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No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics Debuts this Weekend

No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics is a look at five LGBTQ+ comic book artists who have risen from underground comics to the international stage.

No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics adapts Justin Hall‘s anthology and shares the stories of Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Rupert Kinnard, and Mary Wings. They talk about everything from the AIDS crisis and workplace discrimination to the search for love and a good haircut. The documentary also focuses on how changing times influenced their work.

Produced and directed by Vivian Kleiman, the documentary premieres today at the Tribeca Film Festival.

For those who can’t make it or aren’t ready to enter the public, the film will be available to be streamed starting June 13 and will be available until June 23 on demand. The streaming costs $15.

Northwest Press announces Theater of Terror

Credit: Art by Phil Jimenez, color by William O. Tyler

Comics publisher Northwest Press, an LGBTQ comics publisher founded in 2010, today launched a crowdfunding campaign for its newest anthology, Theater of Terror: Revenge of the Queers.

Edited by Justin Hall and William O. Tyler, the project will be a full-color, 250-page book, and will feature work by 33 comics writers and artists. It also features cover art by comics superstar Phil Jimenez and features a connecting storyline featuring Peaches Christ, a real-life drag horror hostess.

In addition to Jimenez’ cover, the book has contributions from a lot of prominent comics creators, including Mariko TamakiSina GraceBrad RaderRachel PollackTana Ford, and Terry Blas.

The Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of the book launched on May 17th and runs until June 16. It offers rewards such as print and digital editions of the book, signed limited edition pinup prints, an all-over-printed t-shirt based on the endpapers designed by Michael Wertz, custom video messages from host Peaches Christ, and original art from contributors to the book.

“No Straight Linesm” the LGBTQ Comics Documentary, Gets a Crowdfunding Campaign this April

No Straight Lines cover art by Maurice Vellekoop

Filmmaker Vivian Kleiman and comics artist and advocate Justin Hall have announced that their feature-length documentary film, No Straight Lines: The Story of Queer Comics, will launch a Kickstarter fundraiser in late April. This new effort is aimed at completing filming of the project, which tells the story of how LGBTQ comics evolved from a marginalized underground scene—offering uncensored commentary on everything from coming out to the AIDS crisis to gender politics—to one with worldwide, mainstream recognition.

The fundraising campaign has set a goal of $38,000 and is scheduled to launch on April 23rd. It will offer a variety of rewards to backers from large to small, including social media shout-outs, signed graphic novels, original artwork, dinner with the film creators, invitations to private screenings of the work-in-progress, and more.

Alison Bechdel at a film shoot

In 2012, cartoonist Justin Hall put together the anthology No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics, which featured milestone contributions by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender comics creators from the 1970s to the present, and shared the story of the queer comics community.

Now, Justin’s Lambda Literary Award winning and Eisner Award nominated collection is the inspiration for a new documentary film directed and produced by Peabody Award winning and Sundance and Emmy nominated filmmaker Vivian Kleiman. This film will bring the stories from the comics off the page and give viewers a personal introduction to the vibrant artists, writers, and activists who have paved the way for queer comics’ dynamic present and fabulous future.

The team has been developing the project for some time and have already received grants from the California Humanities, the San Francisco Foundation, and the Berkeley Film Foundation, along with contributions from private donors. Filming is over halfway done, including extensive shoots with Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) and her mentor Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), as well as interviews with a selection of young cartoonists at the Queers & Comics Conference in San Francisco, and more.

Alison Bechdel, Justin Hall, Vivian Kleiman

They’ve lined up financial support to complete the editing phase, but first they need to capture all the footage that will make this project shine. Cartoonists being notoriously shy, the filmmakers have to bring their crew to places like the snowy hills of Vermont and the rainy streets of Portland, Oregon, to record these important, untold stories.

Meeting their campaign goal will allow the filmmakers to complete principle filming on the project, which will include travel and accommodations; producer, director, and director of photography costs; sound and lighting equipment; insurance; bookkeeping; production assistance; and admin expenses.

Support from the community will make it possible to film with longtime LGBTQ comics legends like Rupert Kinnard (BB and the Diva), and interview pioneering web cartoonist Scout Tran (Failing Sky). The filmmakers have plans for additional shoots if they exceed their funding goals.

For those interested, you can join their mailing list to get the latest updates.

SDCC 2012 – Prism Comics Has Announced Their SDCC Plans

Prism Comics is celebrating a (rainbow) banner year for LGBTQI comic characters and creators at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.  They’re manning three booths, #2144, #2146 and #2148 as well as hosting creator signings and panels in celebration of so much.

