It’s a new year, and Qu33r, Rob Kirby’s grand, glorious anthology of thirty-three queer comics, feels as fresh and bright as these early days of January. Since 2010, Kirby has been editing Three, a high quality, LGBT comics anthology of three cartoonist’s works, with the expressed purpose of giving the creators space for their work to shine. The high quality of work, editing and presentation of these comics recognized Three with nominations for two Ignatz awards and a 2011 Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. Qu33r (Northwest Press), a beautiful hardcover volume, feels like an exponential expansion of all these good qualities, times three. (more…)
Humans can be so dense sometimes. This is especially frustrating in a field like science, where experimentation, exploration and innovative thinking really pay off. For example, look at how long it’s taken scientists to admit that animals have feelings and emotions. For years, we were taught that animals were like robots, acting only out of instinct, despite all kinds of evidence from pet owners and animal lovers to the contrary. Now that some of that evidence is actually being examined, it turns out science has been stymied because it refused to look at proof that was right in front of its face. (more…)
Eddie, a former art student, has one cell phone for calls from his family, friends and lover. His other phone, and his other name, Ford, is private and strictly business. Eddie works as a male escort–a job he tries, but fails, to restrict to odd hours outside his mainstream life. Sucked into the world of rent boys by his admiration for Nelson, a handsome male sex worker, Eddie soon finds his new occupation, and the duplicity it requires, affects both how he treats others and how he feels about himself. (more…)
The long-awaited English translation of Blue is the Warmest (Arsenal Pulp Press), originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, is a deeply compelling story, in large part due to its thorough exploration and attention to character. The graphic novel is told almost entirely in retrospect, as the formerly blue-haired Emma reads through the diaries of her deceased lover, Clementine. The diaries begin in 1994 France when Clementine is a fifteen-year-old sophomore in high school and continue over a decade into the future, though they focus largely on the rocky development of her and Emma’s relationship when Clementine first begins to discover her attraction towards women and struggles to accept her sexuality. With close-minded conservative parents and only one gay friend to confide in, the teenage Clementine internalizes her desire for Emma, caught in a wonderful and terrifying limbo that many queer youth are likely to relate to, one between discovering lust and feeling ashamed by who you lust after, between falling in love and self-hate. (more…)
Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf (Soft Skull Press) started in 2008 when authors Saiya Miller and Liza Bley put out an open call for young people to contribute comics that addressed subjects often ignored by traditional sex ed programs. They wanted to include topics like body image, safe sex, consent, and relationships, and include comics that challenged hetero and gender normative practices in sex education. (more…)
Hungry Bottom comics are clever, sassy, funny, artful, bratty…and insightful and wise. The theme for Williams’ biographical comic is emblazoned boldly on the first volume’s front cover: “Wow, you are a hungry bottom!” Williams prefaces his book by saying that some of the comics began as single-page “zingers.” That said, he’s done a great job of merging these single shots into the narrative of his tale.
Julio’s Day is the story of Julio’s life, spanning one hundred years, and covering approximately the same amount of pages. The pace of this graphic novel, which compiles a story originally serialized in Love and Rockets comics (with the addition of 36 pages), is set by this century timeline that runs through it. Just as clocks tick away lives in the real world, the turn of the page echoes that heartbeat of time for this tale. (more…)
One of the many difficulties for transgender or gender non-conforming folk is to get an overview of what transgender life is like, and most importantly, what a typical transgender life can be. Until fairly recently, most transgender biographies have been hidden, whispered about, or recorded as oddities. And the CIS world has not been welcoming, treating trans* identity as a medical or psychological abnormality, instead of one of many normal progressions to finding one’s self. (more…)
I come up against the same problem every time I try to discuss Dennis Cooper’s work. Transgressive work creates a visceral experience that is deeply subjective, even when using societal morals as an anchor point, and discussing Cooper’s work in a formal framework always has the effect of minimizing the statement of the work. He requires the reader to create a personal relationship with the content. (more…)
Reading the comic Gaylord Phoenix (Secret Acres) is a little like watching a psychedelic silent movie, or dropping acid. Unlike talkies, or mainstream comics, or real life, this story is told more in pictures than in words. Like in silent films, words and dialog are static insertions between blooming, exploding images.
And like tripping, the plot — what you the audience get out of the experience — has more to do with how you uniquely read the images you see, as opposed to following a predisposed script. (more…)