Comix: The doujinshi of the western comics scene. Small press or self-published, comix are typically tales told of underground or fringe “lifestyles.” Very often intensely personal, they are a window into a life that may be yours.
I never read many comix or indeed many comics. When I did read comics (back in the Stone Age) my choices were superhero comics or Richie Rich and Archie. (Archie definitely deserves a read these days, as they lead American comics in positive presentation of gay characters.) I knew comix existed – there was a Spencer’s in my local mall, after all – but the whole sex, drugs and rock and roll of them didn’t appeal to young me. And I did encounter gay comics as a teen, but the drawing was inelegant, and again the whole sex, drugs, rock and roll and angry gayness of them left me unengaged.
So as I sat down to read No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, edited by Justin Hall and including artists that I have now had the opportunity to meet, talk with and grow to admire, I felt trepidation.
I was prepared to not feel – part of the thing. I expected the allegories of gay life, the “darling, we’re so gay” comix, the angry “you are ignoring AIDS and we’re dying you fucking fuck” comix. None of them would represent me, my coming out, my life, my dreams, my challenges. In fact, I considered this book to be more “other” than any manga I have ever read.
I couldn’t put it down.
Of course the pages include well-known names like Tom of Finland and Trina Robbins. It also taught me about Mary Wings, Lee Marrs and a host of writers I had never heard of. I marveled at how many of the creators I read in this collection I have been blessed to meet and chat with – my jealousy of their skill knows no bounds. So many of them are still creating now, right this very second. I marvel too, at how many of them make time to talk to fans on Twitter and Facebook. Above all, I am so proud to know so many names in this book. Their talent is amazing and so is their sheer niceness.
These are stories that had to be told, so they told them. They are still telling them.
If you care, even a little, about stories told by and for LGBTQ people, this book is an absolute must-have, must-read, must-evangelize.
Thank you to all the artists here and to Justin Hall for this collection that is raw and brutal, beautiful and surreal, totally wtf and wonderful!
Overall – Fabulous ^_^
Just FYI, Amazon JP has told me it’s going to be like 2 months or more before they send my next shipment of manga, so expect reviews heavy on the “related media,” while I mark time! ^_^ Lesbian novels, queer comics, Light Novels and random stuff I find on the Internet, ahoy!