Tag Archives: lgbt

Bash Back, A Story of the Queer Mafia Chats with Graphic Policy Radio this Monday

GP Radio pic MondayThis Monday is a brand new episode of Graphic Policy Radio and joining us are the team behind the webcomic Bash Back. The comic is described as “a story of the Queer Mafia” from the minds and creativity of writers Kelsey Hercs and Lawrence Gullo and artist Fyodor Pavlov. The webcomic is updated each Monday.

The show airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

After thousands of years of bloodshed, torment, and ridicule, now is the time to take what is ours. Bash Back comic is a cathartic, hyper-violent, contemporary queer revenge fantasy.

Kelsey Hercs is a playwright and performer based in New York City. Bash Back is her first foray into writing for comics, and she is thrilled that this project is the one she’s cutting her comic-writing teeth on.

Russian emigre Fyodor Pavlov is a freelance illustrator, comic artist and smut peddler. In print, Pavlov’s work can be found in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, The Ouroboros Cycle, Queerotica: A Comics Anthology, and more. His latest comics foray is the art of Bash Back. Together with his husband and creative partner Lawrence Gullo, he co-directs Dr. Sketchy’s NYC, throws costume parties and raises a very spoiled cat.

Lawrence Gullo – Writer, colorist, and graphic design for Bash Back.  Artist and performance artist.  Speaker on transgender issues.

Listen to the show live this Monday at 10pm ET.

We want to hear your questions. Tweet them to us @graphicpolicy.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for this week? While you decide, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web.

Around the Tubes

Panels – Out with a BOOM!: An Overview of Queer Comics 2015 – An interesting overview.

ICv2 – Game Store Chain Coming to U.S. – This could be interesting.

Panels – Comic Book Suggestions for Emma Watson’s Feminist Book Group – Some great suggestions here.

CBR – Chinese Conglomerate Buys Legendary Entertainment – But what does this mean for Pacific Rim 2!?

Panels – Off-Panel: The 50 Best Comics Covers of 2015 – What are your favorite covers?


Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Doctor Crowe #1

Alaska Dispatch – My Degeneration: A Journey Through Parkinson’s

Around the Tubes

It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d everyone get? What was everyone excited for? Let us know in the comments!

While you think about that, here’s some comic book news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Teen Vogue – 7 Comic Books with Badass LGBT Characters – Cool to see Teen Vogue covering comics more.

Comics Alliance – Hasbro Cinematic Universe Will Team G.I. Joe, Micronauts, and More – Transformers being included would make much more sense.

Popoptiq – The 10 Greatest Star Wars Comics on Marvel Unlimited – If you’re looking for some reads while you wait in line to get in.

Panels – Start ‘Em Early: Comics for Young Kids – Some solid suggestions.


Around the Tubes Reviews

The Rainbow Hub – Batman #47

Comic Vine- Batman & Robin Eternal #11

The Rainbow Hub – Catwoman #47

Talking Comics – Insexts #1

Comic Vine – Klaus #2

The Rainbow Hub – Lumberjanes #21

The Rainbow Hub – Power Up #6

The Rainbow Hub – The Wicked + The Divine #17

Icv2 – Yo-Kai Watch Vol. 1 & 2

Log Cabin Republicans Superfriends

The Log Cabin Republicans is the LGBT organization for members of the Republican party (yes, there’s gay Republicans). The group put together a Super Friends homage to show their support for some Congressmen. The video was originally shown at the 2015 Spirit of Lincoln Event.

Prism Comics Announces New Queer Comics Anthology

Prism Comics has been working hard to promote the queer comics reading experience. To that end they have teamed up with Stacked Deck Press to bring you a new LGBT comics project. A benefit book to raise funds for the annual Queer Press Grant that helps LGBT comic book self publishers.

