Tag Archives: LGBTQ

Review: Iceman #7

Iceman #7 has Bobby making an Ice-kaiju to use in battle with his old Champions teammates and also has many character defining moments for him. Writer Sina Grace combines the quick banter and pitched fights of old school superhero team fights with some relationship bits like Iceman going a little further in a sexy way with Judah and chatting with the Champions about his overcompensating, macho ways back in the day at a Russian bakery. Robert Gill’s art is serviceable, and he does something interesting things with spacing like making the new X-Men headquarters in Central Park seemed very crowded compared to Judah and Bobby’s nightly walks in L.A. Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors are much the same way even though she makes Bobby’s ice powers look extra badass.

Even though the story is chock full of superhero guest stars, Grace and Gill manage to chisel out an image of Bobby as a hero and man. Iceman is comfortable in team settings, making the jokes, and teaching the younger heroes, but he also wants to strike out on his own, date a new cute guy, and knows that the X-Men are in capable hands. The “villain” in this issue are special effects designers who are hoping to impress a Hollywood studio with their almost lifelike Sentinel replicas. Some heroes would throw these women in jail or in The Raft or somewhere, but Bobby realizes their mechanical talents and desperateness to be significant somewhere and helps find them professor jobs. He can make dad jokes and be honest, empathetic, self-aware, and sometimes impulsive like the end of this issue.

Even though the Champions don’t have their own movie or TV show, like the X-Men, Avengers, or even the New Warriors, Robert Gill and Rachelle Rosenberg deliver on a monster setpiece to open Iceman #7 and cash in on the promise of last issue’s cliffhanger. Bobby displays so much swag, creativity, and leadership in this fight and basically wants to get it over with so he can Netflix and chill with his man. Gill also draws some close-ups of Angel because he is sexy and hell and also because he and Iceman have a close relationship. Later, Grace and Gill use him for innuendo and class consciousness purposes when his wingspan can barely fit in Iceman’s New York apartment. Tempting as it maybe to transform Iceman into a slice of life, romance book, Bobby Drake has been a hero since the 1960s (In comic book years.), and he’s not going to stop even if he goes solo for real this time.

It looks like the Champions team-up isn’t going to continue beyond Iceman #7 although Sina Grace did a nice job of using it to set up an L.A. setting, connect Bobby to non-X-Men related parts of the Marvel Universe, and also dig into why he acted like a macho wannabe flirt in older comics. Grace, Gill, and Rosenberg use Ben-Day dot flashbacks from Bronze Age comics to explore and critique Bobby’s toxic masculinity when instead of treating Black Widow like a powerful ally, he hit on her and was immediately cut down to size. However, he has learned his lesson over the years and is starting to come into his own as a gay man. And this whole freedom thing goes into overdrive towards the end of the issue. But not after he roasts each and every X-Man before movie night.

Iceman #7 is a real turning point issue for the series in both sexy and non-sexy ways as Bobby Drake shows that he can do both the self-realization and transforming his body into Godzilla ice shapes thing. Also, it’s nice to have the same artist on two (not so) straight issues.

 

Story: Sina Grace Art: Robert Gill Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Why Star Trek: Discovery Matters for Representation

In various interviews about her “Star Trek” role, Whoopi Goldberg describes why she wanted to be on the show: Up until “Star Trek,” people of color weren’t included in any vision of the future. She grew up in an era of segregation, with high-profile murders of civil rights leaders and activists, and a renewed push to build Confederate monuments. In such a time representation in science fiction might seem unimportant, but for 9-year-old Whoopi, it meant the world. Over the years she’s been very clear about how much it meant to her to see Lt. Uhura—a black woman—on screen. But despite the progressive history of “Star Trek,” LGBTQ children have never had the opportunity to see themselves represented on the show until now. This week’s episode of “Star Trek: Discovery” takes us inside the bedroom of a gay couple, putting their relationship front and center for the first time in the 50-year history of “Star Trek.”

“Star Trek” was groundbreaking for its representations of people of color and women. In addition to Nichelle Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura, George Takei played Lt. Sulu, who eventually becomes a captain, and Walter Koenig’s Ensign Pavel Chekov—at the height of the Cold War—showed a future where the Soviet Union was not an enemy. “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry wanted to show women in command; the original pilot had a female first officer, but the studio nixed it. The show was also groundbreaking for having one of the first interracial kisses on TV. “Star Trek” offered a view of the future that was so fundamentally different and inclusive that it inspired people about their possibilities.

None of this is meant to negate some of the very real problems with sexism and racism that did creep through. Women wore skirts and, according to one episode, were not allowed to be captains. And in one episode, Uhura’s mind was erased and she suddenly spoke Swahili. Those are relics of the era and mistakes we shouldn’t repeat. But the grand mission of “Star Trek”—to show a future where humanity has overcome racism, hatred and greed, and has united to expand our understanding of the universe—is one that is as necessary today as it was in the 1960s.

While “Star Trek” was a pioneer in depicting people of color and women, it’s been sadly behind the curve in its representation of queer communities. Of course, in the original series there wouldn’t have been LGBTQ representation. It was the beginning of the LGBTQ movement. The Stonewall Riots happened the month the show was canceled, and it would be another decade before Harvey Milk would burst onto the scene in San Francisco.

