Media Relations / April 19, 2010 / costume fetishists and comics fans

Well ... the article winds up being a decent enough overview of the evolution of gay and lesbian superheroes in comics, and a little bit of gay and lesbian comics readers, but it certainly starts out ... oddly.

Gay Parties in New York Attract the Superhero Crowd -

DIM lighting. Rendezvous-friendly nooks. Muscled bartenders. Pulsating dance music. At first glance, it could be any Saturday night in any gay bar in New York.

But then you notice, off to one corner, Superman flirting with Green Lantern. And there, across the room, someone in the form-fitting outfit of Black Adam, Captain Marvel’s foe, determinedly working the floor. In fact, there seems to be an inordinate number of men here tonight who look as if they have all but jumped from the pages of a comic book. And in some way, they have.

This is Skin Tight U.S.A., the occasional costume-fetish party held at the Stonewall Inn in the West Village, which draws a regular group of men (and their admirers) who enjoy a special kind of dress-up. Some wear heroic outfits; some, wrestling gear. The crowd can range from 25 people on an average night to 250 on a spectacular one. The common thread is that the muscle-cuddling garb often leaves little to the imagination.

“I was always attracted to the superhero physique,” said Matthew Levine, 31, who helped found the party in 2005 with Andrew Owen, 44, and who was one of the few participants willing to be named. The two become friends as, respectively, the graphic designer and Webmaster for Hard Comixxx, a predecessor of Skin Tight, once held at the Eagle bar in Chelsea. Mr. Levine is a big fan of the X-Men (who have a handful of gay characters) and the Transformers (all of whom seem straight) and has been reading comics since he was 8. “As I got older,” he said, “I realized, ‘Oh, this is why I admire the Grecian ideal of manhood and musculature.’ ”

The Skin Tight party — in which the costumes range from the familiar (like Spider-Man) to ones that only a comics geek would recognize (like the 1993 version of Superboy) — is one way that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender comic book fans are expressing themselves today. They are coming out, loud and proud, in blogs, peer groups, Web comics and more, simultaneously pronouncing their sexual identity and their devotion to comic books. But it wasn’t that long ago that the environment was less than welcoming for those who wanted to make the two seemingly disparate worlds one.....

GLAAD has announced the winners of 24 of its 32 categories of awards, with the last eight awaiting the Los Angeles ceremony. And the winners are:

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) - 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards - New York:

Awards Presented on Stage
Outstanding Drama Series: Brothers and Sisters (ABC)
Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series: Prayers for Bobby (Lifetime)
Outstanding TV Journalism Segment: "Why Will Won't Pledge Allegiance", American Morning (CNN)
Outstanding Digital Journalism Article - Two-Way Tie:
- "'We Love You, This Won't Change a Thing'" by John Buccigross (
- "Why Can't You Just Butch Up? Gay Men, Effeminacy, and Our War with Ourselves" by Brent Hartinger (

Hartinger's article is a fascinating exploration of the love/hate relationship gay men have with visible effeminacy. Buccigross' story is very touching, and also a little heartbreaking; Brendan Burke died in a car accident about a month or so after the story was published.

Other English-Language Awards Announced in New York

* Outstanding Film-Limited Release: Little Ashes (Regent Releasing)
* Outstanding Individual Episode: "Pawnee Zoo" Parks and Recreation (NBC)
* Outstanding Daily Drama: One Life to Live (ABC)
* Outstanding Talk Show Episode: "Ellen DeGeneres and Her Wife, Portia de Rossi" The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)
* Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: "Uganda Be Kidding Me" (series) The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC)
* Outstanding Newspaper Article: "Kept From a Dying Partner's Bedside" by Tara Parker-Pope (The New York Times)
* Outstanding Newspaper Columnist: Frank Rich (The New York Times)
* Outstanding Newspaper Overall Coverage: The New York Times
* Outstanding Magazine Article: "Coming Out in Middle School" by Benoit Denizet-Lewis (The New York Times Magazine)
* Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage: The Advocate
* Outstanding Comic Book: Detective Comics by Greg Rucka (DC Comics)
* Outstanding New York Theater: Broadway & Off–Broadway: A Boy and His Soul by Colman Domingo
* Outstanding New York Theater: Off–Off Broadway: She Like Girls by Chisa Hutchinson

Benoit Denizet-Lewis' story was fascinating, if vaguely inconceivable back in my day. And, in one of those moments of clanging irony, One Life to Live had its award announced a couple of days after the producers announced that the gay storyline for which it won was being phased out. Apparently, they thought that the storyline had harmed the ratings. (The fact that they also dragged out the wretched and annoying Mitch Laurence storyline from mothballs at exactly the same time somehow doesn't get blamed. Only the gay guys in what was clearly a subsidiary storyline. Yes. Quite.)

And you know what? I'm not even going to snark about that comics award. Yes, Detective Comics comes from one of their beloved four mainstream publishers (DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse). Yes, Greg Rucka is, you know, a straight guy. It's also a superhero comic starring two lesbian leads, with gripping storylines. And it's bloody flippin' gorgeous to look at. (It's a bit of a pity that this seems to be only a writers award; I think that artist JH Williams III has had as much to do with the series' success as Rucka, frankly.) Doesn't mean that I don't think there were other titles out there worthy of consideration; just that, even allowing for GLAAD's relentlessly narrow parameters for consideration, this is a pretty good choice.

Spanish-Language Awards Announced in New York

* Outstanding Novela: Más Sabe el Diablo (Telemundo)
* Outstanding Daytime Talk Show Episode: "Adopción gay: un tema muy controversial" Paparazzi TV Sensacional (MegaTV)
* Outstanding Talk Show Interview: "Realidades de ser gay en la tercera edad" El Show de Cristina (Univision)
* Outstanding TV Journalism – Newsmagazine: TIE: "En el cuerpo equivocado" Primer Impacto (Univision) & "Damas gracias: Entrevista con Eva Leivas-Andino" Al Rojo Vivo (Telemundo)
* Outstanding Newspaper Article: "Mas familias de dos papás o dos mamas" by Pilar Marrero (La Opinión)
* Outstanding Magazine Article: "Del odio a la justicia" by Lena Hansen (People en Español)
* Outstanding Digital Journalism Article: "Saliendo del clóset: Cómo enfrentarlo en familia" by Fernanda Martínez (
So. GLAAD announced its media awards nominations for 2009 today, including, of course, the nominations for outstanding comic book. Let's remind everyone of the requirements for nomination, shall we? Let's shall?

GLAAD Media Awards Categories
Comic Book
Given to a comic book published by the four mainstream publishers and their subsidiary labels: Dark Horse, DC, Image, and Marvel. At GLAAD's discretion, a comic book from another publisher may be nominated if the book achieves a level of visibility and impact similar to a mainstream publisher. The comic book may be nominated for an individual issue, a story arc or a recurring LGBT character. Receives Award: Award is given to the comic book. Writer, artist and/or editor may accept.

Insert teeth-grinding at GLAAD's stupid limitations here. And ... OK, we're done. Moving on.

Actually, allowing for GLAAD's corporatist bent and the actual purpose of the awards ... I don't hate these nominations. In fact, it's really a pretty good lot. (I know! I'd never have thought I'd say that either!)

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) - 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards - English-Language Nominees: Outstanding Comic Book
Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Jane Espenson, Steven S. DeKnight, Drew Z. Greenberg, Jim Krueger, Doug Petrie, Joss Whedon (Dark Horse Comics)
Detective Comics by Greg Rucka (DC Comics)
Madame Xanadu by Matt Wagner (Vertigo/DC Comics)
Secret Six by Gail Simone (DC Comics)
X-Factor by Peter David (Marvel Comics)

Given that particular group of nominees, I suspect it will come down to Detective vs X-Factor. And I can't say as I'd argue with that, either. (I think the Rucka/Williams run on Detective was perhaps the best thing I read in comics last year, period. It certainly was the most gorgeous.) Mind, that does have one caveat: I don't read Marvel, so I don't read X-Factor. That said, its nomination makes perfectly good sense; the reason it might beat out Detective is because Rob Liefeld, the creator of the characters, who hasn't written them in several years, had a very public hissyfit at the very notion that the character could be gay. If GLAAD can't resist the opportunity to thumb their nose at him while rewarding what seems to have been good writing ... well, I certainly couldn't blame them. (For what it's worth, Peter David and Rob Liefeld have an ... interesting back and forth in the comments thread in the latter article.) Detective is the only comic from any of the Big Four featuring two lesbian lead characters, Kate Kane's Batwoman in the main story and Renee Montoya's The Question in the backup. I only read Secret Six in trade, so I'm not sure what the storylines there were -- although reading Blackest Night: Suicide Squad, which involves the Secret Six, certainly lets one know that Scandal is still most definitely interested in the women -- and Madame Xanadu had one arc featuring a lesbian relationship (granted, involving the main character). And Buffy had Willow, whose relationship with Kennedy became more prominent this year; I don't remember if the whole "Buffy having a lesbian moment" thing was this year or last.

As for the other categories ... well, it's an interesting batch. I didn't see or even hear of a lot of the films that were nominated in the small film category. The television categories are pretty standard, on the whole, with not that much unexpected. I do hope "One Life to Live" wins the daytime drama award. (...Oh, hush already! It's fun! And the Oliver/Kyle/Kris storyline was actually surprisingly well handled -- by which I mean that the coming-out part was really well done, and the romance part was treated pretty much exactly like they treated the straight romances that were going on at the same time. Though I do think Kyle's candle thing was a little ... odd. And that's independent of Amelia's storyline, which was brief but weirdly awesome. But I digress.) The startling thing is that "RuPaul's Drag Race" actually made it for Outstanding Reality Program; a gay program on a gay network nominated for a GLAAD award! Imagine that! (...OK, I'll stop now. Maybe.) And I somehow thought that ABC Family's "Greek" was a drama, and not a comedy. (And look! "Beautiful People" from Logo! Another gay show from a gay network! Good heavens! ... OK, now I'll stop.) In any event, I don't expect that the rest of the category has much chance against "Glee", which seems to have all sorts of momentum these days.

The journalism nominations look very solid. I've actually read or seen most of the stuff nominated -- how on earth did that happen? -- and I can't really argue with much of it.

I do wish that the nominations page had more (or, well, any) links to the nominated items or websites, where possible. But that's a technical quibble.
World's Finest #2 (Sterling Gates/Ramon Bachs/Rodney Ramos; DC)
Many a long year ago, I saw this movie based on the TV series Dragnet. The movie featured Dan Ackroyd and an up-and-coming(ish) Tom Hanks, along with Ally Sheedy, playing Connie Swale, a person whom Ackroyd's Joe Friday Jr and Tom Hanks' character need to protect. Friday winds up introducing her to his mother with a line something like, "Mom, this is the virgin Connie Swale." His mother responts with a very fixed smile, saying, "...You're joking." If you have ever read Superman/Batman: Public Enemies, or seen the recent animated film made from that story, then when you reach the end of this issue, you're going to have the exact same expression on your face, and the exact same phrase running through your head. (And no, I can't be more specific than that.)

The general shape of this edition of World's Finest seems to be to show a type of Superman/Batman adventure, entirely eithout either Superman or Batman. Instead, we get a Superman/Batman adventure filtered through their sidekicks -- or, more correctly, through their affiliates, since Superman can't reasonably be said to have sidekicks, and three of the four Bat people we're going to get are only somewhat affliated with the Bat currently, although all of them have been closer than they are now. Which makes the revelation of the broader story at work make a great deal of sense.

As far as the story goes, it's interesting enough. The Guardian (apparently no longer limited to Mahnattan) and Damian's Robin team up -- if that's quite the right word for it -- to thwart a plot by Dr Freeze and Parasyte. The plot itself is very lean, allowing the story to focus on the characters' interaction. The Guardian treats Damian like a snot-nosed upstart, refusing to call him "Robin" because he feels that it's a title you have to earn. (One wonders how he feels about the new Batman.) Damian, rather understandably, does not take this terribly well. It's very good character work. But still, almost all of that gets swamped by the last page revelation of ... well. Like I said, fixed smile and "you're joking" just about covers it.
Good; Recommended.

The Web #3 (Angela Robinson/Roger Robinson/Hilary Barta and Walden Wong; DC)
"Spinning the Future, part 3", in which the Web's roast chickens come home to roost, and he gets lodged firmly within the Bat corner of the DC universe. And, really, pretty much anyone with a quarter of a functioning brain cell could have told the Web that franchising his suit and his powers would not work out well. In fact, it works out Very Badly Indeed. Badly enough that he gets a visit from the Oracle and Batgirl, telling him to cease and desist. He doesn't, quite, but he gets close enough that Oracle significantly upgrades his computer capacity -- while also landing him with all sorts of spyware and the like that he seems not to know about. (Which, seriously, if he really doesn't know about or expect exactly that outcome, the man is too stupid to do what he does. Which he very well may be. The software also contains a rather painful, if alarmingly functional, version of Facebook.) The Web also winds up getting exactly what he thinks he wants, only to discover that it may not be quite what it appears to be. In the backup story, "The Hangman: The roar of the sea" (John Rozum/Tom Derenick/Bill Sienkiewicz), The Hangman investigates the unusual occurence of a person that appears to have drowned in a flood in the middle of dry land.
Good; Recommended

Detective Comics #859 (Rucka/Williams III, with "special thanks to 1Lt Daniel Choi for his generous assistance in research for this issue"; DC)
"Go, part 2: Seven Years Ago", in which we catch up with Kate several years after the attack in London, as a cadet at West Point. And pretty much the first thing she does is almost alarmingly stupid; we see her kissing her then-girlfriend while still apparently on the West Point campus grounds, out in the open. This, not surprisingly, results in her being called up on charges for a violation of the military code -- though, interestingly, her girlfriend is quite specifically not charged -- and as Kate refuses to lie, she's summarily drummed out of the army. We also see her telling her father -- and his reaction, frankly, is really wonderful (though his choice in engagement rings for his new fiancee turns out to be utterly misguided, though that's a side point).