In a release, Jon Macy Prism Comics Queer Press Grant chair said:

This is going to be a great anthology with many established comics creators as well as fresh and exciting new voices. Yes, the ultimate goal is to raise money for the grant, but my secret agenda has always been to find a way to promote the many amazing artists that have submitted exceptional proposals over the years. I want to give them the chance to show off their talents in a sweet full color hardback book. Doing this really makes us happy.

The queer publishing world is a small one, and not what it was even ten years ago. Many small presses have gone under, and it has become harder and harder for new LGBT comics creators to find publishers. One of Prism’s own is stepping up to create Stacked Deck Press, an all-inclusive publishing house that focuses on gender, sexual, regional, and ethnic diversity among creators, and diversity of style and genre in story content. Alphabet will be their first book.

Tara Avery, Publisher of Stacked Deck Press, said:

We wanted to highlight the many varieties of the LGBTQ experience and in recent years the queer comics movement has gained visibility from coast to coast. Alphabet is an attempt to bring cartoonists together that represent a broad cross-section of our community and culture.

Alphabet the LGBTQAI cartoonists from Prism Comics to benefit the Queer Press Grant will debut at Wondercon 2016, March 25-27 at the Los Angeles convention center in California. Look for their crowd funding campaign coming in October.

Alphabet 2

Did We Just Get Our First “Out” Transformer?

There’s some spoilers here, so if you don’t want to find out what happens in Transformers #44, out today from IDW Publishing, then you might want to leave and come back later.

Still here? Ok, lets begin.

needlenoseWritten by John Barber with art by Andrew Griffith, issue focuses on Tracks and Needlenose, brothers split due to the war. The issue focuses on their relationship and history before, and after the war. Needlenose in the beginning is swayed to Megatron’s cause by Horri-Bull. Needlenose’s cause is more about disenfranchisement, and haves and have nots, while Megatron was much grander and focused on the corruption of the ruling class as a whole. While the two views align, they’re not quite the same thing.

And now some more background about the relationship that was Needlenose and Horri-Bull. For those that don’t know, Needlenose and Horri-Bull teamed up post war harassing bots that took neither side in the war referred to as Nails. This led to a confrontation where Horri-Bull refused to back down in his harassment forcing Bumblebee to detonate a chip blowing up Horri-Bull’s head.

That incident has clearly stuck with Needlenose, who in a confrontation with Tracks in a bar declares that Horri-Bull was the “one bot I’ve ever loved.” Wait…. what!?

In the Transformers world there’s a concept called Conjux Endura. Some have said this is the idea of a spouse, but it might be better to describe it as power of attorney. It has come out more when a bot’s life is on the line and a decision has to be made. The concept isn’t universally accepted in the Transformers universe, with some dismissing close relationships like this as embarrassing.

firestar_nauticaFor those that have been reading IDW’s Transformer comics for a while now, this isn’t the first “male” bot pairing though, while it might be the first to use that word “love.”

In Transformers: More Than Meets the EyeChromedome and Rewind have been an inseparable couple for quite some time now. A “same-sex” couple that stay by each other’s side through the ages. At times the coupling to me felt more Maverick/Goose in Top Gun (yes, I chose that pairing specifically), but it’s hard to argue the two aren’t together in ways that are more than friends.

More recently, with the introduction of the female Transformer dominated world of Caminus, we’ve also been introduced to the concept of Amicua Endura, which Firestorm and Nautica (two female bots) are. This one though did have a different tone, with Firestorm referring to Nautica as her “best friend,” and they “lived together.” Later on the word “platonic” is used in reference to the concept. It’s a similar concept to Conjux Endura, but clearly more “best friend” than real relationship. In this particular case Sorority Sister might not be too far off either.

The only other instance where the word “love” was used was with Chromedome and Rewind. Upon his death, in a final message good-bye Rewind says something “he doesn’t say enough” “I love you.” If there were doubts about how deep the two’s relationship went, this scene clearly defined it.

In an email from Transformers writer John Barber in response to my inquiry, he said I’m “not reading too much into it.” And reminded me Needlenose and Horri-Bull weren’t the first.