2012 marks the 25th Anniversary of Andy Mangel’s ‘Gays In Comics’ panel at Comic-Con. LGBTQI comics and readership has changed a lot over the past two and a half decades,” says Ted Abenheim, President of Prism Comics. “Sometimes change is slow, but change has been happening. Northstar is getting married, the new Green Lantern, Alan Scott, is an out, gay hero, and the Con is honoring Andy Mangels as a special guest for his 25 years of bringing diversity to Comic-Con. This year will be an exciting show for Prism and the LGBTQI and LGBTQI-friendly comics community.


Prism Comics’ triple booth (#s 2144, 2146, and 2148 in Hall C) is the de facto LBGTQI Center of Comic-Con, with a full house of indie creators and small presses who are partnering with Prism: Paige Braddock (“Jane’s World”), Justin Hall (“No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics”), Jeff Krell (“Jayson”), Ed Luce (“Wuvable Oaf”), Steve MacIsaac (“Shirtlifter”), Desmond Miller (“Robinson Crusoe in the 6th Dimension”), Ivan Velez Jr. (“Tales of the Closet”), Sean-Z (“Myth”) and other members of Bent Con, Dave Zelman (“Al-Qaeda’s Super Secret Weapon”), Charles “Zan” Christensen’s Northwest Press, Scuttlebutt Ink, and Fanboys of the Universe, which is helping to support Prism Comics’ creator signings throughout the Con.

The latest Creator Signing Schedule is below (check prismcomics.org for the latest schedule and information):

Alison Bechdel: Thursday, July 12, from 4:30-6pm
Walter Meyer (“Rounding Third”): Friday, July 13, 10-11am
David Reddish (“Sex, Drugs & Superheroes”): Friday, July 13, 2-3pm
Chip Kidd (“Death by Design”): Friday, July 13, 3-4pm and Saturday, July 14, 2-3pm
Paul Charles (the Gay Comic Geek): Friday, July 13, 5-6pm and Saturday, July 14, 3-4pm
Brian Anderson (“So Super Duper”): Saturday, July 14, 12-2pm
And more to be announced!

Prism is also kicking off the submission cycle for this year’s annual Queer Press Grant! The Queer Press Grant was established by Prism to encourage the publication of new LGBTQI comics. For those applying to the Grant, Prism is offering portfolio review sessions each day of convention (check the website or the booth for the latest schedule). Reviewers tentatively scheduled to advise potential applicants this year include: Phil Jimenez, Gail Simone, Bob Schreck, Justin Hall, and Charles “Zan” Christensen. Check the prismcomics.org for the latest schedule. Before arriving at the Con, applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the submissions guidelines at prismcomics.org/grant.php.


There will be six Prism-sponsored or Prism-related panels this year focusing attention on queer characters and creators, with some of the biggest name in comics including Phil Jimenez, Alison Bechdel, Gail Simone, Eric Shanower, James Robinson, Dan Parent, Nicola Scott, Marjorie Liu, and many more.

Thursday, July 12, 4-5:00, Room 8, “Spotlight on Andy Mangels”. Best-selling author and Comic-Con special guest Andy Mangels has been extraordinarily active in the entertainment field for 28 years: as a pop culture journalist for magazines ranging from “Amazing Heroes”, “Wizard”, “SFX” and “Back Issue” to “Holywood Reporter”, “The Advocate” and “Weekly World News”; as a comic book writer and editor for projects such as “Nightmares on Elm Street”, “ElfQuest”, “Star Trek”, “Star Wars”, “Gay Comics”, “Bloodwulf”, “Dragon’s Lair”, and books for DC, Marvel, Image, and other companies; as the author of over 20 books including Star Wars, Star Trek, Roswell, X-Files, and Iron Man novels and non-fiction tomes; as an award-winning special features producer and documentary director/writer for over 40 popular DVD projects; as the man behind raising over $136,000 for Domestic Violence shelters with his Women of Wonder Day charity events; and as a respected panelist at Comic-Con for 25 years! Now, Andy Mangels sits down with interviewer Roger Klorese (Prism Comics Publications Chair) for a look at his career, and discusses writing for almost every major licensing company, his renowned social and humanitarian activism, and having the most famous moustache in comicdom. Plus, find out about his September 2012 book from TwoMorrows, “Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation”, and what’s next for Andy! Questions from audience members will be welcome.

