Vol 1 includes all three of the first comics, plus two brand new issues. First up is a 50 page Stripling Warrior Annual featuring heroes Sam & Fe and their respective spouses joining forces to battle the famed Book of Mormon hero Ammon and his pet Quetzalcoatl! The Annual Issue is filled with action, romance, and more! It wraps up the first three issues and introduces new, exciting themes for future potential stories. There is also a special super sexy, 8 page mini issue featuring Sam and Jase's early days in their relationship as they explore sex as out gay men.
Some may scratch their heads and ask why there is a need for gay Mormon heroes. Andersen eloquently explains:
"I grew up in an era when being gay was the worst possible thing a young boy could be. I was told I was broken. That I was sick. That homosexuality was a defect, a curse. That my gayness was the worst possible sin next to murder. I'd been called insulting, derogatory names my entire life, both in person, via the media, by my political leaders. And most hurtfully still by my faith.
As a youth it was rare for me to see any homosexuals depicted in the media. The few times any gay person made it on screen, or in a comic book, they were only allured to being queer. That or they were the villain, the sassy best friend, the sexless joke, anything other than equal to their straight counterparts.
Today, my own church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, has labeled my family and I apostates. The Mormon Leaders have decreed my innocent daughter is no longer welcome simply because she has two dads.
Rhetoric like this is damning. It is one reason finally embracing my true self, accepting my inherent, ingrained queerness, was a struggle I nearly didn't survive. Yet once I was able to grapple with and shake off my shame, as I finally began to date and explore my homosexuality at twenty-sex years old, I was shocked to learn that shame was also deeply rooted within my queer community.
There still is so much shame in the gay community: bottom shame, slut shame, body shame, femme shame. It's a hold over from our culture that we, as a group, need to free ourselves from. STRIPLING WARRIOR stands as my response to this cultural, communal and religious shame meant to keep us subjugated and fearful."