August 27, 2014

‘If This Be Sin’ by Hazel Newlevant

Posted on August 17, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

I love comics about musicians, especially behind-the-scenes bios about their life and creative processes. So for me, Hazel Newlevant’s comic If This Be Sin, which features three music related stories, was like getting triple scoops of my favorite flavor. Plus, one of the stories is about the falling out of rock star musicians Wendy and Lisa with Prince, which this former Minnesotan couldn’t wait to read. What better way to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Purple Rain than with a little reality check on what Prince is really like? (more…)

‘Everyone is Someone’s Fetish’ by Tony Breed

Posted on July 15, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

This selection of comics is taken from Tony Breed’s web comic Finn and Charlie are Hitched. Breed started his online comic in 2006, chronicling the lives of two married gay men, before gay marriage was legally sanctioned in large parts of the U.S.  The web comic was nominated for an Ignatz award, and the book was published with support from a Kickstarter campaign. (more…)

‘The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story’ by Vivek J. Tiwary with Illustrations by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker

Posted on May 29, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

If there were a fifth Beatle, most fans would assume it was Pete Best, the drummer Ringo Starr replaced. But Vivek J. Tiwary’s graphic novel (a finalist for a 26th Annual Lambda Literary Award in the graphic novel category) recognizes Brian Epstein as the fifth band member–a silent partner, the brains behind the Beatles’ concept. Tiwary admits telling Epstein’s story has been his life work, adding, “Why shouldn’t he have a life in comics?” (more…)

’100 Crushes’ by Elisha Lim

Posted on May 12, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

100 Crushes, a compilation of five years worth of comics by Elisha Lim, is one of those books like Joe Brainard’s I Remember; it’s a deceptively simple, universally appealing idea that makes a reader think, I could do that. Or more accurately, why didn’t I do that? You can’t read Elisha Lim’s thoughtful portraits of people Lim’s had crushes on without wishing you too had kept some kind of record of those who slipped away, who yanked your heartstrings, grabbed your attention or focus or crotch. All those brief, unattainable or inappropriate infatuations that you none-the-less obsessed over–why didn’t you keep track of them? Can you even remember them now? (more…)

‘Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag’ by A.K. Summers

Posted on March 17, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

Lessons learned in Pregnant Butch: there are not nearly enough public toilets in New York City, suspenders are not a practical sartorial choice during pregnancy, and castor oil is just disgusting (and may not even induce labor). (more…)

‘Qu33r’ edited by Robert Kirby

Posted on February 2, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

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…)

‘Anything That Loves’ Edited by Charles “Zan” Christensen

Posted on January 5, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

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…)

‘The Lengths’ by Howard Hardiman

Posted on November 17, 2013 by in Comics, Illustrated

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…)

‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ by Julie Maroh

Posted on October 24, 2013 by in Comics, Illustrated

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: A Sex Education Comic Book’ by Saiya Miller and Liza Bley

Posted on September 12, 2013 by in Comics, Illustrated

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…)