We also see Kate's first meeting and subsequent relationship with Renee Montoya back in her pre-question days -- They meet very very cute -- as well as the issues that drove them apart. Interspersed through this story is Kate dealing with the apostates from the Religion of Crime, realizing that the prophecy was in fact very specific about what they were looking for, while seeming to be very confusing, and getting her blood and Alice's tested to see if her sister really was still alive. And finally, we see some of what inspired Kate along her current path. Overall, it's a very interesting story, although her inspiration to become Batwoman seems a bit ... shallow, honestly. Or if not precisely shallow, then at least not very well considered.

As usual, Williams' artwork is superb. The really fascinating moment comes when we see, graphically, the situation that partially inspired Kate to become Batwoman; the artwork goes slightly toward the unusual layouts that characterize the modern part of the story ... but only slightly, showing that the decision hasn't quite been made yet.

In the backup story, "Pipeline, Chapter 2" (Rucka/C. Hamner), Montoya starts investigating the bacground of the human trafficking group that she broke up the previous issue. She quickly discovers that it's a much bigger thing that it first appeared, and calls in the Huntress to help her. (Huntress, for whatever reason, has gone back to the costume that doesn't make her look like a stripper in waiting, which is appreciated.) Again, the brevity of the chapter makes it a bit frustrating; just when things get going good, it's over. The battle sequence is kind of awesome, though. Hamner does very good work, as usual; the last page is oddly much more stylized than what comes before -- though with that villain, I suppose you have to go for some sort of stylization.
Very Good; Highly Recommended

Madame Xanadu #17 (Matt Wagner/Amy Reeder Hadley/Richard Friend)
"Broken House of Cards, chapter 2: Popular Satanics"
In which Madame Xanadu winds up investigating a suburban Satanic circle wanna-be group, in her quest to help Elizabeth Reynolds, whose body is doing some really alarming things beyond her control. (The plagues of insects coming from her mouth would be the most appalling, I'd think.) She also runs into another detective -- not for a wonder, the Phantom Stranger -- who seems to be somebody that we're supposed to know, but who just isn't that familiar to me. In the end, the villain stands revealed, along with the reason that Madame's working ... well, didn't work. I have to admit, I really do enjoy how Wagner has taken this character out of the DCU and made her work on her own.
Good; recommended
So, yeah, you remember that list that I was going to do way way way way back when of interesting queer comics of 2008? Well, here it is! Finally! Only a few months late!

(NB: the link to Media Relations is included below purely for the sake of completeness; the article is posted here and in its entirety.)

Media Relations: the fun queer comics of 2008: the honorably mentioned

Looking back at notable queer comics published, either in print or on the web, in 2008. The criteria for "queer" is relatively loose, but relates only to content: some sort of relevant appearance by/use of queer characters and themes -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenter, etc. It had to mean something to the story, but it didn't have to be about any given queer aspect. It didn't have to be about coming out, or angsting over being or not being gay, or anything like that. As you'll see, the main characters didn't need to be the ones who were themselves queer. And people didn't have to be uplifting or relentlessly honorable -- some of them are not at all nice.

For this first part, we have the honorable mentions, or, Stuff that didn't make the main final list, but is still worth a look:

Adam and Andy by James Asal:

As the title states, it's about Adam and Andy, long time partners (... Who may have last names, but I don't have the slightest idea what they are.) They have a house in the suburbs (...I think), and seem to be living the gay American Dream. We see them at work, at home, at play, their friends and neighbors. We see how they've been changing -- one of the running jokes is about how they're no longer the hardbodies they used to be, despite the workout equipment in the basement. It's a sweet, gentle story.

Structurally, more or less a weekly gag strip. Asal's been expanding the strip in different directions over the past year, so the story has been flexing and changing quite a lot. Updated weekly, the continuing storylines move veeeerrrry sloooooowly. It's fun and it's a good read, it just takes a while to get where it's going. It's not terribly difficult to keep track, in part because Asal has relatively few characters and keeps the focus on an individual storyline until it's run its course. (That said, long-running storylines per se are a fairly new thing to this particular strip.)

The Alcoholic (Jonathan Ames/Dean Haspiel; DC/Vertigo)
In which we learn about the life and times of Jonathan A, who may or may not be Ames. It's basically the story of A's life in alcoholic fits and starts. We start in 2001, where A comes out of an alcohol blackout in a car with a much older woman, with whom he may or may not have had sex. We then flash back to the beginning of his drinking days as a teenager, when he used to hang out with his best friend Sal. They loved each other, in that intense and romantic way that adolescents do, and eventually more or less accidentally have sex with each other. Unfortunately, it seems to throw both of them off balance; Sal reacts by pushing A to the margins of his life, and A reacts by drinking to bury the pain of being pushed away from his closest friend. And somehow ... he just never really stops drinking. He goes into rehab, but that doesn't quite stick. He has some spectacularly disastrous relationships with women -- there was never any particular doubt that he's more or less straight, after a certain amount of understandable early floundering. And eventually -- far too late -- he meets Sal again, under some very changed circumstances. But this isn't a story about that meeting, particularly; that's just one event in a very appallingly eventful life. It's really the story of A and his addiction to alcohol -- and later, other drugs -- and how that wreaks havoc on the rest of his life.

I really love Haspiel's art. It's a bit less angular, I think, than his style for his Billy Dogma stories, and a bit more detailed. There are places where I'm not entirely sure it's a fit for the story as a whole -- frankly, there are several times where it seems more interesting and dynamic than the story it's helping to tell.

As a whole, The Alcoholic is an interesting story of a life gone out of balance. It does leave you wondering if A can ever permanently dig himself out of the morass he's made for himself ... and, to the extent that A is or is not based on Ames himself, how much of all of that really happened.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Various writers and artists; Dark Horse)
I actually thought the storyline in which Buffy winds up sleeping with Satsu was pretty well handled. Buffy tried to avoid her, knowing that Satsu was quietly in love with her and that she couldn't return Satsu's feelings, but then winds up falling into bed with her mostly because she's desperately lonely, and Satsu cares. Given that she got involved with Spike, who should have been staked seasons ago, and with Riley who got himself involved with vampires, a one-night stand with Satsu really barely registers on Buffy's bad romantic/sexual decisions index. And the part where they decide not to tell anyone, followed almost immediately by a parade of people with urgent business coming into Buffy's bedroom, was well-done comedy. The part where Willow grilled Satsu on Buffy's bedroom skills, not so much. Satsu eventually -- eventually -- winds up coming out of the relationship just fine, once she accepts that she and Buffy Will Never Be.

In more fun tales of lesbians elsewhere, we discover that we haven't seen Kennedy because Willow's been trying to keep her out of the way, someplace where she won't get captured or killed ... well, on the one hand, given Willow's romantic history, it's understandable. On the other, given that Kennedy's a slayer who was in on the last apocalypse, it's kind of unbelievable, as well, both that Willow would do that, and that Kennedy would tolerate it as long as she does. So something good, something not so good, but as a whole, still noteworthy.

Kyle's Bed and Breakfast by Greg Fox:
basically a soap opera, telling us of the lives of the many people who flow in and out of Kyle's Bed and Breakfast. I really like this strip. It has a fairly diverse cast, and the artwork is generally very good -- though the art can get a bit strange. (Seriously, this strip just looks odd. Breyer's not-really-sleeping position looks weirdly stiff -- though I think that may be deliberate -- and in the final frame, his head looks like it's about to come right off. I'd also note that the entire strip is about an argument that we never saw, which is awkward storytelling for characters you don't see that often.)

The comic updates once every two weeks, more or less, and it's got a cast far too large for its update frequency. (Understand that I am not saying, "Oh, woe is we! Why doesn't he do that five days a week? Then we could have all the comic goodness we want!" Seriously, the guy's got a life, and this don't pay the bills. I get that, really.) The cast page doesn't include most of the characters and the older archives were taken offline to put into the book, so you have no real way of figuring out who people are in context, no way to quickly remember, "Oh, yeah, that's how the guy in the wheelchair came into the story." Especially given that it does take place in a bed and breakfast -- you have both a certain amount of regular cast, but also a reasonably high rate of turnover, because that's what a B&B does -- it can be very difficult to figure out who's connected to who, who's permanent and who's a guest, what the heck is going on, and who is that guy in the green sweater on the far right, anyway?

Punch an' Pie by Aeire and Chris Daily:
I wanted to include this one on the main list, so, so much. I really like this series, primarily about a young woman learning to be on her own and her varied and sundry friends and their lives. But ... but there really wasn't any technically appropriate content in 2008. In 2007, yes. That year, Angela and Heather had a relationship that eventually came a-cropper over Angela's persistent and unwarranted jealousy issues. In 2008, however, while neither of them was precisely over the relationship, they didn't really gotten involved with anyone else, either; the storyline focused on friends and jobs and other things. They're just getting on with the rest of their lives. Plus, to the extent that anything seems to be happening, Heather's had a couple of apparent rebound flings with Aiden, which is, you know, all heterosexual and stuff.

Shortpacked by David Willis:
fun and wacky hijinx of a retail toy store, featuring a gay guy who only figured that out a couple of years ago, the virgin and "my lesbian", and an apparently bisexual asshole. Oh, and Faz. It's fun to read, it's just ... well. One could send the "Mike sleeps with everyone for revenge over uncommitted slights" storyline to GLAAD and watch their heads explode. (Oh, the temptation...) And yet ... it does have its weirdly sweet moments, every now and again. Of course, they never end well...

Sleazy Pizza (Ryan Roman;; adult and NSFW due to depictions of sex and nudity)

Originally, I was going to put this on the main list. I really do think it's a facinating, trippy, well-drawn comic. That said, it's hard to disagree with the author's assertion that it became "chaotic and disjointed" near the end of what I think of as the first volume. (I liked it anyway. In part because I just plain like Roman's artwork, but in part because I wanted to see where he was going to take it next, and how it could possibly work.)

Sleazy Pizza tells the story of Nolan and J.J., starcrossed lovers if ever there were any. Though it doesn't seem that way at first. They find each other, they start a relationship ... and then it goes bad, and they break up. Nolan realizes that he's made a horrible mistake and tries to find J.J. again, but all of J.J's friends are hiding him from Nolan. Eventually, Nolan gets someone to tell him where to find J.J. -- at a certain cost to Nolan and the other guy both -- and their relationship begins again. And then it suddenly veers and turns into a sort of sequel to Roman's earlier comic "Kid Zero". ("Kid Zero" has the most fascinatingly grand guignol ending -- and middling and occasional other goriness -- of a superhero comic that I've ever seen. I'd link to the ending, but unfortunately, it's on act-i-vate's livejournal site, and act-i-vate's LJ archive is a mess. This is the last part I can find, with links to all the earlier parts, but I'm not sure it's the actual end, as I remember it. But I digress.)

Seriously, though, some of the places where you can see it kind of heading into odd territory are really interesting and well-done. You even got occational outbreaks of Meat Loaf, sort of. Any road, Roman seems to be reeling the comic back in -- sort of -- with the current volume, and, weirdly, has maintained the fascinatingly trippy tone even though the story is more grounded so far. The current volume seems to be about actions that have consequences, even though you may not have been in full control of your actions at the time. It'll be interesting to see where it goes.

Coming up next: the main list! (Do not even think about asking when "next" is.)
Information about the New York ceremonies (first of three -- insert eyeroll ... here) can be found at at the bottom of this post on the GLAAD website. I'm glad to see that Suze Orman, Noah's Arc and LZ Granderson won awards. Most of the film and television awards still remain to be announced. The Los Angeles ceremonies promise to be positively littered with celebrities. I will admit that I'll be astonished if anything but Milk wins the best film award. I'm also a bit puzzled at East Side Story being in this year's television awards, since I first saw it in a theater -- admittedly, at a film festival -- two years ago, in a slightly different form.

Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources - Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment » Buffy the Vampire Slayer wins GLAAD award:
Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer has received a GLAAD Media Award honoring its representation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The 20th annual Media Awards were presented Sunday at a ceremony in New York City.

The award lists Drew Goddard, Jeph Loeb and Joss Whedon, who wrote the 2008 stories “Anywhere But Here,” “A Beautiful Sunset,” “Wolves at the Gate,” “Time of Your Life,” and “After These Messages … We’ll Be Right Back.” The artists were Georges Jeanty, Karl Moline, Cliff Richards and Eric Wight.