Thursday, July 12, 5-6pm, Room 32AB, “Northwest Press”. How does a small comic book publisher succeed in today’s market? Northwest Press opened their doors in 2010, braving a recession, the rise of digital media, and the disappearance of specialty shops and bookstores to create a publishing company specializing in a niche market: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender comics. Two years later, Northwest is still growing. Come and join in a lively discussion about how to operate on a shoestring while looking like a pro, how to leverage social media and connections, and how to succeed as a small press. Moderated by Chance Whitmire (“Fanboys of the Universe”), and featuring the owner of Northwest Press, Charles “Zan” Christensen (“The Mark of Aeacus”, “The Power Within”), as well as four of the creators he’s published: Dylan Edwards (“Transposes”), Justin Hall, Steve MacIsaac, and Leia Weathington (“The Legend of Bold Riley”). Sponsored by Prism Comics.

Thursday, July 12, 6-7pm, Room 32AB, “Rewriting the Rules on Queers in Comics”. Depictions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in comics are breaking from the purely positive “role model” portrayals that were common over the past decade. Some creators aren’t shying away from sex, stereotypes and bad behavior in their pursuit of intriguing and well-rounded characters. As comics readers clamor for more explicit, more outrageous, and more extreme comics—and hail them as victories over timidity and political correctness—is it time to rewrite the rulebook on queer characters? Join Oliver Nome (“Fathom: Kiani”), James Robinson (“Earth 2”, “Justice League”), Nicola Scott (“Earth 2”, “Secret Six”), Gail Simone (“Batgirl”, “Secret Six”), Ivan Velez Jr., and moderator Charles “Zan” Christensen for a lively, irreverent discussion about the wild frontier of queers in comics. Sponsored by Prism Comics.

Friday, July 13, 2-3pm, Room 25ABC, “No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics”. Queer cartooning has been one of the most vibrant artistic and countercultural movements of the past 40 years, tackling complex issues of identity and changing social mores with intelligence, humor, and an irreverent imagination. “No Straight Lines”, a massive anthology published by Fantagraphics Books, is the most definitive collection to date of this material, showcasing everything from lesbian underground comix, to gay newspaper strips, to bi punk zines, to trans webcomics. Join the editor of the book, Justin Hall, as he moderates an all-star panel of some of the true greats of LGBTQI comics: Alison Bechdel, Paige Braddock, Ed Luce, Trina Robbins (“Wimmen’s Comix”), and Eric Shanower (“Age of Bronze”). Signing will follow from 3:30-5:50pm at the Fantagraphics booth. Sponsored by Prism Comics.

Saturday, July 14, 1-2pm, Room 25ABC, “Northstar: From Coming Out to Getting Married!” Northstar, the first openly gay superhero in mainstream comics and a member of both the X-Men and Alpha Flight, came out of the closet 20 years ago… and this year he ties the knot! Northstar has lead a challenging life, facing villains, personal challenges, family rivalries, disease, death, and accusations of being put back in the closet. Now Northstar starts a major new chapter in his life, with a high-profile wedding. Join Prism Comics as we celebrate Northstar and explore how he and the comics community’s attitudes toward LGBTQ characters have changed over the years. Moderator Chance Whitmire (Fanboys of the Universe) delves into the past and the bright future of everyone’s favorite gay mutant with guests David Gabriel (Vice President of Sales, Marvel Comics), Phil Jimenez (“New X-Men”), Marjorie Liu (“Astonishing X-Men”), Scott Lobdell (“Uncanny X-Men”), and Jase Peeples (“The Advocate”Magazine).  Sponsored by Prism Comics.

Saturday, July 14, 5:30-7:00pm, Room 6A, “Gays in Comics: 25th Year Celebration!” The comic world’s longest-running panel celebrates its silver anniversary with an incredible all-star panel and celebration which will spotlight creators, comics, and fans from 1988 to the present. It was once unthinkable that mainstream companies such as DC, Marvel, and Archie would have best-selling and award-winning titles frontlining gay characters such as Batwoman, Northstar, and Kevin Keller. Now, they hire top-level gay or gay-friendly creators, and independent publishers and creators are publishing unequivocal content spotlighting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters, to the cheers of the thousands of fans who are out of the comic book closet and those who welcome diversity among comic book protagonists. This year, founding moderator and best-selling author Andy Mangels will chair a new form of panel, a live documentary that will unfold for the audience, featuring a mixture of commentary, images, music and other surprises!

