Today I am so pleased to welcome J.K. Pendragon to Joyfully Jay. J.K. has come to talk to us about a new release, Junior Hero Blues. J.K. has also brought along a great giveaway! Please join me in giving J.K. a big welcome!
Superheroes as Metaphors
I’ve always loved superheroes. I loved the cool powers and the awesome outfits and the whole saving the world thing. But more than that, I loved the secret identity aspect. I loved seeing characters whose identities had to be kept a secret, who risked being alienated and hated if they revealed who they were to the world. And I loved seeing those characters discover that the things that made them different weren’t bad at all. That they were great, and could do great things with them. That, even if the rest of the world didn’t understand, they were still super.
Superheroes have really always been a metaphor for things like race and sexual orientation. The creators of X-Men have spoken openly about how they created the series to mirror social injustice. Ian McKellan talks about the role of Magneto, and how it’s easy for him to embody the character because he identifies with Magneto and his motives as a member of a marginalized group more than any of the other characters. Superman was created by two Jewish men in America, and as many people have pointed out, his story is one of an immigrant—a refugee, even.
These stories have always been important. They cause the privileged audience to identify with characters who are being marginalised and mistreated, to experience second-hand the kind of injustice that they may never have to deal with in their actual life. And once upon a time, maybe this was the best way to open people’s eyes to the plight of marginalised groups like people of colour and LGBT folks. By showing it happening to white, straight people. Basically, sure, homophobia is bad. But imagine if it was happening to straight people. That would be awful.
You can see that we’ve come to a pet peeve of mine. It’s the metaphor. It’s getting old. You can only have so many white cishet people standing in as metaphors for queer people of colour before you start to think, but why couldn’t they just be… you know, actually queer people of colour? Are people really that incapable of understanding the plights of people different than them? And why, oh why, are the white cishet people the only intended audience here?
It’s something to think about. And, I think, something that needs to change.
Anyway, that kicks off the blog tour for my new YA novel JUNIOR HERO BLUES which features… badum tish… a queer, non-white superhero! Javier is a gay Hispanic kid growing up in America, who just happens to have a secret identity as the superhero Blue Spark. The book is all about him balancing his new life as a superhero with schoolwork, parents, and of course, the hunky football player who’s taken an interest in him, and who just happens to look a lot like his brand new archenemy Jimmy Black.
If any of that interests you, please take a look, and also leave a comment with your name and email address for a chance to win one of three $15 Amazon gift cards!
Thanks for reading!
Last year, Javier Medina was your average socially awkward gay high schooler with a chip on his shoulder. This year, he’s . . . well, pretty much the same, but with bonus superpowers, a costume with an ab window to show off his new goods, and a secret identity as the high-flying, wise-cracking superhero Blue Spark.
But being a Junior Hero means that Javier gets all the responsibility and none of the cool gadgets. It’s hard enough working for the Legion of Liberty and fighting against the evil Organization, all while trying to keep on top of schoolwork and suspicious parents. Add in a hunky boyfriend who’s way out of Javier’s league, and an even hunkier villain who keeps appearing every time said boyfriend mysteriously disappears, and Blue Spark is in for one big dollop of teenage angst. All while engaging in some epic superhero action and, oh yeah, an all-out battle to protect Liberty City from the forces of evil.
Welcome to the 100% true and totally unbiased account of life as a teenage superhero.
J.K. Pendragon is a Canadian author with a love of all things romantic and fantastical. They first came to the queer-fiction community through m/m romance, but soon began to branch off into writing other queer fiction. As a bisexual and genderqueer person, J.K. is dedicated to producing diverse, entertaining fiction that showcases characters across the rainbow spectrum, and provides queer characters with the happy endings they are so often denied.
After writing in the romance community for several years, Junior Hero Blues is J.K.’s first book for young adults. Having been very positively affected by the queer books they came across as a teen, J.K. hopes their young adult books can have a similar effect on teens who may have a harder time finding books about people like themselves.
Notable works by J.K. Pendragon include Ink & Flowers, a contemporary romance novel with coming out themes, and To Summon Nightmares, a horror-fantasy that follows the journey of a young trans man into a world of magic and danger. To Summon Nightmares is the winner of the 2015 Rainbow Awards’ Best Transgender Fiction award. J.K. also contributed to Less Than Three Press’s Geek Out: A Collection of Trans and Genderqueer Romance.
J.K. currently resides in British Columbia, Canada, with a boyfriend, a cat, and a large collection of artisanal teas that they really need to get around to drinking. They are always happy to chat, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter @JKPendragon.
Connect with J.K.:
- Website: www.jkpendragon.com
- Blog: www.jkpendragon.com/blog
- Twitter: @JKPendragon
- Tumblr: jkpendragon.tumblr.com
To celebrate the release of Junior Hero Blues, three lucky winners will receive $15 in Amazon credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 12, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
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- Void where prohibited by law.
As a non-white person myself I love the inclusion of people of colour in your books 🙂
I’d never considered superheroes being a metaphor for race or sexual orientation, so you’ve opened my eyes to new possibilities. Thanks for a thoughtful post, and congratulations on the release of Junior Hero Blues.
I’m so eager to read this!
Thank you for the interesting discussion on superheroes as metaphor. I do love reading about a diversity of character types.
This sounds like a fantastic story, very thoughtful and different! I’m really looking forward to checking this out!
Congrats and thx for your comments about superheroes. I agree, and in fact I’m a sucker for gay YA superheroes, so I’m sure your book will pull all the right strings.
Purple Reader – TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com
I’m white & cishet however I’d love to see more diversity in pop culture. Thanks for the thoughtful post.
My daughter is gay and an amputee. There are many books out now that include heroines like her.
debby236 at gmail dot com
This sounds like a great read. Thanks for letting me know about it. I hope that I win.
I like the idea of a wise-cracking superhero. Sounds good. 🙂
Thanks for the interesting post! This sounds great. violet817(at)aol(dot)com
bn100candg at hotmail dot com
I’ve always enjoying reading about heroes, I find their stories really entertaining, but never thought about further meanings… Thank you for your interesting reflections. I’ll keep them in mind next time I read a story about heroes. Thank you!
Sounds really good. I haven’t read anything by this author before, but this one sounds like a good place to start.
Woohoo! I’m so excited to see some more minority groups in books… especially superheroes!
I am quite intrigued with this, so thanks for the giveaway chance
I really enjoyed this post. Thank you so much for sharing!
ree.dee.2014 (at) gmail (dot) com