Other nominees in the comic-book category were: The Alcoholic (DC Comics/Vertigo), Final Crisis: Revelations (DC Comics), Secret Six (DC Comics), and Young Avengers Presents (Marvel).

Given the nominees, probably the best of the choices for this category. Which reminds me...
Originally published 15 July 1999 in a slightly different version; content has been edited to remove dated references and links

Bread and Wine: an erotic tale of New York
story by Samuel Delany; art by Mia Wolff
Juno Books (March 1, 1999)
80 p.
$14.99, if you can find it.

I've just been reading the most remarkable book.

Comic book, actually.

Samuel Delany is an author of many acclaimed works, in several genres, including science fiction, biography and essays, among others. He also happens to be gay and black.

Bread and Wine: an erotic tale of New York constitutes the most recently published chapter of Samuel Delany's autobiography, published as a full graphic biography, rather than as a prose book. Of course biographies frequently have photos, pictures, other things, but these are always either publicity photos, or other things that are somehow public moments, family photos or school photographs and the like. Oh, maybe your mother delights in showing that picture of you running naked down the street when you were two, or maybe you're having a bad hair day in that picture, or you've got teminal red-eye, but still and all, those photographs, even the very personal ones, are still somehow of public moments. Sometime when others were looking at you.

The drawings in this book are frequently of much more intimate moments.

page from Bread and Wine

The general synopsis of it would be: college professor meets and befriends homeless man and they eventually become lovers. But the synopsis would leave out just about everything important: the feel of the book, how well the emotions come through.

Delany notes that his publisher didn't quite understand why he wanted to make it into a comic book. I confess, in some ways, it does seem like an odd choice. However, there are moments illustrated in this book--moments where, one assumes, no photographs exist or would exist--that somehow gain power from being forced to see them in exactly the way that the author sees them. (Or rather, the artist's rendering of the author's memories, but still, I think it works out the same way.) Some of the drawings are thoroughly surreal, as in Dennis' (the homeless man) view of Central Park. Some of them are fairly straightforward. There's also the plain fact that a straight-ahead prose retelling of just the time when he met and fell in love with Dennis would be, frankly, terribly short.

What startled me, what seems to be the most powerful, were the moments showing him and Dennis when they first go to a hotel, when they first make love. I mean, in a more conventional autobiography might have used the same words he used to describe it, but your concept of what Dennis looked like, what the bath was like -- Dennis, having been homeless and on the street for a while, was staggeringly filthy -- it would all have been more of a hybrid of what you brought to it and what he gave you. Doing it this way forces what he gives you and your impressions into consonance in a way that simply might not happen.

The book is, as noted, billed as an erotic tale, and there's certainly sex in it, but it's not simply erotic as in "boy, that gets my engine running!" It's erotic as in, it's a love story with sex in it.

Another odd bit is the interview at the end, where the artist, Delany, Dennis, and Delany's now-adult daughter talk about the book, and what some of the events were like, how their memories differ. That's when you realize that his daughter has actually read this, that she's seen those drawings of her father and his lover together. It's a very strange moment for the reader; I can't imagine how strange it would have been for his daughter.

For those of you who might have read Delany's The Mad Man, reading this will bring one of those great moments of enlightenment, when you realize where at least some of it came from. (I don't know if all of it came from this relationship, and I don't want to know, thank you very much. I don't know how much his life informed his writing in that case.)

I suppose, if I were talking about this to someone (as I guess I may be, right?) I'd say: I recommend it, but know that you may not actually like it. It's fascinating and it's interesting, and if you like Delany and his work, it's certainly illuminating.

At the recent 2008 Reeling Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival, I saw a screening of The Polymath, or the Life and Opinions of Samuel R. Delany, Gentleman (I'll note that the Frameline site has a better description; "highly sexually active", inDEED!). A short clip from the documentary is available at the filmmaker's website (NOT WORKSAFE! NOT EVEN VAGUELY WORK SAFE AUDIO! ... unless your workplace is entirely comfortable with hearing a gentleman talk about the perigrinations of his sex life, in which case, go right ahead!) As far as I could tell, the relationship in Bread and Wine is never explicitly referenced, though there may be some more oblique mentions.
Comics Should Be Good! » A Month of Good LGBT Comics Archive

So far, they've got a very interesting list. Oddly enough, I've only reviewed one of the items previously, although I've read most of them.

I meant to do a big Year in Gay Comix entry last year, to match the SH "Fun Stuff What I Read Last Year" entry, but somehow never got around to it. Maybe I'll just try to do a one-at-a time retrospective entry, like theirs. (Hey, I'm not at all averse to stealing ... er, that is, creatively adapting very good ideas.)
Interesting things afoot.
Showtime enlists gay superhero - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety:
Showtime is developing an hourlong project from comicbook icon Stan Lee that tracks the life of a gay superhero. Project is being exec produced by Lee and the president and CEO of his Pow! Entertainment banner, Gill Champion. Story, which focuses on an up-and-coming superhero who struggles to hide his secret identities, is based on the book "Hero" by Perry Moore. Moore is penning the script and also exec producing along with Hunter Hill.

Previous series television produced by Lee includes whimsical reality-competish skein "Who Wants to Be a Superhero?," which ran on the Sci Fi Channel from 2005-07. The comicbook maven is in development on several features for Paramount, including "Thor," "The First Avenger: Captain America" and a sequel to last summer's "Iron Man." Project joins more than a half-dozen others in development at Showtime, including a series retelling of "Camelot" from "Tudors" creatives Michael Hirst and Morgan O'Sullivan.

I'd heard about this, but I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen. Showtime is probably the right place for it, either that or HBO, since that will allow them not to pussyfoot around more adult themes the way, say, NBC's Heroes would have to. (If it were telling stories relatable to anything remotely resembling a human being these days, which it isn't, but that's a story for another rant.) I have to admit to being fascinated to see how Stan Lee is going to develop this. (And, as a side note, it's interesting to get confirmation of the apparent cancellation of SciFi's "Who Wants to Be A Superhero", albeit in an impressively backdoor sort of way.) I suppose Showtime is going to use it as their Big Gay Series centerpiece for the near future, replacing "The L Word" which replaced "Queer as Folk", which followed, many many years later, Showtime's comedy series "Brothers".

HBO orders fantasy pilot 'Thrones'
(the Live Feed, November 11, 2008)

HBO has given a pilot order to fantasy project "Game of Thrones." The program is based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling series of novels "A Song of Fire & Ice" and executive produced by David Benioff ("Troy"), D.B. Weiss ("Halo") and Guymon Casady ("Hope & Faith"). The title “Game of Thrones” is from the first novel in the series.

If greenlit, “Thrones” would represent the rarest of TV genres: a full-fledged fantasy series. Though broadcasters have embraced sci-fi-tinged shows in recent years following the success of ABC’s “Lost” and NBC’s “Heroes,” and supernatural themes have been given a spin by CW’s “Supernatural” and HBO’s own “True Blood,” high fantasy is nearly nonexistent in primetime TV history -- and “Thrones” is an unabashed member of the genre. The books have swords, dragons, magic, the works. “Fantasy is the most successful genre in terms of feature films given the incredible popularity of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and Harry Potter movies,” Benioff said. “High fantasy has never been done on TV before and if anybody can do it, it’s HBO. They’ve taken tired genres and reinvented them -- mobsters in ‘The Sopranos’ and Westerns with ‘Deadwood.’”

The cost of producing a fantasy series is usually a big factor that deters networks. The producers note “Thrones” is written as a character drama and major battles often take place off stage. “It’s not a story with a million orcs charging across the plains,” Weiss said. “The most expensive effects are creature effects and there’s not much of that.”

Martin plans seven books in the series. The producers intend for each season to span one novel. But before the series can get on the air, the producers first have to slay a more formidable threat than any dragon: pilot competitors. HBO has 10 other pilots in contention for series orders. Though the network declines to project how many shows will receive an order since HBO doesn’t need to fill a specific number of time-periods like broadcasters, at least six are expected to get a pickup.


OK, look. I know that there are billyuns upon billyuns of people out there who think this series is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I mean, hey, five books in the series to date, I think, and they all sell well. Nonetheless, A Game of Thrones remains one of only four books I have ever thrown, or wanted to throw, across a room. (I heard it as an audiobook, which may have contributed to my dislike of it. Not only was there the strange skeeviness of having Roy Dotrice precisely narrate unexpected sex scenes into my brain, but the inconsistent characterization and plotting drove me mental, and since it was an audiobook, I couldn't skim to get the gist without absorbing all the maddening detail.) The characters were actually well delineated, but then they would do clearly plot-driven things that were entirely against the character as established to that point -- in at least one case, within pages of arguing against precisely that sort of action with someone else. It also, for me, ran into a very common problem with very big fantasy books -- and this is entirely idiosyncratic and not really a knock against the book -- that he kept needing to spend time, for story purposes, with characters about whom I cared not even a little. But you'd have to go through all this stuff with these people, because it was going to be important later, and it would be important later, but it was still aggravating.

Given that they're probably going to have only 7-13 hours worth of television to give the story per season, I hope that HBO can make it work better. They'll certainly need to cut out quite a lot, so that should streamline the story, hopefully not overemphasizing the action at the expense of the character development. I'd like to see an interesting costume drama where I don't have a parallel track in my head about what really should be happening. I mean, don't get me wrong, Showtime's "The Tudors" is sexy anachronistic popcorn fun, but even apart from the fact that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers does not look remotely like the historical Henry, I actually studied a bit of Tudor-era history, so I keep getting jarred out of the show by knowing that particular events simply did not happen as shown. But I digress.
You know ...this would actually kind of ... work. "Ragdoll" for childhood. (Oh. Er ... OK, perhaps not for childhood. Maybe for the unfortunate things that happen before the next song.) "Janie's got a gun" for a really harsh adolescence. A medley of "Dream On" and "Pink" for a burgeoning realization; perhaps the first act close. "Livin on the Edge" for that first disillusioning trip to the Big City. "Crazy" and "Fallin' in Love (is hard on the knees)" as the great declarative love songs. "Fly Away from Here" for when harsh reality fought back. And, of course, the title song for the big second act close production number.

If it's true, that's just goddamn depressing.


That's the question, you know. If this is actually true, how many people would still want to go?

This here comic is in reference to the artist's first sighting of this here building. Can't say I disagree all that much. " The design concept is based on the globe, broken into three fragments to depict the shattering effect of war on the history of the world. These three fragments, or "shards", are structurally interlocked to represent world conflict on land, water and in the air." ...All-righty, then!

THAT is worse than a pirate buggerer? Well, who knew? (...OK, almost everyone. But still.)

The Dark Knight is getting a certain amount of commentary about the violence inherent in the execution of this concept. Sometimes very odd comentary. (Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike this. Or possibly this, either. Or maybe even this. Or just maybe this. Or even this one. Or even this one. There's a whole lotta Dark Knight going on is what I'm saying.)

Somehow, I'm pretty sure that the even less PC meaning was what was being referenced. (See comment below strip.)

Hmm. Well, that was unexpected. As was this.

And in conclusion, first read this article from Newsweek. Then start here and read the next six strips. (For extra credit, you can also hit up the last item in Savage Love podcast 91.) Any questions?
So this and this all turned out to be over this. I think I'd love Charlie's mother, too.

"Probably", inDEED. This is distinctly not where I was expecting this story arc to go. (Actually, "probably" not. Just ask Dan Savage! or rather ask the person who wrote to Dan in a VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK LETTER)

Awww... No, really, Awww...



Well, that's certainly a very vivid dream. Very.

...No. Just ... no.

Yes, it DOES! IT DOES! Fear the email! FEAR IT!

But all the best people are, too!

Today's title quote from an old Lily Tomlin routine, if you were wondering. From "Appearing Nitely," I believe.
Yes, I'm beating a dead horse.

No, it's not the dead horse you think it is. Or not just that particular dead horse, anyway.

And it's entirely not my fault! Really! You'll see!

Today's reviews include: Batman, All-Star Superman, Boy Meets Hero, Corridor and others, including the one which inspired today's title.

By the by, being told that you have by far the most esoteric pull list in the store is quite the experience. Consider that a warning...

Batman 677 (Morrison/Daniel; DC): In which the Black Glove unleashes its attack on Bruce, and Jezebel Jet tries to get Bruce to see what she thinks is reason. Honestly, the story as a whole baffles me a bit, in part because there are gaps in my Batman knowledge. For example, when did Gordon come back to be Commissioner again? The last I heard, he'd retired, went off somewhere, divers villains killed his new wife and he moved back to Gotham, but that other guy was still commissioner during the Gotham Central days ... and even in DC time, he's getting quite long in the tooth to be commissioner again/still. The Black Glove also clearly knows that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person. They set out to destroy not only Bruce Wayne, but Thomas Wayne and Alfred, of all people, knowing that if they strike at Bruce's identity and the one anchor in his world, they might be able to break him psychologically. In the meantime, Jezebel Jet begins to realize just who it is that she's fallen in love with, and all that it means. Of course, the structural problem with this story remains: we still don't have any reason to care about Jezebel Jet, and no reason to care what she thinks. We know both that she's quite right -- Bruce is obviously a few bats short of a full belfry -- and that it doesn't matter. After all, he couldn't function if he were sane, now could he? In any event, it builds to a compelling and interestingly gory end. The art's OK, although there's a moment of problematic artwork, when Alfred expresses concern over a wound he couldn't possibly have seen -- at this point, as weird as the second half of the issue wound up being, I wonder if maybe that was also A Clew, or if it was just bad art. Anyway, just OK; I'll still hang around to see what happens next.