Showcased with live appearances and video messages will be an army of awesome creators who have appeared on the previous 24 panels, including: Howard Cruse, creator of “Stuck Rubber Baby” and “Barefootz”, founder of “Gay Comix”, and godfather of the gay comic movement; Roberta Gregory, creator of “Naughty Bits” and “Bitchy Bitch” and the godmother of the gay comic movement; Phil Jimenez, amazing artist of “Fairest”, “Astonishing X-Men”, and “Wonder Woman”; Alison Bechdel; Charles “Zan” Christensen, founding member of Prism Comics, and publisher of gay-themed Northwest Press; Gail Simone; Eric Shanower; Joan Hilty, creator of the weekly comic strip “Bitter Girl” and past DC editor; Ivan Velez, Jr.; Paige Braddock; Joe Phillips, artist and publisher of “Joe Boys”, “Star Trek”, and “The Heretic”; Trina Robbins, remarkable writer and artist whose work on behalf of women in comics has helped redefine the industry; Dan Parent, writer and artist for “Archie” and “Betty & Veronica” and creator of Archie’s new gay character, Kevin Keller; Wendy Pini, the creator of “ElfQuest”and “Masque of Red Death”; Chip Kidd; Patty Jeres, past DC Comics director of marketing communications, and past Prism Comics co-president; Joe Palmer, awesome webmaster of GayLeague.com; Ed Luce; Jeff Krell; Robert Triptow, legendary cartoonist and past editor of Gay Comix; Justin Hall, Prism Comics Talent Chair; Marc Andreyko, author of the fan-favorite “Manhunter” series and “Captain America and Bucky”; Sean-Z; Steve Englehart, industry legend, and creator of comics first out gay super-hero Extrano in 1987’s “Millennium”; Jon Macy, award-winning writer and artist of “Teleny and Camille” and “Fearful Hunter”; Ted Abenheim, the new president of Prism Comics and heroic and tireless fundraiser for LGBTQI organizations; and Roger Klorese, a past president of Prism Comics and longtime comics and internet trailblazer! This panel will be chock-full from beginning to end, so be on time or you’ll miss some awesome surprises that we aren’t announcing yet!

Afterward, stick around for the “Gay Comic Fan Mixer and Prism Comics Silent Auction!” with prizes, one-of-a-kind comics items, and surprise special guests!


Besides the Prism’s annual “Gay Comic Fan Mixer and Prism Comics Silent Auction!” and the “Heroes and Villains Party”, this year will see the most queer comics-related events ever held in conjunction with San Diego Comic-Con.

Thursday, July 12, 8pm-1:30am, “Oso Oro” Pecs Bar. Ivan Velez, Jr. is bringing his long-running “Oso Oro”party to San Diego at Pecs Bar.  Flex your artistic muscles at “Oso Oro”, a multimedia celebration of international bear pop culture with Japanese bear bara manga, raffles for bear prizes, limited edition t-shirts, and best bear model contest. Attendees are encouraged to draw bear models and also pose onstage themselves.  Ivan is also bringing “Oso Oro”to the “No Straight Lines”release party, details below.  Pecs Bar is located at 2046 University Avenue, San Diego, CA.

Friday, July 13, 8-10pm, the Fantagraphics No Straight Lines” Release Party at Trickster. Along with appearances from creators who contributed to the anthology, the event will feature a “Drink-And-Draw” in conjunction with Ivan Velez, Jr.’s “Oso Oro”, where artists will sketch live queer-themed figure drawing models and sell their art (all sales will be donated to the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant!). Stay tuned at trickstertrickster.com for details. Trickster is located at 795 J Street, San Diego, CA.

Friday, July 13, 10pm-2am, Heroes and Villains Party, Rich’s Dance Club. Attend Hillcrest’s number one Geek party, which returns to Rich’s for the 8th year! Geek Knight Production’s Ned Cato Jr. (Cub Club San Diego) is bringing back sexy Heroes and Villains for what will be one of the hottest parties of the year with Super DJ Marcel Hetu. The party will feature go-go dancers, laser show, LED wall, and costume contest hosted by Glitz Glam, which will have nearly $200 in cash and prizes. Ronnie Mena and his crew are returning for face and body paint. Meet queer comics creators including special guest Sean Z who will show off his latest masterpiece book “Myth”. Rich’s Dance Club is located at 1051 University Avenue, San Diego, CA.

