lb_lee: A picture of Sneak smiling (sneak)
Hey guys, did you love the gorgeous textures and typography for our covers of the Homeless Year and Alter Boys In Love?  Awesome news, the designer friend who did those is now selling awesome queer disability pride shirts!  We're planning on buying the purple one with the pink 'disability pride' letters.

Also there's a sale going for about nine more hours, so snatch one on the cheap!

Woo, T-shirts!

--Sneak and Mori

lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Queer-baiting is a fascinating (and maddening) subject for me. I feel that it’s so complicated because there are different rules for different periods of time and different levels of mainstream. Getting a queer character in a gay newspaper comic was a totally different business than having one in mainstream superhero comics. However, I think I know what my personal dividing line is!

Namely: if a creator never brings up the queerness at all, that is fine. I accept that I am projecting myself and my desires into a work (or that the creator is sneaking under the radar). If a creator brings up the queerness and makes it open, ala Dykes to Watch Out For, then that too is fine--I have myself a genuine queer character! In neither case do I feel baited.

However, I do feel baited when the creators make clear that they’ve thought about the queerness involved and bring it up to the audience, only to then take pains shooting it down, or making a joke about it, or otherwise deflecting it. Then I am left with the feeling that a creator has thought about the idea of having a queer character, only to go, “Nah.”

Creators who intend to have actual queer characters, even if they use subtext at first, will show increasing care for the issues as time goes on, often fighting for more and more representation as their careers progress. That “baiting” feeling comes when the subtext is considered a feature, not a bug, and kept for its own sake, never to change. It’s that context that makes a big difference to me.
Read more... )...they deflect. Often with a joke. In I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League!, pictured above, the joke is at Booster Gold and the Blue Beetle’s expense--it’s funny because they’re offended and wigged out by the implication that they’re “more than friends,” or that their teammate would tell Booster’s wife that. And sure, this is a comedy book where everyone acts ridiculous, but still, the base undertone of the story isn’t that being gay for your best friend is okay. (For even when characters say “there’s nothing wrong with it,” it’s hard to believe them when there are no queer characters to model it.) It’s that being gay for your best friend is... well, a joke. And also might get you in trouble with your spouse.
Even when the joke is ostensibly “friendlier,” the deflection aspect bugs me. The bromance of Hot Fuzz doesn’t have the same punch-line as the I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League joke. In Hot Fuzz, there was originally going to be a female love interest character for Simon Pegg’s character, but the character was scrapped and her lines given to Nick Frost’s character instead. The joke mostly seems to be about embracing that homoeroticism, perhaps asking why it makes people uncomfortable, or where the line is drawn. The actors and director involved voiced their official support for slash fic about the characters, even calling Hot Fuzz slash fic all on its own.

But here’s the thing. Pegg and Frost’s characters, for all this lauding and official approval, aren’t actually gay. They might star in an R-rated movie with impalement, decapitation, and geysers of blood, but they aren’t gay. The screencap above is the gayest things will get. The whole thing is just jokes--winks at their audience and fanbase, along the lines of “you’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

Unlike Coville or Stevenson, these guys don’t show increasing engagement as their work progresses; this is all anyone gets. In Shaun of the Dead from 2004, there were jokes about Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s characters being gay for each other. In Hot Fuzz from 2007, there were jokes about Pegg and Frost’s characters being gay for each other. And in Paul, from 2011? You guessed it, jokes about Pegg and Frost’s characters being gay for each other, where the title character asks by simulating a blowjob and then insisting that there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s exactly the same level of jokes and engagement, no change--and again, it’s hard to say “there’s nothing wrong with it” when you never actually allow any character to say they’re “it” on screen. Never once do any of the characters involved say, “Why, yes, I am” when asked if gay. In Shaun of the Dead and Paul, they say no. In Hot Fuzz, the question is never asked to begin with. When the creators are asked, they joke around it, but never really say, knowing that the ambiguity is all part of the game.

After all, “slashy” and “gay” are not the same thing. Slash, by its very definition, requires that it not be canon.
I’m not saying that these works are bad; like I said, I enjoyed them a lot at the time. And I’m not saying they can’t be helpful or meaningful to queer folks; part of why I loved Hot Fuzz and I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League! so much in college was because I myself felt that my being gay was terrible and bad, so I found the ambiguity and deflection relatable and engaging. It allowed me to think about things like the fact that I was gay for my best friend or wanted to cuddle with him while still pretending to myself that I could be a conventionally masculine, “normal” guy, avoiding the stigma of being gay.

But that was me projecting myself into the narrative, not what the narrative was actually telling me. That was me having such a dearth of actual gay characters to relate to that I found straight characters who said they were straight more relatable!

