the owning of one’s self and sexuality, rape, idealism, the power of a group of individuals, a long lost twin, explosions, beating up bad people, beating up bad aliens, the rebirth of souls, clusterfuck super hero battles, wolverine’s nose, love, blowing up important international buildings, and snark. Lots of snark.
The Young Avengers to this day is my favourite series, my favourite team, with my favourite storylines. This is a comic book beloved by newcomers and veterans of the comic-book community alike. It’s a well-written, well-drawn portrayal of superhero mortality and life as a young adult, and on top of that, they make the pun we all wanted to make (Asgardian – Ass Guardian). So what are you waiting for? Go read it!