Many might see a comic based on a toy line and dismiss it. But, for years now the comic has been one of the most politically, and socially aware comics on the market. It has not only explored revolution, governmental collapse, nation building, class warfare, and more. The series in the last year has introduced more female named characters than many comic universes currently have. Arcee, Windblade, Chromia, Nautica, Firestorm, Proxima, Acceleron, Velocity, Skystalker, Javelin, Exocet, Skimmer, a whole planet dominated by female bots in Caminus, and the all female combiner Victorion. The series has grown to not just be politically aware, but also one of the most progressive comics out there. The fact it can have a scene such as Needlenose as if it’s just an everyday occurrence is energon icing on the cake.

This series and universe is expanding its representation while other companies are retrogressively shrinking it. For that we should celebrate and give props where they’re due.

Robinson Apologized for Airboy Issue 2 Because We United and Took Action

“If There Is No Struggle, There Is No Progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will”. – Frederick Douglass*

Airboy02_CoverActivism gets results. Graphic Policy and The Rainbow Hub were criticized by people in the comics community when we took action against the extremely transphobic second issue of Airboy. But because we raised hell we made progress. That’s the lesson people should be taking away from this.

On June 30th Graphic Policy and The Rainbow Hub‘s Emma Houxbois published stories calling attention to the rampant transphobia in the second issue of the Airboy comic. I’d lavished praise over the comic’s first issue. We knew the context the story took place in and it was the story itself that was transphobic, not just words that characters said while “behaving badly”. Our sites’ explained how the comic’s narrative repeats the dangerous myth that trans women are out there trying to “trick” men into sex with them. We explained that this myth endangers trans people and in a world in which “trans panic” still gets used as an excuse to murder trans people we need to react as strongly as possible when it is repeated.

And we heard crickets in response.

On July 2nd I emailed GLAAD, the most powerful media watchdog for LGBTQ people. We know that when GLAAD speaks out they can’t be ignored and the comics world knows it too– since GLAAD’s known for giving awards to comics that have positive portrayals of LGBTQ characters. GLAAD sprung into action. They issued a statement. And between their clout and the outcry we organized, we forced the comics community to pay attention to the problems in the comic.

And then James Robinson apologized. Robinson heard what we said, and he listened and explained that he now realizes that he “fucked-up” (his words) . I’m not trans but his apology seemed earnest and thoughtful to me. Some trans people were not impressed but others have responded favorably to his apology.

Only July 6, artist Greg Hinkle went so far as to THANK people who spoke up on Twitter and offer to continue the conversation at Comic-Con.

Meanwhile, what about all those defenders of Airboy #2? They continue to promote bigotry. Robinson acknowledged the problems with his comic. He wants to do better. When the artists who created the comic are saying that they now see the problem in what they made, their defenders should probably take a minute and use their hearts and their heads to listen. More importantly, they need to stop and listen to transwomen like Emma Houxbois who’s written powerfully about the problems in this comic and in comics at large.

In the end, the defenders of Airboy want to marginalize comics as an medium because they want to perpetuate a comics industry that excludes people who aren’t like them. They are bringing comics down. Also, to all of the “serious comics journalists” who were willing to acknowledge that there  “may be problems with Airboy 2″ but criticized Graphic Policy and Emma for demanding the book be pulled? Guess what. We got results. If we had played it quiet and POLITE we wouldn’t have brought the attention we brought to the problem.

Remember, we started out by just writing reviews that explained the comic’s transphobia and no one was talking. As soon as we demanded the book be pulled the conversation exploded. This chart Brett made illustrates the silence around Airboy until we made our demands. GLAAD has made it very clear: activism is key to creating change. They said:

“GLAAD is very grateful that the Rainbow Hub and Graphic Policy brought ‘Airboy’ #2 to our attention, and used their social media reach to spark an online discussion about the transphobia in the issue. GLAAD was happy to use our platform to boost their signal, and then to work with James Robinson to distribute his response.” – Nick Adams, Director of Programs for Transgender Media at GLAAD.