All Star Superman 11 (Morrison/Quitely/Grant; DC): The first page is maybe the most awesome Superman page I've ever seen, even if you absolutely know that it's not going to stick. The second page is also terrifyingly awesome. And then you hit the middle of the story, in which the clearly unwell Superman sums up his life for himself and his robot, and in which Luthor makes his plans. And then superman battles Solaris, knowing full well that he's one of Luthor's allies. There's the rather peculiar moment when one of the Superman robots insists he must atone for a mistake, and the rather peculiar moment when Solaris starts speaking binary--I thought it was supposed to be alive. And then, of course, that final, awesome, peculiarly iconic final image. Honestly, the middle of the story is perfectly serviceable, if maybe that's all it is; the problem is that it comes after those very very good first two pages, and you can't live up to a beginning like that. The story does tie together what had seemed to be random strands from the earlier issues, such as Superman's new powers that have been referenced but never really seen, and the robots, and Luthor in prison. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens in the last issue, which I assume will be out ... someday. (Seriously, when DC rethinks the All-Star line, which they are allegedly doing, the one thing they need to focus on, aside from getting interesting stories, is timely delivery.)

Aletheia 1 (Bob LeFevre; Image): The story starts with the origin of the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, collectively known as Aletheia (the truth). Them we zip to Olympia, Washington, where we see a young black woman with purple-wrapped dreds working on her motorcycle. Judging from the license plate, her name is Thea. She gets a call from her boyfriend and decides to head to his place -- at which point all Hades breaks loose. And also all Zeus and Poseidon, as well. The Greek gods manifest on this plane of existence, after a very long time away, and immediately they notice Thea, who is apparently the "Formerly departed." The formerly departed whom, they do not say. Thea evades the attacks of the gods and reaches her boyfriend's apartment (or her biggest fan's apartment, as she describes him, which opens the question of why she'd have fans), only to discover that he's been attacked, and he dies in her arms. Then the gods and their agent, whoever the brown thing is, attack her again, and then ... something happens. I'm not trying to be coy -- although, given that it's the ending of the issue, I should -- but I simply have not the slightest idea what she does. On the one hand ... I do like the story well enough to see what happens next. On the other, the story is perhaps not well served by its highly stylized art -- as I say, I really don't have a clue what happens in the last four pages. I hope LeFevre gets rid of most of that clearly deliberately ponderous narration for the next issues. It sets the mood and is well used in the beginning, but during the chase and in the boyfriend's apartment building, it just gets in the way and annoys. Having set up the big emotional moment, you need to trust the reader to know when it arrives. All that said, I'm curious enough to stick around for at least the next issue; I'd really like to know who she is and why the gods are so afraid of her when she quite clearly has no idea. Recommended.

Dan Dare 6 of 7 (Ennis/Erskine; Virgin): I have to admit, Ennis kind of astounds me from time to time. His bread and butter is stuff like Punisher or The Boys or Chronicles of Wormwood, titles clearly meant for adults, dealing with sex and violence and being exuberantly foul-mouthed. And then he comes out with something like Dan Dare, which I wouldn't hesitate to give to give to, say, a kid maybe 10, 12 years old, real boys-own adventure stuff, fun (if somewhat violent but surprisingly lacking in grue) space opera. Anyway, in this penultimate adventure, Dare gets rescued (of course), with everything going more or less as planned. The Mekon expresses his displeasure with his people in ways that ensure that one of the planets develops, at least temporarily, a thoroughly gruesome ring. And then the final confrontation commences. These are all -- well, except for that second thing -- thoroughly obvious beats that had to be hit in this story. It would not, after all, do to have Dare expire before the last issue of his own title, and there is also a last issue to come. (I think at some point this series might have expanded a bit; I'd have sworn that it was solicited as a six-issue mini, and now not only is it seven issues, but the last is to be double-sized.) To be sure, after the rescue, this issue is mostly, but not entirely, marking time; the "not entirely" bits are thoroughly entertaining. Really, the whole thing is just an amazing amount of fun. Buy all the issues, then find a kid and give something to read. And, really, who'd think you'd say something like that about recent Ennis work?

Beyond (Deepak Chopra/Ron Marz/Edison George): We start with a man pushing through a crowd going the other way. Behind him, the dome of the Taj Mahal has been blown up. He walks past television where we see something in Karachi and Tel Aviv and somewhere in Palestine have also gone kaboom. Then we leap back three months in time to Benares, India, where Michael, his wife Anna and his son Ty are on vacation, a gift from Michael's mother-in-law. It's a working vacation for Michael, and he's an entrepreneur of sorts, which means that he doesn't really see much point in vacations and is constantly working. Suddenly, Anna disappears, and moreover, Ty discovers that he's been slipped a magic comic book called "The Rishi" (published by Virgin. Arf arf, even) in which the story of their trip is being told ... right up to the point they're actually at, after which the pages are blank. There are magic doors, and signs and symbols and ... honestly, it's interesting enough, and I do like the art, but since it's a four issue mini, I'd just as soon wait for the trade. It's not quite that gripping.

Corridor (Sarnath Banerjee; Penguin, 2004); An interesting mostly black-and-white graphic novel, telling the story of a group of friends and their various obsessions, centered around Jehangir Rangoonwalla and his bookstore and his tea. Brighu has a thing about Ibn Batuta and obsessively collects various things, none of which he can allow himself to use or enjoy, because doing so would ruin them. Digital Dutta -- with the longest full color segment in the volume -- is obsessed with the pursuit of an H-1B visa; why, we never really learn. He also gets periodically obsessed with Karl Marx and/or Chris Evert. Newly married Shintu, whose story has a few full-color pages, is obsessed with sex and aphrodisiacs. Strangely enough, he actually finds one that works, more or less. (The advice he gets from the guy who gives him the aphrodisiacs is hysterically funny. For example, did you know that frequent nocturnal emissions are a sure sign of impending impotency? And impotence can be prevented by frequent kegeling -- which, if not quite true, is certainly useful -- and eating curried goat's testicles -- which isn't particularly true or useful.) I really like Corridor; the artwork is stylized without being so much so that it overwhelms the writing. There's no overarching story being told; we're just learning about this group of men and certain aspects of their lives. Periodically very funny, periodically touching, and always interesting. Highly recommended, if you can find it (and it may be difficult, given its age). Sarai currently hosts a 24-page preview.

Boy Meets Hero (Chayne Avery and Russel Garcia; Bruno Gmunder):
A hardback compilation of the former webcomic, Boy Meets Hero tells the story of Derek -- secretly Blue Comet, superhero -- and Justin -- secretly in love with Derek. The latter secret constitutes one of the major difficulties for our guys; Justin wants to be out and proud, while Derek fears losing his job -- in their world, being a superhero is a paid position, just as in the Luna Brothers' Ultra -- and his reputation. To keep the public off guard, Derek is participating in a phony romance, orchestrated by the public relations department, with his superhero partner Sunstar, who also happens to be Justin's sister Jillian. The villains are, of course, conspiring to bring Blue Comet and Sunstar down in revenge for having been beaten in the past.

The artwork is comparatively simple, but mostly works for the story. There is a certain amount of comic-book nudity -- no full frontal (not even in the panel where Justin is told that his junk is hanging out), a bit of buttock here and there -- and romantic sex of the sort you'd see in any mainstream superhero book. The main characters kiss, and we see them on the way to sex, but nothing explicit. And we actually see black gay guys in this story! who get put into peril, but live through it! Granted, they're purely incidental characters, but still.

Those incidental characters bring up one of the few things that annoy me a bit. The story does lean a bit on stereotype here and there. Not a lot, but when it happens, it's somewhat jarring. For example, deeply closeted Derek says at work at one point, "You go, girlfriend!" To his theoretical girlfriend, for that matter, in front of pretty much everyone he works with. It's just hard to believe that someone that deeply closeted would make that sort of mistake in that situation; moreover, he doesn't say anything like that through the rest of the story.

The other issue with the story as a whole is that the guys kind of ... talk too much. The two of them are just spritzing angst everywhere over Derek and his closet and talking about it to each other, to Jillian, a lot. Almost the only frames with the guys that don't contain great whacking chunks of dialogue or narration are those in which they're making love, and it's not as though there are more than a couple of those frames scattered in the story. The villains also have to acquaint us with their unfortunate past with a great heaping hunk of dialogue -- and the curious thing there is that in one case, we actually get thrown into a more effective flashback, with a bit less dialogue. Granted, you don't want to be flashing backward and forward all that much in a 120 page book, but it points out that the authors are entirely capable of showing and not telling quite so much.

Anyway, those flaws aside, it was still a very entertaining and worthwhile read. Recommended.

Jimmy Zhingchak, Agent of D.I.S.C.O. (Saurav Mohapatra/Anupam Sinha; Virgin/UTV-Spotboy Motion Pictures)

And at last we reach the titular ... er, title. Surely you understand now why, especially after the previous poster entries, the title for this review entry had to be what it is. Honestly, although I'd bought the issue before the posters, I hadn't looked at it all that closely. Then, after the posters, I finally got around to reading the stuff I hadn't gotten through yet, and well ... there it was.

The back cover bills it as "the world's first Bollywood comic" and ... I kind of can't argue that point. Although I will note that there is a profound lack of entire cities suddenly bursting into song and mindnumbingly spectacular production numbers.

The story? Oh, yes, the story. We start in Mumbai in 1984, with later occasional excursions back in time and elsewhere in India. One of DISCO's operations has just been compromised by the Naada Ninjas -- who wear white and bright colors, for some reason. We jump to Jimmy Grover's residence, where he's yelling at his mother for spending his hard earned cash on that "foul Desi moonshine". Said "foul Desi moonshine" pretty much immediately puts her in the hospital. The doctor tells Jimmy that his mother's liver has failed, and she needs expensive drugs and an operation. He offers to drop the price if Jimmy will, shall we say, put out. Jimmy responds by slapping the doctor and declaring, "You should be ashamed of yourself trying to exploit a lachaar mazboor najuwan like me!" (According to the funny yet seriously incomplete glossary at the end, this means "helpless strapping young lad headed straight for Oprah".) To make money quickly, Jimmy heads for the DISCO Fights (no, really, that's what they're called) to take on all the DISCO champions (no, REALLY) at once. Suddenly, just as he's clearly about to get clobbered, a mysterious man's head appears in a cloud and tells him to use the zhingchak(TM). What, you might be wondering, is the zhingchak(TM)? And well might you wonder! In any event, Jimmy pummels the champions of DISCO, wins the money, pays for his mother's transplant, and is thereupon recruited immediately into DISCO, which turns out to be the Department of Internal Security and Covert Operations. (For reasons external to the story, I had a small hysterical fit when the chief said, "Jimmy, your country needs you.") Moreover, Jimmy's father was in fact one of DISCO's best agents, until he was killed by the dreaded FIRANG. Jimmy of course agrees to work with DISCO, and is thereupon given his father's DISCO Battle Suit ("100% polyester, machine washable"), keyed to his family DNA. There are, of course, all sorts of absurd twists, turns, gadgets and villains -- I suspect people may be particularly fond of Britney Hypnotits, as well as the Fabled Mithunkwalk (the pelvic thrust that really will drive you insane).

Essentially, the story aims for a sort of Indian Austin Powers vibe, Bollywood does Our Man Flint (much cooler and more mod than James Bond). Mostly, it gets there. Mostly. I suspect if you're Indian, it may get there much better than if you're American. There are chunks of ... um, language to deal with. Not a lot, and I don't think any of it's at all important -- but that's just it; I don't know that the ... er, language isn't important. (Seriously, Hindi? Bengali? Something else? No clue here.) Linguistic weirdnesses aside, it's funny and entertaining, and the artwork is highly stylized and insanely detailed. It's definitely a worthwile, fun read. Just, you know, periodically linguistically aggravating.

Given the Virgin/UTV coproduction, I expect that it will be a Bollywood movie for real any day now. Wonder if it'll make it here?
I wanted a cape so very very very much when I was younger. Or a cloak, whichever. Perfect for lurking, looking dramatic, possibly biting fetching people on the neck, and so forth. Now, I just have a full length duster that lacks only a bit of tailoring and some wide lapels from being the coat that the current Doctor wears. Now, I love me my duster (and other people -- usually around 20 years old, for some reason -- keep telling me that they love it) ... but it has almost, if not quite, broken me of the desire to have a proper Big Black Coat of Asskicking. (See also: Miranda Zero in the Global Frequency pilot, Cap'n Jack in Torchwood, etc.) The thing about full length dusters is ... they're full length. Hits me right at the ankles. Going up stairs gets you what I think of fondly as the "evening gown effect" -- if you don't pick it up and hold it, it's going to drag, and if you do, you go from looking mondo cool to looking way stupid. Occasional drag queens will tell you to be a man and get a real dress. (Seriously, they said that.) And if it's windy and dry, it's like wearing a couple flags. On the other hand, if it's raining, once it gets damp enough to stay down, you got some serious protection from the elements.

