Archive for the Western Comic/Comix Category

LGBTQ Comic: Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, Part One

August 11th, 2017

 Legend of Korra: Turf Wars is a continuation of the Legend of Korra animated series, co-created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, illustrated by Irene Koh, published by Dark Horse Comics. Picking up immediately after the end of the cartoon, the story begins with Korra and Asami in the spirit world. Their vacation comes to an abrupt end when they encounter a hostile spirit, but, it turns out that their presence is needed in the human world. 

In their absence, there have been several major issues that have developed in and around Republic City. Refugees from the wars at the end of the cartoon remain unhoused and the mayor is uninterested in helping them beyond the minimum amount of support. he can provide while he focuses on reelection. Unsurprisingly, morale is low and tensions are high. A real estate developer with ties to organized crime is attempting to exploit the land around the new spirit portal, with plans to turn the spirit realm into a destination vacation. The spirits are not at all pleased with the idea. Every single sentence in this paragraph should make you roll your eyes and sigh with frustration at the timeliness of the narrative, (excepting, perhaps, the bit about the spirits and I’m not sure that isn’t true either.) As I pointed out today on Twitter, have we learned nothing from decades of Scooby-Doo reruns? Real estate developers are always the bad guys. Meanwhile Bolin and Mako have become police officers and work with Bei Fong to maintain the always-tenuous peace in Republic City as organized crime is once again growing in power.

The set-up here is multilayered and complicated, as it always was in the cartoon. Neither Avatar: The Last Airbender nor Legend Of Korra were simple tales of good and evil. Every plot and subplot had nuance. People had complicated reasons for their actions, their motivations were human and obtuse at times and the only truly “evil” characters are ideologues who benefited from the discord sowed by their rhetoric and the people that were controlled by it. (Another sigh seems appropriate at this point.)

And above and beyond all this completely realistic human conflict of resources, energy, ideology, needs and desires, Korra and Asami are working on fitting the unit that is “them,” as a couple, into everything. 

Their first task is coming out to Korra’s family, which goes well, but when her father suggests they be cautious about letting people know about their relationship, Korra predictably takes that very personally. Tension rises between Korra and her parents and Korra and Asami. Resolution cannot come in this first volume, but I expect it will be forthcoming.

It is Kya who provides context for us all, explaining that the Water Tribe tends to keep personal business very private, while the Fire Tribe had been open to same-sex couples until Sozin had outlawed it. The Earth Tribe, we learn, moves slowly and has not yet come around to accepting same-sex relationships. The Air Tribe alone has no issues at all with human sexuality is its many forms. Kya also speaks of a girlfriend, something that is nice to have surfaced. It provides Korra and Asami a person to speak candidly with…something that will no doubt be critical in the narrative. I hope so, at any rate.

The conversation with Kya is also key because it sets the table for what will have to be any number of outings in the course of the story, both private and public  – as it is in real life. Those of us who come out don’t just do it once.  The presumption of heterosexuality is pervasive and so we’re often required to out ourselves to complete strangers just to make a simple point. It’s not hard to see how Asami will be targeted to get to the Avatar, how the Avatar’s relationship will be used against her and how all the characters we know and some we do not yet know, will be reacting to this in some way.

Korra and Aasmi’s relationship is front and center by the end of the volume, when Korra, worried that Asami is hurt, kisses her in front of a crowd of people, including Bolin and Mako. Mako’s reaction is realistically complex for completely understandable reasons.

Characters are written consistently with the way they were presented with the cartoon- – not surprising as one of the co-creators is doing the writing. If anything, because of the limited page count, they are very much the essence of themselves. Pacing is quick. This volume feels like a very brisk 2 episodes of the cartoon, with slower moments implied, rather than lingered upon. Upon a second read, I’m impressed with how much ground they covered in 80 pages. There were a lot of conversations that had to be distilled down and still be handled with layers of meaning intact.


Art – 8
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Service – 0
Yuri – 10

Overall – A very solid 9

My wife asked me if this book was everything I’ve ever wanted. After some thought I said, no, it isn’t, but it is everything that this book needs to be which, in a lot of ways is much better. There’s no age or grade rating on the book cover, but it displays the Nickelodeon logo prominently and is listed as Age Range 9-12, Grade Level 4-7 on Amazon. Which makes Turf Wars the tween LGBTQ book we all needed when we were kids. A nice older gay couple and a trans character or 3, maybe a non-binary character and it’ll start approaching perfect. ^_^ 

The creative team is very aware of their role in offering up solid queer representation for young people, as they say in this Entertainment Weekly interview with Koh and DiMartino. Koh describes herself as a “bisexual Asian martial artist” and she’s bringing both ethnic and sexual/gender diversity to the characters, as she told Comic Book Resources in May. Based on my first readthroughs, I trust them to do a good job. 

