Aug 18, 2015
Spirou and Fantasio: The Bellhop and his Boyfriend
His shirt is open, revealing a smooth, buffed chest. His boyfriend is wearing a lavender t-shirt and a sky-blue jacket, a style that an older gay man might wear.
A gay comic? A parody? A slash fantasy? No, this is an actual excerpt from Spirou et Fantasio, a Belgian comic strip for children (and college students learning French).
The young hunk Spirou began his career in 1938 as a bellhop engaged in humorous antics. In 1944, he met intrepid journalist Fantasio, and soon the two were pairing up for investigations, traveling through time and space, confronting gangsters, spies, dictators, mad scientists, and alien invaders, rescuing each other again and again.
Like Tintin and Captain Haddock, Corentin and Kim, and Alix and Enak, Spirou and Fantasio became domestic partners, and rather obviously lovers, Occasionally Fantasio liked a woman (unlike Captain Haddock), but in the end he always returned to his true love.
During the 1990s, the couple was redrawn, becoming more naturalistic, with pleasantly muscular physiques -- and the gay subtext was revved up (it's hard to read them as anything but a modern-day gay couple).
Over fifty albums have been released to date. Three have been translated into English.