But I still think I'd like a Big Black Coat of Asskicking, some days. Purely for the drama of it all. Learning how to walk masterfully in slow motion while it flowed dramatically around and behind me would be a royal pain, though.

Awww. Now this is what you'd call "meet cute". Although I'm not precisely sure the "cute" is the right word.

Is it meeting cute if it's also meeting Naked? (There are another three chapters after that page, and another nine before it. Not pages, chapters.)

Well, that was unexpected. Though I haven't been reading this one very long.

And at last, the story continues...

...and another one stops, for the time being. (Further explanation.)

Hey, more Gun Street Girl! ... goodness. A lot more Gun Street Girl. "When you're up against Big Vermin, you need Big Guns."

You know ... If she were an actual person, and her thing was tall overweight men ... Well, OK, the Star Wars thing would still be something of a problem. Also the lack of penis and the presence of breasts. But we could still be buddies!

And now I have to hear this song. RIGHT NOW! And also possibly dance and party and pump it up like these folk here. (Aaahhh. The joys of the karaoke video. Here, have something else to make your day. And maybe also one of these ... whatever it is.)

Hey! Loren's back!

Oh, yeah. Even when it's only one letter off from what people expect, the fun just keeps coming!

There actually IS an ongoing retelling, in The Manga Bible ... No, really ... No. REALLY. Would I lie to you? (I seem to recall that in certain places, there actually are orgies. Usually followed by much smiting.)

Ain't that the truth.

You have to admit, it's a killer final line.

So apparently, a person works long enough for Disney and Scholastic and such places, you get the urge to do stuff for grownups ... No, no, not adults-only work, but work for adults to read and ... and ... and ... Oh. Well, then. Never mind. (So, looking at that hand on the first page ... God is apparently black AND a woman AND a pimp. My goodness! Who knew?)

[NB: This is the weirdest fun thought exercise I've indulged in for quite some time. If only it weren't so exhausting to the fingers... And yes, I know this has gone on far too long. I just want to get this done so I can get it OUT OF MY HEAD! OUT DAMNED SPOT, OUT! Seriously, if you could figure out a way to control the stuff your mind frets away at in the background, imagine how much more stuff you could actually get done.]

Previously in this series:
- glaad and the media
- glaad media awards and the comics

So here's the thing. It seems to me that the GLAAD Media Awards are in the category of "by us, for you", where "you" is the broader mainstream. (Here initially followed several descriptions that were unnecessarily inflammatory. We'll just leave it at "for the broader mainstream", shall we? Let's shall.) By contrast, the Lambda Literary Awards are in the "by us, for us" category, where they hope the mainstream notices these works of merit, but that's not really the point. The original idea of the Lammys was to focus on works in the area or by people that the mainstream serenely ignored and/or discounted. But either way, over here on the comics side, something gets ignored by both parties. GLAAD focuses on mainstream companies and publishers, ignoring everyone else except when they decide not to. By contrast Lambda Literary doesn't entirely ignore comics, but they don't really recognize it as a field, and for the most part, they completely ignore mainstream comics, regardless of merit.

Previous comic works nominated for Lammys include:
1989 - Gay Comics edited by Robert Triptow (New American Library) [winner for Humor]

1990 - New, Improved Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Firebrand) [winner for HUMOR]; Meatmen Vol. 8 edited by Terry Woodrow (Tough Dove) [nominee for HUMOR -- which strikes me as entirely the wrong category, but no erotica categories existed at the time]

1992 - Dykes to Watch Out For: The Sequel by Alison Bechdel (Firebrand) [winner for HUMOR]; The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green by Eric Orner (St. Martin’s) [humor nominee]; BB and the Diva by Rupert Kinnard (Alyson) [humor nominee]

1993 - Spawn of Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Firebrand) [HUMOR winner]; Hothead Paisan by Diane DiMassa (Cleis) [humor nominee]

1995 - Revenge of HotHead Paisan by Diane Dimassa (Cleis) and Unnatural Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Firebrand) [HUMOR nominees]; Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse (Paradox) [nominee, Photography and Visual arts -- I'd have put this in Gay Men's Fiction, myself]

1996 - Kurt Cobain & Mozart are Both Dead by Tim Barela (Palliard) [humor nominee]

1997 - Hot, Throbbing Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Firebrand) [humor nominee]

1998 - Split-Level Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Firebrand) [humor nominee]

1999 - Ethan Exposed by Eric Orner (humor nominee); Subgurlz by Jennifer Camper (humor nominee); [NOTE the complete absence of Bread and Wine by Samuel Delany from any category. I'd have put it in Autobiography/Memoir, myself, but again, I think the "floods of semen" did it in.]

2000 - Post-Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Firebrand) [humor nominee]

2003 - Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-Based Life-Forms to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Alyson) [Humor WINNER]; Chelsea Boys by Glen Hanson and Allan Neuwirth (Alyson) [humor nominee]

2004 - Rent Girl by Michelle Tea (Last Gasp) [Autobiography/memoir nominee, Photography and Visual arts nominee); Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast by Greg Fox (Kenisington) [humor nominee]

2005 - Invasion of Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel (Alyson) [humor nominee]; Juicy Mother by Jennifer Camper (Soft Skull) [humor nominee -- and that seems like the wrong category, since it's not all ha-ha-funny; Anthologies, where the second volume was nominated, seems like the best match]

2006 - Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin) [Arts and Culture nominee, Lesbian Biography/Memoir WINNER]; Roy & Al by Ralf Konig (Arsenal Pulp Press) (humor nominee)

2007 - Juicy Mother 2, Jennifer Camper (Manic D Press) [LGBT Anthology nominee]

So, looking at the above list, three things stand out. First, all but six of 28 nominations are in the humor category, despite the breadth of material out there. Second -- with the exception of the very first Humor award, which went to Gay Comics -- if you're not Alison Bechdel, you don't win, and even she doesn't win all that often; she's also the only person to win outside the Humor category. Third, with only a couple of exceptions, we're talking about some wee tiny publishers, and that's fine, that's great, but it does miss one or two possibly worthwhile works.

To be sure, some of the nominees in Humor and other categories may be comics that I just never heard of. I was kind of shocked at how many of the nominees and winners in all the categories I've actually read, both comics and other works, but I haven't read everything.
(Purely a side note: unlike GLAAD, the Lammys actually have all of the previous nominees and winners for all categories of their awards available online at their site ... I know! How radical! How useful! How amazing! How ... OK, I'll stop now.)

So if one were to develop one's own awards, or to approach, say, Prism Comics or or even the Lambda Literary Awards and suggest that they do it instead, what sorts of awards might one give? (Note: One is doing no such thing in either case. This is merely a very long rumination on the topic. Further development is left as an exercise for the reader.)

Looking at, say, the Eisners for guidance, one gets the following:
"...categories include best single issue, best short story, best continuing comic book series (at least two issues must have been published in 2007), best limited comic book series (at least half of the series must have been published in 2007), best new series, best title aimed at a younger audience, best humor publication, best anthology, best graphic album-new material, best graphic album-reprint, best reality-based work, best archival collection, best U.S. edition of foreign material, best writer, best writer/artist, best penciler/inker (individual or team), best painter (interior art), best lettering, best coloring, best comics-related book, best comics journalism periodical or website, and best publication design. The judges may add, delete, or combine categories at their discretion."

Yeah, OK, that's so not happening.

Looking at the Harvey Awards, we get:
best writer, best letterer, best cartoonist, artist, inker, colorist, cover artist, new talent (writer or artist), new series, continuing or limited series, syndicated strip or panel, anthology (3 or more authors, 50% must be new), graphic album - original, graphic album - previously published (a compilation), single issue or story, domestic reprint (original at least 10 years old), American edition of foreign material, online comics, excellence in presentation (art direction), humor, and best biographical or historical presentation (relating to comics as an art form).

Pretty sure that's not happening either. What we're aiming for here is a few concrete categories that recognizes the field at large without being this whole huge ... thing. Maybe five, six categories. So what would this brave new section of the Lammys, or the Prismatics, or the Gayleaguers or whatever, what would a serious awards section look like?

...No, no, no, I said a SERIOUS award. (Apart from anything else, Grant Morrison is nominated as best out queer creator, and I'm kind of sure that he isn't. Out or queer, I mean. Depending on how you define queer, I suppose, but he's most definitely on the record as saying that he's not gay, if nothing else. And as much as I really really like Greg Rucka's writing, I can't say as I've devoted even a quarter of a brain cell to contemplating whether or not he has a "manly but alluring scent". [I just have this horrible vision of some guy going up to Rucka at a signing, late in the day, and taking a big sniff to determine whether or not he smells manly or alluring. I suspect that might not go terribly well, somehow.])
But would this get you voted out of office, or would there merely be a tearstained and weepy public confession of one's ... perversions, as it were.

What being on any Fox News talk show -- or, really, almost any talk show -- is like deep inside one's head... (Unless you're Kathy Griffin, of course.)

You know ... this is actually beginning to make me feel a little sorry for the guy. Not this strip in particular, just the critical mass of commentary on the topic.

Yes ... yes, it IS always good to have one's terms properly defined before taking action.

And NO. it does NOT elevate your spiritual levels.

Somehow, we've entered allergy season without an actual appearance of spring. (It was snowing earlier today. Have yet to see a crocus or daffodil or hyacinth.)

...well, I suppose someone had to do it. (Seriously, can this fad be over now? Please? Please? (Also, turns out that Jesus was the first one, if you think about it. But apparently without that terribly inconvenient craving.)

And that would explain the occasional unusual goings-on in the self-help section of the library.

Somehow, I never realized that character was gay until now. This does not, however, excuse his terrible taste in workout clothes. The 80s are calling, and they want those things back!

Yes ... yes, those would be very bad dates indeed. Especially that last one. Ew.

2008 Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards nominees and winners, with the online ceremony here. and also the big awards here. Weird thing: I actually read at least three, and usually four or five, or the nominees in Every Single Category. I kind of think "Short form" should have gone to Sinfest or Three Panel Soul, and I don't entirely get the difference between "Outstanding use of the medium" and "Outstanding webcomic", nor do I get how something can be nominated for best overall when it's not nominated as best in its particular format. Nonetheless, kind of interesting to see what cartoonists consider to be the best out there.
previously in "glaad and the media":

GLAAD has announced the nominees for its 19th Annual Media Awards. [...] [In the category for Comic Book of the Year 2007, the nominees are:]
American Virgin by Steven T. Seagle (Vertigo/DC Comics)
The Boys by Garth Ennis (Dynamite Entertainment)
Midnighter by Garth Ennis, Brian K. Vaughan, Christos Gage, Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, and Keith Giffin (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
The Outsiders by Judd Winick, Greg Rucka, and Tony Bedard (DC Comics)
Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)

You know, I actually understand why they nominated all of those series. American Virgin has both a lesbian and a transgender character; Strangers in Paradise has a lead lesbian and bisexual character, The Outsiders has two lesbian characters, Midnighter has ... well, Midnighter, and is the only one of the series listed with a gay or lesbian lead character; The Boys ... well, it's not an unreasonable nomination, put it that way. It's because of one specific story arc, and I get why they did that. Mind, it's not at all what I'd have done, but then, I don't read anything on that list but Strangers in Paradise (which should win, easily, and which won't win because the title isn't high profile enough)....

And the winner is ... (drumroll, please)
- Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)

(Partial List of winners; some of the category winners will be announced at later ceremonies -- there are another three to go, because GLAAD insists on doing each year's awards as a four-part Rainbow Tour -- dressed up, somewhere to go, they'll put on a show EVERYWHERE.)

I have to admit, I am shocked, and pleased. GLAAD's corporatist bent is clearly present in the list of nominees, and of winners announced to date, and it's a bit unusual for them that the little guy beats the big guys. (I also just realized that I maligned Strangers in the other piece; Katchoo is a lesbian and would certainly be considered one of the two leads in that series.)

I will say now, allowing that I don't know or understand what GLAAD's comic book nominators' criteria is, the only ones of the works listed above that I might have listed would have been Strangers in Paradise and Midnighter. It always seemed to me that if you're going to list something for being the best, and you're not talking about the sexual orientation of the creator but of the content, then the queer characters or content ought to be pretty much front and center. The queerness doesn't have to be the main issue, although that's more or less the case in Strangers, but it does seem to me that the character(s) ought to be. This isn't to say that the characters or depictions in American Virgin, the Boys or The Outsiders aren't good, or interesting, or that they weren't well-done, just that they're not necessarily central to the ongoing title.

