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…)
Comics have expanded their turf way beyond the world of superheroes and the funny papers. Graphic novels have doubled the realms of fiction and memoir by adding pictorial storytelling, and non-fiction has been enriched by illustrations which can explain a topic in a way written words can’t. (more…)
Edie Fake is one of Chicago’s treasured artists. As a friendly face behind the counter at Quimby’s Bookstore, he’s known for supporting the city’s independent artists and writers. He encourages budding zinesters to consign their work, is a founding organizer of the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), and leads by example through his own artwork, including the award winning graphic novel Gaylord Phoenix. The city has embraced him, and rightfully so. (more…)
‘The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story’ by Vivek J. Tiwary with Illustrations by Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker
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, 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…)
Elizabeth Earley’s novel, A Map of Everything, which contains supplemental illustrations by artist Christa Donner, explores the aftermath of a tragedy and its effects on a family. The story is told in fragments, several of which focus on the experiences and whereabouts of the family’s five children, though the primary protagonist is Anne, the youngest. When Anne’s sister June is involved in a car accident that leaves her with severe physical disabilities as well as permanent traumatic brain injury, Anne begins down a path marked by neglect, self-destruction, abuse, and addiction. The novel not only pieces together a portrait of Anne and her family before and during the event, but shows their progression over the course of two decades, tracing the ways in which their lives continue to be affected by a single traumatic event.
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…)
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…)
‘The Lavender Menace: Tales of Queer Villainy!’ edited by Tom Cardamone and ‘Al-Qaeda’s Super Secret Weapon’ by Mohammed al–Muhammad Mohammed and Youssef Fakish
As lgbt superhero teams proliferate, it only makes sense to showcase lgbt villains too; this fun compilation of stories sets out to explore that concept. One standout story, Damon Shaw’s Light and Dark brilliantly portrays the colossal mess a superhero fight invokes (imagine blowing up the moon!). These tales feature superheroes and villains with especially imaginative super powers, like writer Rod. M Santos’ character Muse, whose power set is based on inspiring others. These stories are filled with sexiness, fun word play, and insider jokes that comic book readers will love. The introduction notes that all the writers are gay men, in order to explore a shared boys’ mythological world inspired by comics, D&D, and an awakening gay sexuality.
The Lavender Menace:Tales of Queer Villainy!
Edited by Tom Cardamone
Paperback, 9781938720222, 232 pp.
Al-Qaeda’s Super Secret Weapon
This well-drawn spoof is based on the premise that once the U.S. military has decided to openly accept lgbt soldiers, the best way for Al-Qaeda to infiltrate their enemies is to get super-sexy gay operatives drafted, and destroy the U.S. military morale with weapons of mass seduction. Readers might chuckle at the word play and sex-related jokes, unfortunately, there’s lots here that doesn’t work, from the offensive fake Arabic pen names, to the already dated feel of the premise and assumptions about gay, Arabic, and Muslim behavior.
Al-Qaeda’s Super Secret Weapon
By Mohammed al–Muhammad Mohammed & Youssef Fakish
Paperback, 9781938730391, 72 pp.
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…)