If you value politeness over creating change then you don’t really care about making change.  

As Katie Schenkel aka ‏@JustPlainTweets tweeted “People who care more about the idea and purity of ART than about marginalized people’s humanity being chipped away bum me the hell out.”

And From @sarahnmoon: ” If your gentleness is tone-policing and silencing anger, it’s not truly gentle because it doesn’t care about what others are hurt by”

Oh, and what of Image comics – who had their twitter icon wrapped in the rainbow flag while publishing a transphobic comic? Image is still silent. But they took down the flag….

To everyone who tried to change the conversation into a debate over censorship, I recommend Brett’s blog post that explains the difference between our demands and actual censorship (which we oppose). Meanwhile, you can buy two Image Comics that are trans positive right away: The Wicked + The Divine and the new Arclight. You should also buy Sophie Campbell and Kelly Thompson’s hilarious, youth-friendly and suspenseful Jem and the Holograms which has a trans character and is by a trans artist.

But using your comics buying dollars to support positive portrayals of trans people isn’t enough. We can’t just leave it at that. Not when comics are repeating dangerous tropes that their audience can’t even identify as a problem. Not when people are making money off of transphobia.

So yes, we took action. 

And no we don’t apologize. 

* Note on that Frederick Douglas quote: I’m not comparing what we’re doing to the scale of Frederick Douglas’s work. I use his quote to illustrate the point we are making and to show the theory behind activism.

For more on this story and comics media activism listen to our podcast from July 6th.

FlameCon: NYC’s Queer Comics Convention

Graphic Policy was at the first ever queer comics convention, FlameCon, in NYC. It was amazing. Here’s what I saw.

.@tecktonickbootz is the worlds best Jubilee. #flamecon

A photo posted by @elana_brooklyn on

#flamecon mascot Flamey seems awesome.

A photo posted by @elana_brooklyn on

Flamey is #FlameCon‘s mascot. In the pre conference materials sent to press FlameCon explained to reporters that we should not assume to know the gender of attendees. They said we should always ask what pronoun’s to use and gave the example that when referring to the conference mascot we should use the pronouns “they/their/theirs”.

Some of the gender pronoun stickers we could use. Also included an “Ask Me” option. Wonderful!

The History of LGBT Character in DC Comics

DC All Access has released a brief history of LGBT characters found within the DC Universe, featuring The Advocate’s Jase Peeples. From the early days of the Comics Code all the way to Catwoman’s recent same-sex kiss, Jase looks at touchstones and turning points, revealing how far we’ve come and illustrating why it’s so important that comics remain inclusive.

Gen Con Works to Protect LGBT Attendees After Discussion with Gov. Pence

For those new to the story, Gen Con, the largest game convention in North America, took a stand against Indiana’s SB 101 which would allow people to use their religion to discriminate against individuals amongst other things. With the legislation passed, the state has come under fire, with corporations freezing investment plans, and others refusing to travel there, along with calls for a boycott.

With millions on the line, and the state made out to look like bigots, Governor Mike Pence is doing what he can to spin the legislation claiming it’s for religious protection. It doesn’t help the Governor was surrounded by bigots when he signed the legislation, nor refused to answer a simple yes or no when it came to a question about LGBT discrimination on This Week.

Gen Con updated its community, saying they spoke with the Governor and disagree with his take on the legislation and situation. They are working with the Mayor of Indianapolis to ensure con-goers are not discriminated against and have a good time.

They are also urging the Governor, and other elected officials, to amend the legislation to make it clear and protect individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender orientation.

“We believe freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right.”

The biggest news is the convention has halted its “expansion into Lucas Oil Stadium, and plans for further expansion into other hotel convention spaces.

The convention is urging individuals to write elected officials and call the Governor’s office, though his phone has either be disconnected or voice mail filled since this all started.


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