It is kind of interesting to go back and look at a few recent nominees and winners in the category. Or, as I might otherwise call it, "My biases and prejudices and why I think that way". (winners in bold) [NOTE: You'd think that there would be comprehensive lists at GLAAD of their own award. But no, not so much. I hoped that there'd be comprehensive lists of this particular category somewhere on the net. But again, not so much. One of the reasons for listing so many of them is purely so's that I can get the damn list all in one place. And if anyone has corrections, comment away, and we'll see what's up.]

19th (2008 NY ceremony, for books published 2007)
- American Virgin by Steven T. Seagle (Vertigo/DC Comics)
- The Boys by Garth Ennis (Dynamite Entertainment)
- Midnighter by Garth Ennis, Brian K. Vaughan, Christos Gage, Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, and Keith Giffin (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
- The Outsiders by Judd Winick, Greg Rucka, and Tony Bedard (DC Comics)
- Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)

Just to put everything in the list section.

18th (2007 ceremony, for books published in 2006)
- 52 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid (DC Comics)
- American Virgin by Steven T. Seagle (Vertigo/DC Comics)
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin) (...I think. See below.)
- Manhunter by Marc Andreyko (DC Comics)
- Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn (Vertigo/DC Comics)

According to the GLAAD website, for the 18th annual awards, the Best Comic Book award was not given on stage. More precisely, it's not listed among the awards given out on stage, which may or may not be an error. You can therefore find no record on the GLAAD website itself of who won this award. There are, in fact, precisely two mentions of "Fun Home" on the GLAAD website, one in the announcement of the nominees, and one in a PDF reprint of the "Out 100" article from OUT magazine. In fact, because most websites that mention the award simply repeat the GLAAD press releases -- which also omit the category -- you pretty much can't find out who won the 18th annual award for comic books anywhere on the net without some serious digging. Really, that's some damn impressive incompetence.

But you'd think the winner would be obvious, right? After all, to quote Wikipedia: "Fun Home was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, in the memoir/autobiography category [...] In 2007, Fun Home won the Stonewall Book Award for non-fiction, the Publishing Triangle-Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, and the Lambda Literary Award in the "Lesbian Memoir and Biography" category. Fun Home was nominated for the 2007 Eisner Awards in two categories, Best Reality-Based Work and Best Graphic Album, and Bechdel was nominated as Best Writer/Artist. Fun Home won the Eisner for Best Reality-Based Work." Note, however, that Wikipedia does not say that it won the award. Note also that in Bechdel's own list of honors for Fun Home, the GLAAD Media nomination isn't even mentioned, let alone the award. The one and only mention that I could find anywhere at all that it might have won was in a PR notice at The Beat. So honestly, I don't know if Fun Home really did win the award or not.

One might also note that Manhunter was barely published in 2006; only a few issues appeared before it went on a breathtakingly long hiatus.

17th (for books published in 2005)
- Gotham Central by Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker (DC Comics)
- Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
- Top Ten: The Forty-Niners by Alan Moore (ABC Comics/Wildstorm)
- Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn (Vertigo/DC Comics)
- Young Avengers by Allan Heinberg (Marvel)

And again, not that it's bad or that I don't like it, but ... well. I would have picked probably any of the other titles over Young Avengers. It is well written, well done; I just think that the others were better. (I have a love that is pure for "The Forty Niners", but I'm not sure that it should win here.) That said, a gay creator writing gay characters at an age where even acknowledging that gay teens exist would have people in fits ... well, that would be well-nigh irresistable, and honestly, I can't say that it's an unreasonable award.

16th (2004)
* Ex Machina (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
* Hard Time (DC Comics)
* Luba (Fantagraphics Books)
* My Faith in Frankie (Vertigo/DC Comics)
* Strangers in Paradise (Abstract Studio)

And another upset, and the only small press title in the list of recent winners until either last year or this. (It can also be argued that perhaps "Luba" should not have won that year.) I also don't think "My Faith in Frankie" should have been nominated, not because the lesbian character isn't front and center -- she's in fact a major supporting character and plays a key role in the outcome -- but unless there's something I missed, you don't actually know that she's a lesbian until the last 5-10 pages of the story, producing an ending that is spectacularly unearned and completely out of left field. I actually do like that story a lot -- I think it was seriously mishandled by DC/Vertigo, despite ultimately doing OK -- but the ending is just wrong.

15th (2003)
* The Authority (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
* Catwoman (DC Comics) (winner)
* Gotham Central (DC Comics)
* How Loathsome (NBM Publishing)
* Strangers in Paradise (Abstract Studio)

In what is very very traditional regarding me and awards, the only one I haven't read at all is the one that wins. Of the four I have read, I think I'd have picked "How Loathsome", but I'd be willing to be persuaded about the others.

It's also worth nothing that this year, GLAAD changed to a shockingly narrow list of qualifications. To quote the linked article:
...At about the same time that this year's awards were being handed out, GLAAD made an unpublicized, but significant, change to the eligibility criteria for its Best Comic Book award. The previous criteria stated that the award would be "[g]iven to a comic book targeted to a general audience and sold in comic retail stores nationwide." The new criteria, though, are far narrower: they specify that the award will be "[g]iven to a comic book published by the four mainstream publishers and their subsidiary labels: Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics."

The new criteria do contain what GLAAD Media Awards Communications Manager Nick Adams refers to as a "caveat": they allow a comic book from another publisher to be nominated, "at GLAAD's discretion," if the book achieves "a level of visibility and impact comparable to that of a book published by one of the mainstream publishers." In essence, therefore, the new criteria send the following message to all other comics companies (and the creators who work for and with them): "Your books aren't eligible — except when they are."

One wonders if those criteria were ever formally revised.

14th (2002)
* The Authority (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
* Green Lantern (DC Comics) (winner) (for this storyline)
* Murder Mysteries (Dark Horse Comics)
* Strangers in Paradise (Abstract Studio)
* X-Statix (Marvel Comics)

Well, this time I haven't read two of five. Despite understanding why GLAAD included "Murder Mysteries" -- it had to do with the art and the fact that all the angels were drawn as male -- I really think that it shouldn't be in that category, since the angels are more or less represented as nongendered within the text. Of the ones I have read, I'd have picked "Strangers".

13th annual (for works published in 2001)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dark Horse Comics -- for, as I recall, a 2-3 issue story arc featuring Willow and Tara)
- Green Lantern (DC Comics) (gaybashing storyline by Judd Winick, which apparently continued into the next year)
- Strangers in Paradise (Abstract Studio)
- Top 10 (America's Best Comics/WildStorm)
- User (Vertigo/DC Comics)

I'm ... kind of baffled as to why Devin Grayson's "User" was nominated. It's been a while since I read it, but I don't really remember anything like gay content; it may be that I'm forgetting something important about it. The only thing I can think is that it was because Grayson herself is bisexual, and maybe because there's some transgenderish content, with the main character being a woman, but appearing in her RPG as a man.

12th (2000)
- The Authority (DC/Wildstorm)
- Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority (DC/Wildstorm - and unfair, to be including the Authority twice in the same list)
- Pedro & Me (Henry Holt) by Judd Winick
- Promethea, by Alan Moore et al (America's Best Comics/Wildstorm)
- Top Ten, by Alan Moore et al (America's Best/Wildstorm)

In this case ... well, I started "Pedro and Me" and realized that there was just no way I was going to be able to get through it at that point, not because it was bad, but because I just wasn't ready to deal with an AIDS book, no matter how inspirational it might be, and then I just never went back to it. I would certainly pick either Top Ten or Promethea above either Authority book, but I don't really have an informed opinion on the list.

(NOTE: according to the August 2000 PRIDE: Out in Comics PDF archived at "GLAAD gives two Media Awards to comics, one to Terry Moore’s Strangers in Paradise and one to Gary Trudeau’s strip Doonesbury." Given apparent multiple awards given in earlier years -- see below -- there would seem to be, to put it mildly, some confusion about what GLAAD was going with the comics section of its awards for a while. It would be lovely if there were, oh, an authoritative list of all this somewhere, wouldn't there?)

11th (1999)
- The Authority (DC Comics/WildStorm)
- The Girl Who Would Be Death (DC Comics/Vertigo)
- Strangers in Paradise (Abstract Studio)
- Supergirl (DC Comics)
- Top 10 (America's Best Comics)

And, again, the only ones I read were Strangers in Paradise and Top 10, so I'll not offer an opinion.

10th (1999 ceremony for works published in 1998)
- The Books of Magic (DC Comics/Vertigo)
- Starman (DC Comics)
- Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (Paramount/Marvel Comics)
- Supergirl (DC Comics)
- Young Heroes in Love (DC Comics)

from "Peter David adds ANDY JONES to the Supergirl supporting cast in SUPERGIRL (v.4) 10 (DC, June 1997). An angel composed of both a man and a woman who, in both her female (Andy) and male (Comet) forms, pursues Supergirl. Based on Andy’s continuing appearances GLAAD names SUPERGIRL its Outstanding Comic, 1999."

For what it's worth, my pick for that year would have been he unnominated Bread and Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York by Samuel Delany, a biographical story of how he met his then-partner. (They may still be together, actually; I have no idea.) However, I'm pretty sure the "floods of semen" depicted in a couple of places would have turned the nominating committee right off including it.

9th (1998, for comics published in 1997): from from the August 2000 PRIDE PDF at -
"GLAAD’s Media Award for Comics goes to Lynn Johnson’s syndicated strip For Better or For Worse, for it’s depiction of Laurence, a friend of a main cast member who comes out as gay. (NOTE: You know what? For all that I rag on FBOFW elsewhere for how the storylines are being handled now, I will not argue with that award.)

8th (1997 for works from 1996): from the August 2000 PRIDE PDF -
GLAAD’s Media Award for Comic Books given to Vertigo title Death: The Time of Your Life (NOTE: I have this book. I think I don't remember it well, because I have not the slightest idea why it would have even been nominated, let alone won.)

7th (1996, for works from 1995): from the August 2000 PRIDE PDF -
GLAAD gives a Media Award to DC title Metropolis: S.C.U. for its depiction of Maggie Sawyer, a lesbian cop, marking the first time the award was given to a comic. (NOTE: this would seem to conflict with GLAAD giving an award to the Flash in 1992, so I'm not sure what is meant here. I think they may mean, given the actual award name, that it was the first time it went to a comic book rather than a newspaper strip. It may be that whatever happened with the Flash, the 1992 thing was a special award, rather than what became a regular award.)


A four-part series, Maggie Sawyer is the first by a major comic book
publisher (DC Comics) to feature a heroine who is an out lesbian. The
series follows Sawyer's exploits as Captain of the Metropolitan Special
Crimes Unit as well as her personal life with her lover and her son.

...they didn't get the title right when announcing the award itself. OK, then.

6th (1995, for works from 1994): via QRD

Outstanding Print Media
"Doonesbury: Same-Sex Unions" by Garry Trudeau
Garry Trudeau turns a comic eye towards the controversy over John Boswell's book about same-sex marriages, exploring the subject with characteristic intelligence and wit.

1992 - GLAAD awards THE FLASH its first Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book

You know, it would be fascinating to, say, get all the gay comics bloggers -- or, heck, maybe even just anyone who wanted to give it a shot -- together over at Prism or Gayleague after GLAAD announces their group and say, "OK, now that they've stroked the egos of DC and Marvel, here's who they really should have nominated." No doubt the arguments would be ferocious, and I don't have the slightest idea how you could run it -- maybe as a series of public forums or email discussions the way that Slate does some of their stuff -- and see what we'd come up with. You never know; it might be that in a given year, we'd say, "Why, yes, you should nominate The Authority or Midnighter" or whatever it is that the big two are doing. But I'd also bet that the small press stuff that never gets a look in would be better represented, and maybe even some of the manga might make periodic startling appearances.

At one point, I was going to do a series of "best of 2007(ish)" entries, all in areas other than the one I did for Strange Horizons. Probably too late for it now, but maybe I'll dig that particular section out...

EDIT: and just to note one possible direction - the Lambda Literary Awards have nominated JUICY MOTHER 2 as best anthology. Not best comic book anthology, but best anthology, period. Ponder that, if you will.

Wow. I thought this would be a one, two-paragraph short entry. Kind of ... not so much, really.
"The Boondocks" has been wildly uneven this season -- it seems to either completely miss, or else it lands square on the target, and not much in between. (And it does have quite a few actual targets this time around, as opposed to simply putting funny episodes out. Axes WILL be ground sharp this year.)

The story of Gangstalicious, part 2: "This is about ... thuggin' love..." (Flash required, language not remotely work safe)

Tonight's episode disclaimer: The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual gay-ass rappers is coincidental. Seriously, we're not talking about anybody at all. The rapper you think we're talking about, we're not talking about him. In fact, as far as we know, no rapper in the history of rap music has ever kissed another man or fondled another man's goodies.

Dictated, not read.
The Management.

We start with a Gangstalicious video called "Homies over Hoes". A dance called "Do the Homie", involving, apparently, throwing a woman halfway across a room, followed by dancing with your male homie, a dance which includes bashing your chest into your homie's chest. Because, you know, there's nothing homoerotic about all that exclusively male physical contact. Nothing at all. Nope.