Saturday, July 14, 7:40pm, Reception Joe Phillips’ “Joe’s Boys”, Alexander Salazar Fine Art. The exhibit of Joe Phillips’ artwork from “Joe’s Boys” will run from July 12 through July 15, with the reception on Friday the 13th. The Alexander Salazar Fine Art Gallery in downtown San Diego is within walking distance from the Convention Center and is open from 11am-6pm. Alexander Salazar Fine Art is located at 640 Broadway, San Diego, CA.

Saturday, July 14, 7-8pm, “Gay Comic Fan Mixer and Prism Comics Silent Auction!” San Diego Convention Center, Room 6A. Happening directly after the “Gays in Comics” panel, the fan mixer and silent auction is hosted by and benefiting Prism Comics, the nonprofit organization that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered comics, creators, and readers. Mingle with comics fans and creators plus stay for the special drawing of “Comics Gift Basket” and the silent auction of incredible comics items, including original art and more!

For the latest information on everything Prism at Comic-Con, keep tuned to prismcomics.org.

Two Northwest Press Books are Finalists for Lambda Literary Award

Official Press Release

Two Northwest Press Books are Finalists for 2010 Lambda Literary Award

SEATTLE, WA (3/16/11)—The Lambda Literary Foundation revealed their finalists for the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards today, and two Northwest Press books were among them. Jon Macy’s Teleny and Camille is a finalist for Gay Erotica and Justin Hall’s Glamazonia: The Uncanny Super-Tranny is a finalist for Transgender Fiction. The Awards celebrate annual achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing.

“I’m so proud of Jon and Justin for having their work recognized in such a major way,” said Northwest Press publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen. “For a small publisher who’s happy enough just to be doing something he loves, to have these books honored as finalists for a Lammy is so encouraging and gratifying.”

“I’m thrilled with this nomination!” said Hall. “A tremendous amount of work went into creating the Glamazonia book, and it’s wonderful when that pays off in a big way. I’d also like to thank the other comics creators who contributed to this project, including Diego Gomez, Jon Macy, Fred Noland, and Zan Christensen. I feel blessed to be part of an amazing community of LGBT cartoonists and fans, and hope to keep on making entertaining and challenging comics for as long as I can.”

“I’m just really honored and pleased that a graphic novel could be nominated for such a prestigious award,” said Macy. “It makes all the hard work worth it. I also have to say that Northwest Press is the best publisher in the world, keeping the dream alive for LGBT comics creators.”

This year, the Lambda Awards surpassed 2009’s record for number of books nominated and number of publishers participating; the 2010 finalists were selected from more than 520 titles from about 230 publishers. More than 90 booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, authors, previous winners and finalists, and other book professionals participated in selecting the finalists in 24 categories.

“Some of the increase in nominations stems from the growth in recent years of self-published books,” says Lambda Awards Administrator Richard Labonté, “reflecting an expanding reliance on ever-more-accessible publish-on-demand technology by talented LGBT authors with worthwhile stories to tell—a do-it-yourself approach that hearkens back to the late 1970s and 1980s, when lesbians and gay men established their own presses and launched the queer book boom. The books came, and the Lammys soon followed.”

“These record-breaking numbers are occurring at a time when the publishing industry is under siege and we hear report after report on the death of books,” said Lambda Literary Foundation Board Co-Chair, Dr. Judith Markowitz, “What’s even more heartening is that the quality of those nominations is extremely high. All of this bodes well for the future of LGBT literature and for the Foundation’s continued role in advocating on behalf of that literature.”

Winners of the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards will be announced at a May 26 ceremony in New York at the School of Visual Arts Theater (333 West 23rd Street).

Teleny and Camille and Glamazonia: The Uncanny Super-Tranny are the first two graphic novel releases from Northwest Press, which was founded in 2010 by publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen. The next Northwest Press book, David Kelly’s Rainy Day Recess: The Complete Steven’s Comics will be on store shelves at the end of March, and features a foreword by It Gets Better Project founder Dan Savage.

Northwest Press will be attending the C2E2 comic book convention in Chicago, March 18th-20th, as a guest of Prism Comics, where it will debut Rainy Day Recess and Christensen will appear on a panel discussion about LGBT comics.

About Northwest Press
Northwest Press is a publisher founded in 2010 that is dedicated to publishing the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) graphic novels and comics collections. Northwest Press has a mission to find and publish the best quality LGBT comics work in a polished, professional format, and bring it to as wide an audience as possible.

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