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Skin Tight USA: Out of the Closet and Up, Up and Away!

"The Skin Tight party — in which the costumes range from the familiar (like Spider-Man) to ones that only a comics geek would recognize (like the 1993 version of Superboy) — is one way that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender comic book fans are expressing themselves today. They are coming out, loud and proud, in blogs, peer groups, Web comics and more, simultaneously pronouncing their sexual identity and their devotion to comic books. But it wasn’t that long ago that the environment was less than welcoming for those who wanted to make the two seemingly disparate worlds one."

The New York Times:
Dim lighting.

Rendezvous-friendly nooks.

Muscled bartenders.

Pulsating dance music.

At first glance, it could be any Saturday night in any gay bar in New York.

But then you notice, off to one corner, Superman flirting with Green Lantern.

And there, across the room, someone in the form-fitting outfit of Black Adam, Captain Marvel’s foe, determinedly working the floor.

In fact, there seems to be an inordinate number of men here tonight who look as if they have all but jumped from the pages of a comic book.

And in some way, they have.

This is Skin Tight U.S.A., the occasional costume-fetish party held at the Stonewall Inn in the West Village, which draws a regular group of men (and their admirers) who enjoy a special kind of dress-up.

Some wear heroic outfits; some, wrestling gear.

The crowd can range from 25 people on an average night to 250 on a spectacular one.

The common thread is that the muscle-cuddling garb often leaves little to the imagination.

“I was always attracted to the superhero physique,” said Matthew Levine, 31, who helped found the party in 2005 with Andrew Owen, 44, and who was one of the few participants willing to be named.

The two become friends as, respectively, the graphic designer and Webmaster for Hard Comixxx, a predecessor of Skin Tight, once held at the Eagle bar in Chelsea.

Mr. Levine is a big fan of the X-Men (who have a handful of gay characters) and the Transformers (all of whom seem straight) and has been reading comics since he was 8.

“As I got older,” he said, “I realized, ‘Oh, this is why I admire the Grecian ideal of manhood and musculature.’ ” READ MORE

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