Chances are, if you’ve encountered the fetish scene, your thoughts immediately turn to handcuffs, rope bondage and leather harnesses. But fetish is constantly evolving. Other gear has grown in popularity, such as spandex, neoprene and rubber. Role-play scenarios have shifted from master/slave to puppies and handlers, anthropomorphic animals (furries), and adult babies (ABDL/diaper fetishists), among others.
One increasingly popular fetish pulls from both the most innocent and childlike of interests as well as more intense scenarios: superheroes. Ripped from the pages of comics, and more recently a huge surge in popularity in movies, TV and video games, there’s a growing number of people identifying with superheroes, dressing up, and role-playing. You can find a number of sites dedicated to this fetish, as well as bar nights and parties across the country (notably Skintight USA and Hard Heroes).
I recently spoke with Pablo Greene, who’s something of an expert in this community. He’s the writer of a popular series of erotic gay fiction called How to Kill a Superhero, including superhero fetish from gear to power play scenarios.
He also organizes superhero fetish events across the country.
I asked him what inspired his interest in this particular fetish.
“I recall being drawn to the covers of comics at the newsstand as early as I can remember,” he explained, “and we’re talking maybe the ages of three or four years old. When I learned how to read in first grade, I started asking my parents to buy comics for me. Many of those included classic titles like Superman, The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, and even the Submariner.”
“For me, my love affair with the lives of superheroes is rooted in the comics,” he clarified. “Television, movies and video games came later, and they also helped reinforce my interest in these stories of superhero men and women.”
I wondered what the pathway was from reading comics as a child to writing superhero fetish novels.
“Like many writers, it took me years to publish my work, even though I was writing short stories since I was about twelve years old,” he stated. “I had my first short story published in the Willows magazine in the early part of the aughts and my first published book released in 2010. In 2012, I wanted to write some short stories that went deep into the psychology and truth of superhero fetish and BDSM. As I began to write these loosely connected stories, I realized they could become a full novel. What started out as a single book, How to Kill a Superhero: A Gay Bondage Manual, developed into a full series.”
He added that he writes in other genres (science fiction and fantasy) under a different name.
“I don’t have a secret identity, but I do have other facets as a writer. So this is less of a Clark Kent/Superman scenario and more like Mystique – I like to manifest in different forms.”
He explained that he started organizing superhero events after receiving positive feedback on his Superhero series from fans.
“International Mr. Leather, and the Leather Archives and Museum in particular, have been the most influential event and organization in helping the world learn about my books,” Pablo noted. “I was very lucky to be accepted as a published author to the Leather Archives author table at IML 2013. Something magical started happening with the books since then. That year, all kinds of kinksters in Batman tees and Superman gear came to my table and learned about the books. Many guys (and a few women) told me that the books meant a lot to them because it let them feel that someone took their fetish for superheroes seriously. Yes, in fact, those who fetishize superheroes have lived on the fringe of BDSM communities, and as more people came to me to ask questions about cosplay, superhero bondage scenes and more, I knew I wanted to help us all find each other and to stop living in the fringe.”
“I started organizing the Superhero Fetish Meetups at every BDSM or Comic-Con-like event I attended, to provide a space where we could all meet each other,” he added. “Since then, my meetups have snowballed. The next one for me is SNIKT at New York Comic-Con and then I will have another one at NYC Eagle on October 24.”
The How to Kill a Superhero series is pretty intensely focused in BDSM, but that isn’t a requirement as a fetishist. I wondered if Pablo had any tips for a newcomer to the world of superhero fetish.
“My novels are probably more extreme than most comics, TV shows or movies about superheroes, and that’s exactly what I wanted to explore: the actual sexuality of a person who acquired super power,” he elaborated. “At their core, they celebrate the fetish and worship of superheroes (and villains, let’s not forget them), even though there’s an added element of bondage.”