What I want to know is, just how much of what actually went on in this episode sailed right over certain people's heads. There was, quite literally, not one single thing in that episode that even pretended to be subtle. For example, pointing out just how homoerotic having an all male posse can be, especially when your stock in trade is publicly and emphatically disrespecting and deliberately alienating women. One of the rappers specifically says that given the way they treat women, it's not like they ought to be hanging around or that they want them hanging around. (No, really, HE SAYS THAT.) The one thing that will be clearly understood by all, I suspect, is that McGruder seems to have, shall we say, a pronounced lack of respect for some rappers and the people who love their music. Gangstalicious, and what he has to do to keep his career, seems mostly sad and pathetic; the out gay former rappers, on the other hand, come off pretty well. The people who actually like the misogynist/homoerotic music Gangstalicious and the other rappers make and who don't see what's going on inside the lyrics -- you get the impression there's some active contempt going on there, personified by Riley who very slowly and painfully gets a clue, and then promptly rejects it because he just doesn't want to think that way. The encounter between Riley and Gangstalicious near the end is really desperately sad for both of them.

Mind, pointing out the connection between the prison/fashion complex and rap was kind of ... weird. I mean, yes, prison is "sort of gay" in the sense of being an all male environment in which many of them have sex with each other (whether they want to or not), and, yes, a lot of black men come into contact with prison, thanks to this country's peculiar justice system, but somehow, it really doesn't seem like repeated gang rape or "any port in a storm" should quite count as "sort of gay" in any meaningful way. Fashion, on the other hand ... Oh, dear god, THOSE CLOTHES! Gangstalicious has ... INteresting taste in the clothes he designed. Quite tasteful use of pink and lavender. (In fact, at least in terms of the gay side of the show, the clothes were the only things even remotely stereotypical.) I get the fact that they were pointing out, with all the subtlety of an anvil fusillade, that the only ones wearing all this gay-ass crap were straight men who were desperately clueless. But ... if Gangstalicious was clinging that desperately to his closet, as he had to do to keep his career, wouldn't he have been a bit more careful about the clothes he put his name on? Wouldn't one of his posse have said, "Man, all that pink, that looks kinda gay, don't you think?"

The "I love gay rappers" show, hosted by rappers who'd made it big until they tried to be really really REALLY out -- tried to be themselves -- and lost their careers, as counterpoint was also kind of perfect, especially the end. After all, what they said at the end is true: "Will hip-hop accept an outwardly gay rapper? I don't know. First, someone has to come out of the closet ... Peekaboo!"
So. GLAAD has announced the nominees for its 19th Annual Media Awards. And I know I should ignore them, but it's like poking at a loose tooth. You just can't stop. But ... you know, for this particular year, they did kind of shockingly well, on the whole.

They've somewhat gotten over that pesky insistence on nominating only the Big Straight Companies for awards, because gay people working in gay-identified media could not possibly be doing anything worth awarding. (Seriously, that was their position through last year, when they took a well deserved and prolonged public shellacking over it.) Let's take a look at a selected few categories, shall we? Let's shall. (NB: I"m ignoring all the theater categories and most of the music categories, since I've bought, like two albums in the past year, and attended not a single theater event in either Los Angeles or New York. Ever.)

Across the Universe (Revolution Studios)
The Jane Austen Book Club (Sony Pictures Classics)
Stardust (Paramount Pictures)

Having not seen it, I've no idea why "Across the Universe" was nominated. I know why "Jane Austen Book Club" was nominated, and ... eh. Whatever. And I understand why "Stardust" was nominated and ... I would not have done that, myself. It's not just deNiro's operatically over the top portrayal of a theoretically gay pirate(ish) captain. (Literally. An opera record was involved.) It's his crew discovering his transvestite tendencies and saying that they'd known for a while and were OK with it ... as long as he made sure not to display such tendencies where anyone could see them. That said, it's not as though wide-distribution films with realistic and/or positive portrayals of gay people were exactly thick on the ground this year,.

Film - Limited Release
The Bubble (Strand Releasing)
Dirty Laundry (Codeblack Entertainment)
Itty Bitty Titty Committee (Pocket Releasing)
Nina's Heavenly Delights (Regent Releasing)
Whole New Thing (Picture This! Entertainment)

AKA the gay film festival movie category. Actually, a pretty good list.

Drama Series
Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Degrassi: The Next Generation (The N)
Dirty Sexy Money (ABC)
Greek (ABC Family)
The L Word (Showtime)

Requiring one or more regular gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual characters. And a pretty good list, again. (Had to think about "Dirty Sexy Money" for a while before I remembered that Candis Cayne plays a transsexual character with whom a senatorial candidate is having an affair.)

Comedy Series
Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Exes and Ohs (Logo)
The Sarah Silverman Program (Comedy Central)
Ugly Betty (ABC)
The War at Home (Fox)

And again, not a bad list at all. Plus, an actual gay media-produced series! Oh my!

Individual Episode (in a series w/o a regular LGBT character)
"Boy Crazy" Cold Case (CBS)
"Do Tell" Boston Legal (ABC)
"Free to Be You and Me" Kyle XY (ABC Family)
"The Gangs of Camden County" My Name is Earl (NBC)
"Sin" Law & Order: SVU (NBC)

No opinion; I don't actually watch a single one of those shows.

Television Movie, Mini-Series or Anthology
Daphne (Logo)
The DL Chronicles (here!)
The State Within (BBC America)

No opinion; the only one I've seen is "The DL Chronicles". But hey! Another gay media-produced miniseries!

Camp Out (Logo)
Cruel and Unusual: Transgender Women in Prison (WE tv)
For the Bible Tells Me So (First Run Features)
Freddie Mercury: Magic Remixed (VH1/Logo)
Small Town Gay Bar (Logo)

And that is actually a very good list of documentaries. Interesting mix of producers as well; I'm mildly surprised that they allowed Logo to dominate the category like that. Of course, it helps that Logo runs a regular documentary series.

Reality Program
"Chase/Lane" Trading Spouses (Fox)
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (Bravo)
Project Runway (Bravo)
Who Wants to Be a Superhero? (SciFi Channel)
Work Out (Bravo)

...You know, much as I like Kathy Griffin, there is in fact nothing particularly gay about her show, despite her love for "her gays". I wonder if there's a specific episode they're citing? But whatever; otherwise, allowing that they're doing Emmy/Grammy style part/whole comparisons (one episode of "Trading Spouses" versus four complete series?), it's not a bad list.

Daily Drama
All My Children (ABC)
As The World Turns (CBS)

Entirely expected; a transgender storyline on AMC, and a gay romance on ATWT. Frankly, I'd give 'em both awards, and I believe the GLAAD media award is juried, so they might actually be able to do just that.

Talk Show Episode
"Born in the Wrong Body" The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)
"Gay Around the World" The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)
"Gay Athletes & Rappers: It's Not In to be Out" The Tyra Banks Show (syndicated)
"Growing Up Intersex" The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)
"Transgender Kids" The Tyra Banks Show (syndicated)

...Nobody but Oprah and Tyra do gay/transgender pieces? Seriously, given the plethora of talk shows around, that's just sad. No reflection on GLAAD, though; you run with what you got.

TV Journalism - Newsmagazine
Born in the Wrong Body (MSNBC)
"A Church Divided" In the Life (PBS)
"Don't Ask Don't Tell" 60 Minutes (CBS)
"My Secret Self: A Story of Transgender Children" 20/20 (ABC)
"A Royal Scandal" Primetime: Family Secrets (ABC)

Again, not a bad list as far as I can tell, although I've only seen two of the five pieces. I would suggest that they need to do a better job of defining this category and the "News Segment" category, though; they've again got parts of shows competing against entire shows. Logically, "A Church Divided" or "Born in the Wrong Body" should win, just because it's easier to do an in-depth piece when you've got 42 minutes instead of 15.

TV Journalism - News Segment
"The First Casualty" Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN)
"Gay Homeless Teens" Uncovering America (CNN)
"Gospel of Inclusion" Uncovering America (CNN)
"Sent Away to 'Change'" Good Morning America (ABC)
"Sex Change Controversy" Paula Zahn Now (CNN)

Interesting. CBS News on Logo didn't even get a look in.

Newspaper Article
"Aging and Gay, and Facing Prejudice in Twilight" by Jane Gross (The New York Times)
"Girl/Boy Interrupted" by Lauren Smiley (SF Weekly)
"In a Progressive State, a City Where Gay Life Hangs by a Thread" by Andrew Jacobs (The New York Times)
"Line in Sand for Same-Sex Couples" by Teresa Watanabe (Los Angeles Times)
"What the Heart Wants" by Lane DeGregory (St. Petersburg Times)

Hmm. I think I shall decline to comment, except to note that I remember both of the NY Times articles, which were both very interesting.

Newspaper Columnist
Christine Daniels (Los Angeles Times)
Alfred Doblin (The Record [Bergen, NJ])
Mark Morford (San Francisco Chronicle)
Frank Rich (The New York Times)
Rebecca Walsh (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Newspaper Overall Coverage
The Boston Globe
Los Angeles Times
The New York Times
The Seattle Times
San Francisco Chronicle

And again, no comment on either of the above categories.

Magazine Article
"Akinola’s Power Play" by Kerry Eleveld (The Advocate)
"Dying to Come Out: The War on Gays in Iraq" by David France (GQ)
"The Kingdom in the Closet" by Nadya Labi (The Atlantic Monthly)
"(Rethinking) Gender" by Debra Rosenberg (Newsweek)
"Special Report: Gays at War" by Marc Haeringer, William Henderson, Michael Rowe, Corey Scholibo, and Bernice Yeung (The Advocate)

A good set of nominees.

Magazine Overall Coverage
The Advocate
Entertainment Weekly
Us Weekly

...I have not the slightest idea what they were looking for in that category. (I have heard that CosmoGIRL does really well with gay and lesbian issues; shockingly well, considering the age group it's aiming at. It's the Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly nominations that surprise.)

Digital Journalism Article
"Gay Newsmen - A Clearer Picture" by James Hillis (
"Gender and the Pulpit" by Lauren McCauley (
"Officially 'I Do'" by Tracy Stokes (
"Oregon State Coach Fulfills Dream of Becoming Father" by Graham Hays (
"Why the T in LGBT is Here to Stay" by Susan Stryker (

No particular comment, except to say that the ESPN article is actually kind of awesome. If all the articles are as strong as that one, it's a really good category.

Digital Journalism – Multimedia
"The Advocate 40th Anniversary'" (
"Fuera del Closet: Gay Hispanic Immigrants in Dallas" by Sergio Chapa (
"Landmark Moments in Gay Hollywood" by Mark S. Luckle (
"Uncovering America: Fighting for Acceptance" (

I would not have put the Advocate's celebration of itself with the others, but it's not a bad list.

Comic Book
American Virgin by Steven T. Seagle (Vertigo/DC Comics)
The Boys by Garth Ennis (Dynamite Entertainment)
Midnighter by Garth Ennis, Brian K. Vaughan, Christos Gage, Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, and Keith Giffin (Wildstorm/DC Comics)
The Outsiders by Judd Winick, Greg Rucka, and Tony Bedard (DC Comics)
Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)

You know, I actually understand why they nominated all of those series. American Virgin has both a lesbian and a transgender character; Strangers in Paradise has a lead lesbian and bisexual character, The Outsiders has two lesbian characters, Midnighter has ... well, Midnighter, and is the only one of the series listed with a gay or lesbian lead character; The Boys ... well, it's not an unreasonable nomination, put it that way. It's because of one specific story arc, and I get why they did that. Mind, it's not at all what I'd have done, but then, I don't read anything on that list but Strangers in Paradise (which should win, easily, and which won't win because the title isn't high profile enough).
Ten Best Gay and Bisexual Science Fiction Characters |

You know, I realize this list is from AfterElton and not from AfterEllen ... but seriously, guys, not one female character? Not one? REALLY? (And no, Frank-n-Furter does NOT count.) Should you not have been more specific with that article title, perhaps? And nothing from any prose novel? Perhaps you should have been MUCH more specific with that article title. (see title, above.)

That aside, the list is ... well, interesting, let's say. I wouldn't have included Andrew; I seem to recall the people at Mutant Enemy rather pointedly and coyly being surprised that anyone ever could have thought that Andrew was gay. Plus, television being what it is, if the character doesn't do or say something unambiguous, it really seems that you shouldn't put them on a list like that.

On the other hand, seeing what it is that Ianto does listed like that was very informative. Seriously, I had no clue. Though, logically, that means that Torchwood actually does need an operations manager.
Between Virgin's Dan Dare and Marvel's The Twelve, apparently 'tis the season for dragging old characters into the modern/future world.

The Twelve 0 (J. Michael Straczynski/Chris Weston; Marvel)
The Twelve features characters resurrected from Marvel's pre-Marvel days, back in the Atlas and Timely Production pre-war years. Issue 0 isn't necessarily required for the series, from the look of it. Although it's entertaining to see the differences between what people were willing to accept then and now from their stories. I mean, if you think that the whole Batman/Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent/Superman secret identity thing is a bit strained, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Take the Phantom Reporter, who appears to have two different secret identities. There's Dick Jones, Cub Reporter; strangely, despite the fact that he never seems to bring back the story, every story to which he's assigned somehow miraculously gets resolved. Secret Identity 2 is Mr. Van Ergen, a Park Avenue playboy whose father left him $50 million. The hero -- entirely without powers of any sort -- is the Phantom Reporter. All three of them wear blue business suits. Van Ergen and the Reporter both wear bright red capes. The Reporter adds a glowing red domino mask; I'm guessing that the glow manages to distract people from anything important. (The clothing problem, by the by, is only going to get worse in the new series, if the triple identity remains, since, due to two characters with similar designs, Weston changed the color of the Phantom Reporter's suit to a lovely shade of magenta. Magenta business suits, then and now, being so overwhelmingly common as to pass without notice, of course.

Anyway, aside from the character designs, there's not a lot to comment on, as aside from those designs, issue 0 only contains three of the old Daring and USA Comics reprints. Fun stories, though, even with massive gaping plotholes. It's interesting to note that people of 60 years ago were willing to tolerate far more in the way of violence than we are now. Every single one of the heroes in those old stories kills someone, sometimes several people, and they get away with it, and it's seen as a good thing. I suspect that one of the things the heroes will have to deal with is the fact that killing with such impunity is no longer accepted.

The revised character designs are ... intriguing, let's say. Have a look at Captain Wonder, for example. Bare legs will certainly be an interesting thing to carry forward. (And I wonder how long it will be before Weston gets massively tired of doing the hairs on the legs like that). But ... well, thing about bare legs is, they draw your gaze down. And Captain Wonder ... kind of ain't so wonderful in certain areas, if you see what I mean. Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that the character ought to be Captain Steel'd, so to speak --- wait, yes, I am saying that. Poor man has a negadick right now. The thing about bare legs is that it draws your attention to how the anatomy fits together, and really, there ought to be a bit more there there. Of course, as soon as you do that, the fanboy masses scream. I have to admit, I don't entirely get that, but I think that's a rant for another time. I'm also curious about the Blue Blade, especially given Weston's character notes on that page. And I'm really curious as to what Marvel lets Straczynski get away with for these characters. They let him pull Squadron Supreme over to Marvel MAX, allowing for more in the way of violence and boobies. This appears to be on themain Marvel label, judging from the announcements and issue 0, so I'm guessing not so much with the boobies this time.

Kind of recommended, for the fun if exceeding violent old stories, but not actually required.

Robin 169 (Milligan/Baldeon/Bird; DC): ... Eergh. I'm beginning to think that Milligan should never be allowed near regular superhero series, because his brand of weird just doesn't work for them. Infinity Inc. is well-nigh incomprehensible -- though it may work better as a collection when done -- and Tim Drake is savagely out of character for this story. (Though the graveyard story in Robin Annual that was the first part of this crossover now feels a bit more connected.) He's just not stupid enough to do this, especially after he's been kidnapped, dragged all over the world, threatened with death, etc. The only purpose this issue serves is to produce the Nightwing/Robin smackdown due in next week's Nightwing. I will say that this Bat-crossover is being handled with amazing dispatch -- all of the issues have been on time, at least -- but starting with the end of the last issue and continuing with this one, it's gone rather impressively off the rails. I'll probably keep reading -- or rather, I'll look at next week's Nightwing to see if there's anything other than a smackdown with a pre-ordained conclusion -- but I couldn't seriously recommend that anyone else even look at the thing.

Invincible 47 (Kirkman/Ottley; Image): Mostly marking time on the way to The Super! Spectacular! Smackdown! In Issue 50! (Yes, yes, we know, issue 50 is going to be The Epic to End All Epics.) It felt very much like a chess-piece issue -- people all being moved where they need to be either physically or emotionally for issue 50 -- but a surprisingly enjoyable chess piece issue.
An Open Plea to Comics Writers: Could we please please PLEASE confine the zombie thing to Marvel Zombies and Walking Dead? PLEASE?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #9: No Future for You part 4 (Brian K. Vaughan/Georges Jeanty)
...Well, thank goodness that's over.

Look, it's not that it was badly written. And I understand that it was a means to an end; the slayers organization would need some way to go after rogue slayers. AFter all, not every single one of the thousands of girls who received superpowers on that day is going to be filled with the desire to save the world. It makes sense that Giles wants to protect Buffy from knowing what needs to be done or that he's doing it or from having to handle it herself, because he knows she really couldn't; it's consistent with what happened in "The Gift", when he killed Ben and never told Buffy what happened. Now that Buffy is really and truly the leader of thousands, she can't be seen to be sanctioning the murders of some of them. It even makes sense that Faith and Giles would be the ones to do what needs to be done; they're the two characters most likely to be able to live with it. However, to get there, Vaughan essentially ignored everything that happened with Faith in Angel and in the last season of Buffy. She grew up and changed in ways that just aren't reflected in "No future for you". (We will serenely ignore the sheer lunacy of Faith being trained to act as an English aristocrat, because the very concept is so absurd that you have to simply accept it as the story's "god point" to read the thing.)

If this were Faith right after the bodyswap episodes (which I can't remember the titles of), then yes, it works really well. That Faith was still bone-deep furious with and jealous of Buffy. If that's supposed to be Faith after she helped Buffy and the slayerettes save the world, then it simply doesn't work at all.

Atomic Robo #3 (Clevinger/Wegener/Pattison; Red 5): Man, that was just an unreasonable amount of fun. Intelligent robots, wandering attack pyramids in Egypt, stuff blowing up ... it's like BPRD as funneled through Raiders of the Lost Ark, in a way. It even manages to do the zombie thing in a not-at-all-annoying way. The sort of story that appeals to your inner kid. Plus one that you can give to your outer kid, if you happen to have one around. It doesn't stand alone; if you haven't read issue 2, you're going to be a bit lost, but only a bit. Highly recommended.

The Sword #3 (Luna Brothers; Image): In which the story moves forward incrementally, and a whole lotta people die. Lots and lots and LOTS of people. If you like sheer gory mayhem, this is your issue right here. In terms of story beats, mostly, it allows a lot of people to find out about Dara and the sword. Judging from the cover of issue 4, things are about to get very very sticky.

Dynamo 5 #9 (Faerber/Asrar/Riley): In which we discover new aspects to Scatterbrain's powers, and he gets intriguingly pissed off about something that happened while he was in a coma. I'm looking forward to seeing what exactly the explanation for his reaction is; it seems like the sort of thing that can only really go in one of three directions (with all of them carrying a certain element of "How dare you do that while you were pretending to be me!") and it's going to be interesting to see which of those directions Faerber picks.

Resurrection #1 (Marc Guggenheim/David Dumeer; Oni Press)

As Guggenheim says in the letters column, the base concept behind the story is "What happens next?" What happens after all the aliens have been killed in "Independence Day", for example? All the capitals and major cities of the world have been substantially destroyed; millions upon millions have been killed. In Guggenheim's case, he says he was inspired by "V: The Final Battle", which is essentially the same situation, except that in the V miniserieses, considerably more was left intact. In this case, it looks as though while V may have been a source of inspiration, Independence Day was a more direct antecedent. The aliens and the humans have been fighting across the surface of the world for over a decade, driving humans to live in underground bunkers the past few years. Oddly, later in the story, we discover that the aliens were here for considerably longer before fighting broke out, making one wonder why this all happened. (You also wnder how people have survived; it's clear that there can't have been any agriculture or manufacturing or transport during the worst of the wars, and this would have been the case world wide. So how did they manage to live?)

People are, depressingly, pretty much what you think they'd be after spending years underground. A gunfight nearly breaks out among some of the first to emerge. Sara, a youngish woman, gets disgusted by them all and sets out to walk to Washington DC, to see if anything is left. The government, it turns out, has been moved to, apparently, Berlin, New Hampshire, but Sara doesnt know that. On the way, she decides first to visit her son, and she happens to run into Ben, another refugee, and they decide to travel together.

I am, I must admit, very curious to see where this story goes. To see just how far "what happens next" can go. Dumeer's black and white art works really well most of the time, although there are places where he uses shadows in a way that make people faces look very eerie, in a way that the story doesn't quite seem to support. Are we meant to think of these people as creepy in that way? I guess we'll find out.

I do wonder how long this series is meant to run. Guggenheim's comments sound as though he's got a specific endpoint planned, and I suspect this may be more enjoyable as a whole than as a serial. Any road, recommended.

The Infinite Horizon #1 (Gerry Duggan/Phil Moto; Image)
Retelling the story of the Odyssey, updated to the modern day. In this story a soldier identified only as "The Captain" is in Syria, fighting what appears to be an ever expanding, never-ending war of the US versus the Middle East, when suddenly the entire world goes to hell in a handbasket. And through all of this, the Captain needs to get his men back home, through intractably hostile territory. Meanwhile, back at home, his wife Penelope tries to keep things going, standing between neighbors hostile to each other, but not to her. However far in the future this is, it appears that the water situation in this country has gotten peculiarly bad, perhaps due to some war-related cause we haven't yet seen or due to global warming; peculiar because absent major weather changes, the Catskills in New York shouldn't be experiencing the sorts of water shortages that would bring people to blows. (Then again, neither should Georgia in the here and now, and we all know how that's going, so maybe not so far fetched after all.)

Honestly, nothing about this story really grabbed me all that much. Part of it is just typical first-chapter expositionitis; we need to get at least a general idea of who people are and what's going on, and there's not a lot you can do to avoid exposition dumps for that. Part of it is that the art is so stylized that it doesn't quite feel like a good match to the story to me -- although, that said, I think the artist may be trying to faintly echo ancient Greek art, which makes sense.

I don't know if I'm curious enough to see what happens in issue 2, despite the fact that a lot more ought to be happening -- and it's not as though a lot didn't happen in issue 1, expositionitis or not. Just not my taste, I suspect.

Will Eisner's The Spirit #11, "Day of the Dead" (Cooke/Bone/Stewart; DC):
In which the interminable zombie plot finally comes to an end. And, to be fair, a very satisfying grand-guignol sort of end. And hey! there's a gay couple! This being a superhero story, they end about as well as you'd expect, especially given that they're one-shot supporting characters.

The story is a hard leadout from issue 10, starting with Ebony bandaging Denny's injuries from the beating he took at Montez' hands last issue. The story takes place on the night of November 2, el Dia de los Muertos, very appropriate to undead like Montez and Denny Colt, as Denny himself notes. Ellen goes to see a former fiancee, name of Argonaut Bones (...and, you know, after Ginger Coffee, the names in this series shouldn't get to me, but still, how can you not roll your eyes a little at that?). She's gone to see him because he's the most knowledgeable person she knows on the topic of folklore and zombies. He doesn't entirely believe her, but decides to go with her, and, of course, is rapidly made to believe by the zombie infestation spreading across the middle of Central City. It turns out that Argo and Ellen wind up being key elements of the story. (The nice thing about Ellen, overall, is that she's not merely a damsel to be distressed and rescued; in fact, she's been unusually UN-distressed, for a superhero's girlfriend, through the course of this series. She doesn't actually appear a lot, but when she dies, she's usually fairly important in the story.) This issue does form a reasonably satisfying ending to the Montez arc -- though perhaps it might leave Denny with a few psychological issues relating to his ongoing semi-zombiehood.

I am beginning to wonder if maybe I've just read the wrong stories in forming my opinion of what Eisner's Spirit actually was. This is the second time in four issues where you could reasonably approach Cooke's version by talking about the sheer overwhelming body count -- not just of the zombies, but of all the people they kill. Central City's police department, especially, has had the crap hammered out of it in those two issues; you wonder if anyone but Chief Dolan is even still alive. That, combined with the casual approach taken in the original issues of The Twelve (see above) to heroes killing off the bad guys makes me wonder if maybe there are a lot of issues that Eisner wrote where Denny does in the criminals then goes out singing a jaunty version of "Je ne regrette rien". And also makes me wonder if Frank Miller's approach to the film maybe isn't as wrongheaded as it sounds. Then I think, "Six villains! One movie!" and I get over that, at least. But I digress.

Dan Dare #1 (Garth Ennis/Gary Erskine; Virgin Comics)
Man, Ennis can be fun to read in a good old-fashioned comics way, when he decides to indulge himself.

"Dan Dare" resurrects an old British title, much as Ennis did last year with Battler Britton for DC/Wildstorm. Dan Dare himself was an international space pilot, back in the day. He fought the good fight, then retired (to a most surprising place) when Britain changed into something that he could no longer fight for. In the meantime, the rest of the world went to hell, with nuclear war bustin' out all over, and Britain surviving only because they had an effective SDI. The US is essentially a land of blasted craters where cities ought to be, as are Canada and Mexico. In any event, it turns out that the beings that Britain thought they'd defeated back in Dan Dare's day are still very much alive, and have retrenched to become more effective enemies. The British go to Dan Dare to recruit him to rejoin the fight, and of course he eventually agrees, because we wouldn't have any story if he didn't. Erskine's art is just perfect, matching that sort of old-time storytelling while being perfectly clean and modern. Looks like the story is going to be good old fashioned space-fighting fun. (So to speak.) Highly recommended.

Purchased but not reviewed: The Overman #1, Northlanders #1 -- I think I need to see issue 2 of both of those before I can express an opinion.


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags