Sam Glanzman’s short story titled Toro in DC’s Our Fighting Forces #148 serendiptiously came to my attention one day during a search on Ebay for comics relating in some way to LGBT themes or representation. As I recall the seller included an image from the story that reasonably assured me purchasing the comic wouldn’t be a waste of money. Sam Glanzman wrote and drew a backup feature titled “U.S.S. Stevens” that appeared in various DC war comics based on his experiences during naval service aboard a ship of the same name during World War II.
Toro isn’t the character’s real name and instead refers to a kind of knife. Its significance is made clear in the story. Made equally clear by Glanzman is that Toro is either gay or perceived to be gay because of his behaviors by his crewmates. You can draw your own conclusions, but Toro doesn’t read as straight to me in the least and I can’t recall another instance of a character calling another character a fairy in a Bronze or Silver Age comic. Considering that the U.S.S. Stevens stories in general have been noted as biographical one has to assume the account of Toro is as well. The story makes me wonder what kind of conversations happened between Glanzman and editor Archie Goodwin. Keep in mind that Glanzman did this story in 1974. The Comics Code had relaxed its guidelines three years before to allow certain horror or supernatural words and themes to appear in book titles, on covers, and in stories. The Code would not allow for open and positive portrayals of LGBT characters until its final revision in 1989.