I think this comic will be good for comics in general, as it is #1 in all its Amazon categories at the moment. Like Lesbian Experience With Loneliness, (still #1 in gay manga!) sales are going to walk the walk and talk the talk that diversity is not something to be scared of in the comics world, no matter how loud the naysayers are. (And really, they aren’t loud, they are just used to having the mic.)

My very very sincere thanks to Okazu Superhero Eric P for sponsoring today’s review! This was awesome for me to come home to after Yurithon, and has already become part of my “don’t miss” Yuri presentation for 2017!

I’ve already given this book a second read and probably will pick it up for a third when Book 2 is released in the beginning of 2018!

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LGBTQ: Legend of Korra Turf Wars, Part One Preview on Amazon (English)

July 17th, 2017

Via Senior YNN Correspondent Eric P. we have some really exciting news today.  Legend of Korra: Turf Wars, Part One is due to hit shelves at the beginning of August and Amazon has a preview of the first chapter.

You know how I am with managing expectations, but for once, I have very high hopes that this book will break ground. And, from the glimpses I’ve had from the preview and the of-course leaked pages on the Internets, it look like our hopes will be realized. Korra and Asami will be balancing relationship and teamwork in this series. As the description reads, “In order to get through it all, Korra and Asami vow to look out for each other–but first, they’ve got to get better at being a team and a couple!

There, they said it.

I don’t know if this is the first mainstream large publisher, commercial property to ever say that so plainly or not, but it sure is one of the biggest YA franchises to do so. And certainly the only one I can think of where the lead was the one in the same-sex relationship, not a supporting role. We still love you Willow, just you weren’t Buffy… and I see all my favorite female characters stretching back to my childhood, all the almosts and might have and should have beens starting with like Jaimie Summers in the Bionic Woman. My life is littered with crumbs of female leads that ought to have been gay… and here we are. Finally. 2017 and we finally have a lead character of major commercial franchise who is a lesbian and the relationship is with another major character, not just someone to kill off.

Enjoy the preview and wait patiently a few more weeks. ^_^

Many thanks to Eric for the heads up and for the sponsorship!


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Western Comic: Small Favors: The Definitive Girly Porno Collection

May 29th, 2017

Colleen Coover’s “Girly porno comic” Small Favors was first published by Eros Comix in the early 2000s. I had heard of it, of course, but by the time I was interested in getting it, it was already out of print, woops.  So, although I’ve known about and seen some of Small Favors for years, I hadn’t ever had a chance to read all of it.

2017 has already been an amazing year for lesbian comics and Yuri manga. We have comic essays and romances that aren’t exploitative or annoying (and romances that are exploitative or annoying) but we were missing some good old-fashioned porn. Well…that’s been taken care of now.  Small Favors: The Definitive Girly Porno Collection is exactly what it says in the title. 

Annie is a young woman who enjoy masturbation. A lot. So much that the Queen of her Conscience feels Annie is wasting her life. She sets Nibbil, her own daughter, to inhibit Annie. Unfortunately, Nibbil is just as interested in sex as Annie and together they sex it up in a variety of ways. As the story develops, Annie and Nibbil add a friend, Sage, to their fun and eventually get to include Annie’s neighbor and another emissary from the Queen.

The art is very competent and tends to lean toward fun over anything else. Backgrounds and characters are rendered in simple black and white line work, with hand-drawn shadows and backgrounds. A very “western” looking comic. The later chapters include a full-color story, sketches, character studies and mini-comics. This collection includes all the published chapters of Small Favors and a previously unpublished chapter. It also has a delightful Foreword by Kelly Sue DeConnick.

This is a very sex-positive book. If there is a moral, it’ “Sex is fun, we should all have more sex.” And the sex is also very explicit and creative. Nibbil’s natural size is that of a small figurine, which allows her to enjoy Annie very up close. She can also take on a human sized form. But along with being sex-positive, this comic is also love-positive. Nibbil and Annie love each other, but that doesn’t mean they have sex exclusively with each other. Their friends are welcome to join in.


Art – 8
Story – 7 It’s porn, so a set-up each chapter, rather than a “story” per se.
Characters – 8 All likeable, which is good, because we spend a lot of very intimate time with them.
Service – 100 It’s women having sex. Sometimes group sex.
Yuri – 9 It’s women in love who are not lesbians, per se.

Overall – 8

If you’re in the mood for some fairly explicit lesbian sex in a variety of places, poses, positions, costumes and with a varying number of participants, you will enjoy the heck out of Small Favors.

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Western Comic: The Black Feather Falls

May 14th, 2017

Having fun at a comic show is a matter of making fun for yourself. If you like celebrity and media premieres, the big Comic-Con shows are a good bet. If you like spending time with comic artists you like, smaller shows are the way to go. And if you, like me, rejoice in explosions of creativity in independent comics, then shows that celebrate people who make, read and love comics are  a lot of fun. Of all the shows I attend, Comitia, TCAF, MoCCA and Queers & Comics are the ones that I enjoy the most. Not because I don’t love a three-ring media circus or 10,000 vendors all crammed into a huge space, but because of the sheer energy of creativity.

Today I am enjoying the final day of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival in Toronto and thought it a great day to speak of a comic I picked up at the MoCCA Fest in NYC,  sponsored by the Society of Illustrators after they acquired the titular Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art. 

This year I went primarily to see a lot of people I already knew and throw money at them. I picked up the print version of Power & Magic there and literally spent my last few buck on today’s acquisition. 

Ellen Lindner’s The Black Feather Falls, is the Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery comic with a team of women leads that I needed. 

Tina Swift is an American living in 1920s London, in hopes of avoiding familial pressure to marry and  to get herself a career. Tina is working as a shopgirl, but hopes to become a newspaper reporter. When she attempts to see a man about a newspaper job, she encounters a dead man on the street, next to which a black feather has fallen.  Also strangely, she cannot find the man with whom she was supposed to meet at the paper. Instead she encounters his snarky, somewhat bitter secretary, Miss MacInteer. 

The absence of MacInteer’s boss and the black feather, launch Swift and MacInteer into a massive mystery that involves strangely insular islands off the coast of Scotland and the London underworld. The two women come to rely on and trust one another and, in the end turn up to be a great team of reporters…and detectives.

There isn’t any relationship developing between Swift and MacInteer in this story. The book itself is rated appropriate for all ages, and lacks significant violence or sex. That said, don’t underestimate the power of fandelusion. I could easily see them having an ill-advised fling. ^_^

But, more importantly, a team of adventuress-detectives have been born and I know I need more of those!


Art – 7 Not sophisticated, but fun
Story – 8 We all need a little female detective teamwork from time to time
Characters – 8 They rub each other the wrong way, but make a good team, just the way they should
Yuri – 0 for real, 2 inside my head
Service – 0

Overall – 8

So if you too enjoy a spot of original comics story-telling and all the 1920’s detective pairs you can get, you’ll want to take a look at The Black Feather Falls

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LGBTQ Comic: Princess Princess Ever After

May 12th, 2017

There is a (probably apocryphal) story about the late Joseph Campbell, when teaching a class about his now-classic Hero’s Journey Monomyth. The story says that at the end of a lecture on the Arthurian quest legends about the Holy Grail, one of his students asked why there were no roles in the legends with which women could identify. Campbell was puzzled and pointed out that women are present as the hero’s mother, the hero’s queen, and the damsel-in-distress. “What more do you want?” he asked. “I want to be the hero.” the student replied.”

I recall that it was Bill Moyers telling that story, but itw as also a long time ago and I could be so very wrong. But the story itself, when I heard it had me nodding like a melodramatic bobble head. Of course, you stupid-smart old man. OF COURSE we want to be the hero. How and why this confused Campbell and still confuses an awful lot of men is the history of western civilization and beyond the scope of this blog. But, what is dead-center in this blog’s wheelhouse is a story that does not need to be convinced of this simple truth. Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill is a lifetime’s worth of itch-scratching and fantasy fulfillment suitable for the youngest or oldest child you know.

Princess Amira cuts a fine figure in uniform, with her fabulous hair, riding on her unicorn mount, Celeste. And when she encounters Sadie, a princess who has been imprisoned in a tall tower, she’s sure that’s she’s found both the perfect monumental adventure, and princess, for her. But first, she has to convince Sadie to be rescued. And then both Sadie and Armina must work together to face challenges and ogres and traumatic pasts. But since they do it together, you just know they’ll triumph in the end.

Although my childhood self might have scoffed at the simplicity of the tale here (she was prone to reading the story of Marco Polo, tales of Robin Hood and King Arthur in overblown faux-medieval prose) she would definitely, positively appreciated Armina’s uniform, her unicorn and her love for Sadie.


Art – 8 Fun and comic strip-y
Characters – 9 Ogres and unicorns and dragons and princesses. I’m all in.
Story – 9 Ichijinsha needs to read this, then take another crack at Yuri Light Novels. See? It’s easy!
Yuri – 9 and utterly adorable
Service – Nope. Well, there’s Armina in a uniform….

Overall – 9

Do the adventurous girl children you know a favor and buy them an early holiday present. Heck, buy them a not-holiday present. And get a copy of Princess Princess Ever After for yourself, so you can dream of dancing with ogres and facing bullies down and give ole misogynist Joseph Campbell the finger. ^_^

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