I am very excited to bring you a special installment of Real Stories of Superhero Fetish. This past February, the first ever superero-fetish cagetogy in the Fetish Europe contest at Antwerp Leather Pride kicked off. Three nominees competed, and Captain Europe, won. I recently had a chance to ask him about the origins of his superhero fetish, and how the superhero fetish community functions in Europe. He lives in Belgium. -Pablo Greene
Q&A: Captain Europe, Mr. Superhero Fetish 2017
Captain Europe, welcome. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My official name is Captain Europe - I came up with the idea, name and suit in 2006. There is now another Captain Europe who does the political/social public appearances - he's inherited my old Twitter handle @captain_europe, whilst I have kept the old account and renamed it @JusticeLeagueEU.
How long have you been part of the leather and fetish communities?
Hard to say. I’ve liked lycra and spandex for as long as I can remember, but in the early days of exploring my sexuality, I was living in a rural area and didn’t have much money, so I wasn’t meaningfully part of a “community”. The few leather bars we have here in Belgium are a bit hardcore – I am not sure whether superheroes are welcome. I’ve been to a few events over in the UK. I ride a motorcycle, but I got into that more out of necessity than a love for leather.
Can you tell us when and how your superhero fetish started?
Like many people in this community, I grew up watching the old 1960s Batman series with all of its homoerotic ambiguity. Then, as a young adult, I got into wrestling; there’s a bit of overlap there with the superhero thing, with the spandex, the fighting, the struggling and so on. I modelled briefly for Eye of the Cyclone in the mid-2000s. Captain Europe was initially an idea for a carnival costume – I wanted to do something original – rather than a fetish thing, but then took on a life of its own – I started being asked to do public appearances at political, social and charity events. The fetish side of things was thus pretty much put on hold, as I am not one for mixing business and pleasure (though I have to say being Captain Europe was great fun). Last year I retired from public appearances; there is now a new, younger Captain Europe who looks after that side of things – I have to say he is doing a very good job so far.
What made you decide to enter the contest for Mr. Superhero Fetish EU?
It came to my attention via social media and I thought, yeah, why not? As one of the few Belgium-based real life superheroes, it would be rude not to.’ Now I am retired from the serious side of it, I can have some fun!
Do you think superhero fetish has the recognition it deserves? Why?
I’m not sure I’d say it ‘deserves' recognition – that sounds a bit entitled. When I introduce people to the idea, they are sometimes puzzled, and then it clicks when I mention the Batman and Robin thing. So I would say that there are probably many hundreds of people out there who are missing out on a lot of fun by not exploring superhero fetish
Tell us about your fetish for superhero gear and costumes.
Spandex (unlike, say, leather) is a very sensual material, and the superhero dynamic feeds the imagination. Taken together, those two things make a winning combination for role play.
Are you single? Or do you have a romantic sidekick?
Romantic yes, sidekick no. My husband tolerates the superhero thing rather than approving of it, so the less said about that the better. Someone did ask whether the new Captain Europe was my boyfriend – the answer is no. I am sure he will find someone much better; he’s just a good friend and partner in crimefighting.
Please describe the experience of the weekend of the superhero fetish competition in Antwerp.
It was good fun. The Antwerp Leather Pride organizers, the site staff, the contest organisers, the judges and the other contestants were all fantastic. The contest itself was also an experience: escaping from bondage, being spanked (ouch!) to test our resilience (I passed that test, as the spanker’s hand gave out before I did), and saying a few words about ourselves. It was nice that the judges appreciated the serious side of what I said – championing diversity in all its meanings, and defending truth and justice in a post-truth era. Being a superhero is not just about having muscles and looking pretty – it’s about values, too. The rest of the weekend – I was at the Pride on the Friday and the Sunday, as I had long-standing social and family engagements on the Saturday – was more relaxed. I had the opportunity to meet and talk – in various languages – to some great people.
Now that you won the title, what do you plan to do for the next year?
Just as I thought I was retired from being Captain Europe, here I am thrust into a new public role. I’ll visit as many Pride events around Europe as time and finances permit. As well as being a mascot for superhero fetish, I will continue to champion the values I mentioned above. At a time when reactionary forces are awakening around the world, perhaps our hard-won rights need a superhero to defend them…
Do you wear superhero gear to leather bars? How else do you display your superhero fetish?
I’ve been a couple of times to the Eagle in Manchester, where Captain Europe was surprisingly well received, and to Central Station in London. Last night I was at a Carnival party (the original purpose of the suit) at a gay bar in central Brussels. Other than that, as I say, the fetish aspect has been on hold for a while – I’ll see what next year brings.
Superhero fetish is becoming very popular in America. Do you think the same will happen in the EU? Why or why not?
I really don’t know. Some in France have dismissed superheroes as an American thing, which is not true at all – Japan has Ultraman, France itself has (or had) Superdupont, Mexico has its own superheroes, and there is even a Captain Britain, though he seems to be resting at the moment. There seems to be a small superhero/spandex fetish scene emerging in the UK, and I know of a few people in France and Germany who are into it. Perhaps the title will get the scene some publicity, get us to critical mass and cause the scene to grow. Perhaps it won’t. I’m a superhero, not a fortune teller. That said, any Europeans reading this are welcome to get in touch.
Are you more of a superhero or a villain?
Definitely a superhero, though some Euroskeptics have disagreed quite vociferously.
Who are the superheroes or villains who inspire you most as a person, and why?
Batman. He doesn’t actually have any super powers, so he uses ingenuity rather than brute force to overcome evil. In real life, however, I am more like Peter Parker than Bruce Wayne. Like Peter in Spider-Man 2, I used to deliver pizzas for a living; I have a motorbike (just the one), not a fleet of classic/exotic cars; and I live in a modest (albeit more comfortable than Peter’s) upstairs flat, not a mansion with a well-equipped cellar.
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