As time went on, that changed. I found more queer media with actual queer characters, and realized that the stereotypes in my head did not actually reflect queer reality. I discovered that queer stories were so much more than the soap opera tragedy and coming out stories I’d read so many times before--that I could read about queer superheroes, queer space captains, queer lovers who could actually kiss and fuck on-screen and say “I love you” on-screen, without an immediate, “you know, in a platonic way.” I could read about people who were actually like me, not people I pretended were like me.

Had I read ICBINTJL or watched Hot Fuzz now for the first time, I probably wouldn’t like them very much. I didn’t get to Paul until a year or two ago, and I didn’t enjoy the bromance; as I watched Seth Rogen’s alien mime blowjobs for laughs, only to say, “not that there’s anything wrong with it,” I only felt uncomfortable, knowing that I was the joke, that someone like me would never be allowed to actually be queer on that screen.  Even when Paul said that everyone on his planet was bisexual, it rang false to me.  If that were true, why would he ask?  Why would he do so coyly by miming blowjobs instead of asking straight-out?

Because the performance was not actually intended to be for my benefit, or my bi husband's benefit.  It was for the straight audience's benefit, the ones who were in on the joke.

And that was when I felt baited.
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
Work SURVIVED.  Praise be.

To celebrate, I bought a used copy of Rupert Kinnard's B.B and the DivaI have about half a little shelf devoted to queer comics, and I'm excited to add another one of the old classics!

Now.  Rest.

--Rogan

lb_lee: M.D. making a shocked, confused face (serious thought)
The Big Multi DW Intro Post is blowing up again, and I'm sorry guys, I'm a slow turtle-man and can't keep up with you!

I PROMISE I WILL COMMENT.  Just... when I'm less overwhelmed!

EDIT: Ivan Velez Jr. responded to my email! @_@ AAAAAAH

lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Oh man, I had a total lucky break!

So, we thought we had a dentist appointment today.  Turns out no, their automated texts were wrong, and since no human being actually checked with me, I had no way of knowing that it's actually next week.  Bummer, right?

Except I'm not sad at all, because it meant we got into the radical bookshop when it was open.  Got to do some business, sure, but even better, you'll never guess what I found in their fucking free box!  It was a bunch of queer comics from the old days, the first 21 issues of Hothead Paisan, and the complete series of Tales of the Closet! (I thought that I was missing the last issue, #10, but it turns out it was never printed at all!)

Holy crap!  I gave Hothead Paisan to my roomie and her girlfriend, but I'd wanted to read Tales of the Closet for years, but it's been out of print for ages, near as I can figure.  But now it's mine, ALL MINE!

I can't believe they just had it in a free box!  They had no idea the gold mine they were sitting on, Jesus!

--Rogan

EDIT:  Also I got Jeanine Renne’s Andy Blake book, When a Fan Hits the Shit, from [personal profile] dreamer_marie  today!  Best book day ever?  BEST BOOK DAY EVER.
lb_lee: A picture of Sneak smiling (sneak)
We were well enough to go to our neighborhood Pride block party!

I found a nice shady un-crowded spot near the entrance and the ATM and did free queer tarot readings for folks, using my Thea's Tarot deck, a radical lesbian feminist deck from a local! :D I did maybe a dozen readings, and some of them gave me money.  It let me meet all sorts of new people and chat with them and share this little hint of local queer history with them!

And I got a purple hoodie from a yard sale!  A past owner sewed yellow spikes and purple wings on it, so it is now my SPYRO THE DRAGON HOODIE!  I can't believe I found it for two bucks!

What a great Pride.  And Biff had a great time too!

--Sneak
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
There must be some bibliophilic older queer woman in my neighborhood who keeps dropping her queer books in the free library. Whoever she is, THANK YOU LADY!

From this hypothetical human, I have managed to get my hands on Exile and Pride, a really crappy pink book about multiplicity that I ditched, and now The Lusty Lady which is about the woman-owned peep show by the same name in Seattle. Back in the 90s, a photographer wanted to tell the dancers’ stories, only to be told that if she wanted to get it, she needed to work there. So she did, and the book is made up of her photos and work stories.

I picked the book up because I’ve heard of the Lusty Lady and wanted to learn about it, only to get an awesome reference text of queerness, sex work, and women in the 90s.

--Rogan
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
One of the bonuses of my profession is that every independent queer comics creator in the area seems to meet me at some point.  Which means I now have delightful access to some freaking FANTASTIC indy queer comics.  For someone who struggled finding queer material I liked as a teenager, I am in hog heaven.

So, time for a list!  In this case, my favorite indy queer comics. (Excluding porn, which gets its own list.) To simplify things for myself, I'm putting in some provisos: only one title per author, only series that are either complete or which I am sure will finish, only shit I own/read regularly, and only titles that are still legally findable.  Anyway, in no particular order here they are!  I hope other folks enjoy them and check them out!
COMICS! )
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
Hey guys, I finally typed up my notes for my trans comics talk from November, and put up all the materials for it and my queer comics talk on Patreon for you guys to enjoy!  Now it's all in one place for y'all to download. (And it's public, so you don't need to worry about being a patron to get it.)
lb_lee: A tiny scribbly Rogan fleeing for his life with the big words, OH NO EMOTION (emotions)

Because Calamus Bookstore (the last gay bookstore in Boston) is shutting down for good, us and roomie went to ransack its bones and buy all the queer stuff we could get our little hands on.

I did not have much luck in traditional books, but I did have a pretty neat haul!  I got some leather pride flag stickers, found a tiny trans pride flag lapel pin, some old gay mags (worse comes to worse, Sneak can chop them up for zer craft projects), but that is not the crown jewel of my haul!  I found a really cool surprise hidden in there!

For some reason, I found a copy of Oni Comics/Rosy Press’s Fresh Romance!  The thing was, it wasn’t a book.  It looked like all the pages in proof form, just printed out (at very high quality) on ordinary paper, held together with brads.  No cover or anything, just... a pre-book, as it were.

And I got it for like $6!  Dang right I nabbed that sucker!  And it was really awesome and cute and I’m so glad I was able to get all this stuff for less than $20 altogether.

Goodbye Calamus.  You were a great shop. :(

--Rogan

lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
A heads up to my local people, it looks like the last gay bookstore of Boston is closing this week!  All remaining goods are 25% off!  We're going to be making an excursion, try and buy up as many of the good old gay comics they've got... it's where I got my copy of Leonard and Larry a few years back!

Anyone want to join in?

--Rogan

lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Hey guys, did you know there's a Queer Cartoonists Database?  And that it accepts submissions?

I've already added a bunch of my cartoonist buddies; add yours, and also explore to find more comics that you want to read!  This thing might look old-fashioned, but it's got images, demographic information, and lots of links.  A true labor of love.
lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)

Flier image for Here, Queer, Comics--full description below

Here, Queer, Comics
!

An LGBT comics show and tell with LB Lee, hosted by New Spirit MCC, Northside Second Saturday Entertainment, at 4033 Hamilton Ave. Cincinnati OH on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7:30!

I'll be talking about queer, trans, and gender nonconforming creators and characters in the US comics industry, from Red Tornado and Madame Fatal to the webcomics of today!  I will have my own rather large personal supply of LGBT comics for folks to read and check out.  If you're in the area, you should visit me!

lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
Being queer myself, I write a lot of characters with non-normative sexualities.  Also, due to the nature of how my series' run, a lot of stories may have it never come up--they usually have something else going on.  For my readers' enjoyment and edification, I figured I'd give a brief write-up for folks there, in the spirit of the Big Ace List and the Big Trans List.

Just because a character doesn't have something written, don't assume that means they're straight.  It just means I don't know.

Infinity Smashed

Read more... )

The Princess and Her Monster

Read more... )Reverend Alpert
Read more... )

Battle The Universe

Read more... )

Old Bloods
Read more... )

Miscellaneous

Read more... )
lb_lee: A pencil sketch of me drawing/writing in my sketchpad. (art)
So, ysabetwordsmith linked me to an interesting blog post on asexuality in fiction. Being demi myself, and living in a system that skews aceward, I thought I'd highlight my ace characters, plus the characters who I don't consider ace, but could be read that way.

A fairly safe assumption in my work is that if someone's sexuality isn't stated and they show no interest in anyone in the story, they're ace. But apparently a lot of folks might assume they're sexual anyway, so here are some of the biggies.

Superheroes, aliens, and other such folks. )
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (librarian)
When we read a book, or watch a movie or whatever, we will assume a character is not interested, and their sexuality will just be left blank until otherwise changed.  If a character is proven to be interested, we'll assume them to be attracted to the gender of the character they're hitting on, and leave the option for other gender attractions blank.  So yeah, I've got no problem with a bi Guy Gardner or Harry Potter.

Anyway.  There are some adult characters who we read specifically as asexual.  For instance:

A few heroes, including one who talks to toasters! )
Apparently this is supposed to be rare or something and nobody ever imagines other characters as being asexual.  With my friend's list, I refuse to believe that's true.  Got any more characters to add to the list?
Page generated Oct. 21st, 2017 06:39 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios