Michel (because he was cute, and in French), The Hardy Boys (because they were in love), and Sherlock Holmes: "The Red-Headed League", "The Five Orange Pips," "The Musgrave Ritual," and many other stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.
They were short enough to read quickly, exciting but not scary, mysterious but always realistic (no ghosts or monsters). Sherlock Holmes' power of logical deduction was appealing to a boy just starting to tease out the patterns, conventions, and constraints of adult life.
And he was gay.
Watson did express heterosexual interest; in The Sign of Four (1890), he falls in love and marries. But marriage always puts a damper on adventure, so soon Mrs. Watson was written out with a brief reference to her death, and Holmes and Watson were together again.
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (1972)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975)
Sherlock Holmes in New York (1976)
The Seven Percent Solution (1976)
Murder by Decree (1979)
But none offered any beefcake -- Sherlock started displaying a bare chest only in the 2000s.
Another Hollywood attempt to erase the existence of gay people from the world.
Not to worry -- Jeremy Brett played him as rather more gay-vague in the late 1980s and 1990s.