“That’s where I think things get really interesting, because superhero fetish can be thought of as separate from BDSM,” Pablo clarified. “I get many questions from vanilla-type folks who simply want to learn more about how to cosplay and combine it into their sex lives without necessarily implementing bondage, pain or more varsity-level kink. I fully support that. I have met and played with wonderful guys over the years who simply wanted to dress up in Superman’s tights or Spiderman’s awesome suit and just feel like they were inside their skin.”
“One of the best ways to get started is to explore this fetish in sites that are dedicated to spandex fetish such as Spandex Party ,” he explained. “For me personally, though, I get the most useful connections with guys using Recon or Scruff. The key to those sites is to be very direct about your interest in spandex, lycra, rubber and superhero fetish, even if you don’t want ropes, whips and chains. There’s no shame in getting specific about how you would like your scenarios to play out in the bedroom. It will help you find the right guys. I also recommend visiting my list of superhero-friendly cosplay vendors, in case you need superhero gear to wear.”
How does superhero fetish incorporate into other scenes and communities?
“At my Superhero Fetish Meetups, you can wear a Batman T-shirt, a rubber gimp suit (let’s imagine we have Robin trapped inside it) or a high-quality cosplay suit, and you will not be judged for any of it,” he emphasized. “This is about encouraging the fetish for people. That’s what makes the superhero fetish community radically different than others. We don’t judge you if you can’t afford expensive fetish gear. You can dress yourself up the way YOU want to, not by what’s expected of you by others. I think many kink communities are evolving and blending, and I am always excited to see the younger generation remix genres and fetishes to suit their lives. I am Generation X and did grow up with remix culture, but I am floored when I see my millennial readers show me how they blend their kinks even further, whether it’s rubber, full leather, bootblacking, furries, spandex or genderfucking.
“It’s an exciting time to be alive,” he continued, “because kink communities have more of a chance of evolving into even more heterogenous groups, rather than strict hierarchies that exclude other people based on who they are or what they wear.”
I had to ask: what characters does he like to role-play or dress up as?
“I love to get in the gear and mindset of characters like Spiderman, Lex Luthor, Superman, Captain America, Bane, The Riddler and Green Lantern,” he listed. “I like the facets of hero and villain, and depending on who I am going to play with in a scene, I’ll choose a character that will let me play to the chemistry I have with that person.”
I wondered if Pablo felt superhero fetish was a new phenomenon.
“Men and women have fantasized sexually about superheroes since they started appearing in the comics in the early twentieth century,” he stated. “Superheroes symbolize power and strength, and villains play to that yin and yang by seeking to subdue, dominate and overpower. It’s the perfect brew for consensual sex and stimulating the mind.”
“But let’s bring this to 2015 and a fetish culture that is currently rooted in leather but is in many ways evolving past it: I think man, many kinksters already incorporate superhero fetish into their play by introducing lycra, superhero costumes and even some symbols and imagery into their leather and kink rituals,” he concluded. “However, I still feel that many people feel ashamed to tell their partners that they want to dress up in tights and get bound and gagged while roleplaying as a hero. That’s what I think is changing.”
“In essence, many superhero fetishists are coming out of the kink closet and I think it’s wonderful. I really believe that you should incorporate it into your sex life the way it works for you, but don’t let any motherfucker shame you or ridicule you for having the fetish.”
Pablo Greene’s third book in his series, Transformation Fetish, comes out later this year, late fall on Kindle and in paperback in the spring. Book 4, Gold, publishes in late 2016. He also posts superhero meetups on his site here. If you are interested in purchasing his books or related accessories (singlets and T-shirts), you can buy them at his site or locally at Doghouse Leathers.
Pablo Greene is also planning on expanding his book signings and superhero fetish events into other parts of the US and would love to visit Seattle. He exclaimed, “I am dying to put on my spandex superhero suits and come to your part of the country!”
Would you attend a superhero fetish event? Would you like to see one in Seattle? Do you have superhero attire in your wardrobe, whether cosplay, rubber/kink/leather or cotton? Will Robin escape from his perilous predicament? Can Batman dismantle the bomb in time? Respond in the comments below!