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Steelgrip Starkey #1
Creator/writer/penciller: Alan Weiss
Inker: James Sherman
Colorists: Elaine Lee, Jeff Raum, & James Sherman
Letter: Kevin Nowlan
Editor: Archie Goodwin
Assistant editor: Daniel Chichester
Associate editor: Margaret Clark
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Marvel Comics, 1987


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Steelgrip Starkey
by Scott Anderson
[Print-ready Version]

I am Uatu the Watcher! It has been my sacred duty to oversee the multivere and keep track of all the important events without influencing them in any way! I see all! I hear all! I know all including that you are trying to look up my dress! Actually, it’s not a dress. It’s a manly combination of toga and kilt that my people call a “tilt.” It’s trendy and butch. Besides, it shows off my legs, which draws attention away from my freakishly large head. Do you know how hard it is to get a date when your head couldn’t possibly fit between anyone’s thighs?

Because of that, I lead a lonely existence. My balls are as blue as the area of the moon I live in. So, I busy myself by watching others. Oh, get off my case. It’s not as if you haven’t spent hours perusing XTube or wouldn’t peek behind Ricky Martin’s curtains if you could, so don’t judge me.

Anyway, like I said, I watch people in all realities. Sometimes, I wonder what would happen if one detail were changed in the scenes I watch. I wonder, “What if ...?” And I look in some other reality to see the answer.

I’ve wonder what if ...

... the Skrulls had won the Secret Invasion?

Ironically, everyone would have been better off. Skrull science would have fixed all the big problems, plus Olestra wouldn’t give you the runs, the Grammy Awards would have been relevant, and you’d be dating an alien shape shifter who wasn’t inhibited by America’s Puritanical mores. If you could see the smile on your face on Earth 821, you’d be president of the Let’s Surrender to Our Alien Overlords Club.

... I’d been part of the DC Universe?

My name would have been changed from Uatu to Nix Uotan, and I’ve been part of something called Final Crisis where I ... umm ... this is kind of embarrassing. I mean I have a cosmic intellect, I’m virtually omniscient, and I still can’t figure out what the hell happened in the Final Crisis.

... you finished that script you’ve been contemplating?

It turns out that in all universes, Electra still dies. I know that has nothing to do with your script, but it also turns out that no one anywhere in the multiverse was more interested in your script than if Electra survived Bullseye, and I have other readers to think about.

But lately, what I’ve been wondering about the most (and don’t ask me why because it’s none of your damn business and I’ve evolved beyond your petty scorn) – what’ve been wondering is:

What if Tom of Finland worked for Marvel Comics?

The answer might surprise you because it just so happens that if you look in on Earth 69, you’d see Tom of Finland would have produced a six-issue mini series for Marvel entitled Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool.

You comic historians out there are saying, “Wait a minute! Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool was comic created by Alan Weiss, not Tom of Finland.”

And you gay porn historians are saying, “Wait a minute! Is that a sequel to the classic Powertool with Jeff Stryker?”

You’re both right. OK, the porn guys aren’t right, but Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool was so homoerotic that they might as well be right.

The premise of the mini-series is that an All American, hard-working hero uses his good looks, upright morality, and construction skills to make the world a better place by traveling the globe with a super contraption that can become any device needed for the erection of any project. Frankly, having a perfect guy with a godlike machine solve all problems is a tedious bore unless you like a literal dues ex machina in your literature. The only thing that makes it even a little appealing is the overt homoeroticism supplied by the aforementioned Tom of Finland.

Alright, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that Tom of Finland did not draw this comic and that I’m not the Watcher. You think I’m the same smart ass who writes here every month with snarky observations of gay content in comics where none exists. Well, smart guy, if I’m Scott Anderson and not the Watcher, how do you explain this cute little skirt I’m wearing? … I mean kilt ... I mean whatever the hell I said Watchers called this adorable little mini-dress. And as for Tom of Finland, let’s just look at the evidence, shall we? And let’s begin by looking at our hunky hero’s profile.

I won’t place a Tom picture next to it for you to compare. I’ll let you cruise the internet for your fill of Tom porn, but if you don’t see how this profile is a Tom profile with the heavy brow, the squinting, the jaw line, etc., you spent hours with Tom’s art in the bathroom hoping your parents don’t notice like I … umm … I’ve watched others do. I’m the Watcher! Anyway, Steelgrip has a pal named Ryan, who supposedly has a wife who lives in New York whom we never, ever see, even when the story takes place in New York. In fact, just about the only woman we do see in this series is the powertool’s programmer, Sherry. There isn’t the slightest suggestion that either Ryan or Steelgrip have any romantic interest in Sherry. Now, let’s look at the scene where Steelgrip meets his “partner,” Ryan.

Hunky out-of-work artists, musicians, and actors in short shorts. Tell me that doesn’t look like a casting call for the Village People? And if Ryan’s isn’t the most salaciously sexual leer I’ve ever seen then I’ve been completely misreading the cues the of the guys I’ve been making out with in the bars. And how does Steelgrip describe his relationship with Ryan? And master/student relationship? Kinky!

Did you see how Sherry jumped in with “a team” before Steelgrip could finish the sentence about how he and Ryan spend all their time together traveling the country and working together? Don’t you think the least sexual thing Steelgrip would have ended “We’re …” with would have been “… partners.”? But what he probably would have said was something more like “… flip-flopping pigs.” And they slept together in the nude.

Sure, it looks like they’re sleeping in separate beds, but Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds and she got pregnant somehow. And let’s take a look at Steelgrip waking up.

Notice anything? Tell me that isn’t an exaggerated Tom of Finland erection under that blanket. Go ahead. I dare you. And what do they talk about when their in their room together? Take a look.

Pie is a sexual euphemism, you know. I learned that from watching professional wrestling. I learned people smoke after sex, like Ryan above, from Love American Style. I learned how to spot gay naked men from watching a porn film that was pretty much a combination of professional wrestling and Love American Style. When Steelgrip and Ryan aren’t naked in their bedroom with erections, basking in the afterglow, they’re in bars.

Gay, gay, gay bars full of butch daddies and Castro clones. Hell, I wish my gay bar was this gay. But the bulk of the story isn’t about bedrooms and bars. It’s about Steelgrip Starkey steely gripping his tool.

The comic is full of this square-jawed hunk, reaching down between his legs and gripping his tool and working it. And oh, the astonishing erections he creates. So there! Now, you must admit that Steelgrip Starkey and the All-Purpose Power Tool is a work by Tom of Finland and that I am the Watcher. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta take a peak at Earth 775 to answer the question “What if I could think of a clever way to end this article?” Hmm. Turns out Electra still dies.


Scott Anderson settled in Nashville, Tennessee, after living in various locales across America. Although Scott currently works as a legal assistant, his past jobs have included freelance editing for several science fiction/fantasy authors and assembling sparkly fairy wands.

Copyright © 1987 Alan Weiss. Article copyright © 2009 Scott Anderson.

Prism Comics promotes the works of the LGBT community in comics. It does not implicitly endorse any other material or products associated with those works. Any opinions expressed are those of the author(s).


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