But by the 90s and early 2000s, when “Star Trek” had the opportunity to continue with Roddenberry’s progressive vision of the future and include LGBTQ people, it did not. The producers flirted with it; Roddenberry himself was supportive of an AIDS metaphor episode, which would have been fitting since one of the actors from the film series died from AIDS related causes around the same time. But the network scrapped that idea. An episode of “The Next Generation” did feature an agender species, and “Deep Space Nine” had two women kiss. This kiss was a big deal; it came two years before Ellen DeGeneres came out, and it generated more hate mail than most episodes. But despite efforts over many years to have a LGBTQ character on “Star Trek,” our communities were mostly left behind by the franchise.

More recently, the film reboots have retconned Sulu to be gay, with the introduction of a husband and child, seen from a distance in 2016. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of Sulu and his family in the fourth film, and while it was a very nice step for LGTBQ representation, it was also a very small aside.

Part of what got Whoopi Goldberg so excited about “Star Trek” was not only the existence of a black woman in that fictional world but the dignity with which she was treated:

“When I was 9 years old, ‘Star Trek’ came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”

Dignity is particularly important. LGBTQ people are often a punchline. Take a look at the recent remake of “Beauty and the Beast”; the gay character is a buffoon, someone to laugh at. Or producers will present a sexually charged scene with perfect bodies, meant more for eye candy than character development. And when it’s two women, it’s almost always directed for the male gaze. “Star Trek: Discovery,” however, takes us into the bedroom of a committed couple as they talk about their fears and their love for each other. It focuses specifically on an argument they have, centered on career and personal safety. This is a scene about them as people, whole and complete, struggling with what every other person struggles with. It affirms queer dignity, agency and love. It shows us that we make it to the 23rd century.

Before someone says “Of course you make it to the future,” just stop. The president of the United States made a joke about how the vice president would like to hang us all. He spoke at the conference of an actual real-life LGBTQ hate group this past weekend. Globally there are countries that still execute us. In the United States, poverty rates are higher for LGBTQ people, you can be fired in 28 states for being gay, and violence and hate crimes are on the rise. All of this is to say that we deserve to have a future to look forward to. We deserve to look at the TV and see ourselves portrayed with dignity—the way that Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Luther King Jr. did when they watched “Star Trek” in the 60s.

Growing up, I loved “Star Trek.” I discovered it when I was 6 or 7. It was the only show my mother allowed us to watch, because she too liked this vision for the future. My parents were going through a rather unpleasant divorce, and “Star Trek” offered a refuge, a stability in the future that I didn’t have in my daily life. I gravitated toward and saw myself most in the outsider characters—Spock, Data,  Odo and 7 of 9. I wasn’t quite represented; yes, there were white men, but none of them were quite like me. I recognize now that it was those characters’ struggle to fit in that I connected with. Ultimately, I felt alienated from the people and relationships portrayed in the media. Kids today who watch “Star Trek” don’t have to feel like outsiders; they get to be full people in the series.

Throughout the 80s, 90s and into the 21st century, television made huge strides in LGBTQ representation. “Designing Women,” “Will & Grace” and “Glee” saw LGBTQ storylines develop from one-off episodes to central plots of the series. Even science fiction, full of male bravado and, too often, toxic masculinity, managed to begin to include us before “Star Trek.” “Torchwood,” “True Blood,” “The Walking Dead” and others have had LGBTQ characters and storylines. The “Battlestar Galactica” web series outed a main character; the prequel series “Caprica” had a major gay relationship. And “Stargate” had a lesbian main character in 2009. Of course, there was no “Star Trek” during most of the era when sci-fi began including us.

This may seem small, but it’s affirming and it’s exciting. “Star Trek” has finally come into the modern era and made us a part of the future.


Asher Huey is a DC based progressive activist and organizer.

Review: Iceman #6

Writer Sina Grace, new series artist Robert Gill (Who ups the beefcake level considerably), and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg give Bobby Drake a fresh start on the West Coast in Iceman #6 as he reunites with his former Champions teammates: Angel, Hercules, Darkstar, and Ghost Rider (The Johnny Blaze version) in L.A. They start by sharing memories about their fallen friend Black Widow (Who was brutally fridged in Secret Empire by HYDRA Cap.), but the story gets much lighter. The banter between the short-lived superhero teammates is pretty fun, and best of all, Iceman finally gets to go on a date and do gay things with a cute guy out West.

Iceman #6 is a little short on action with the bad guy being a Hollywood effects wannabe/single mom, who decides to make her big mark by building a Sentinel and wrecking the city for some reason or another. Her motivation is pretty weak, and she’s basically just there to set up a superhero team-up in the next issue and set up a funny joke mixing Iceman up with the Silver Surfer. (Because they both wear trunks and nothing else sometimes, I guess.) But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Grace and Gill spend most of the issue establishing the bond between the once and future Champions and having Bobby flirt, dance, and yes, even make out with a guy he meets while waiting in line for a new pair of cool shoes. Judah uses even more ,and it’s nice to see someone finally show Bobby the ropes of being an out gay man with the painful coming out to his parents arc out of the way.

He does doing anything crazy or innovative with panel layouts, but Robert Gill brings a real energy and sexiness to his artwork in Iceman #6. My main problem with his art is that his civilian designs for Johnny Blaze and Angel are a little too similar, and I had to use context/comics backstory clues to realize that Bobby and Warren were having a heart to heart on the Hollywood sign, not Iceman and Ghost Rider. However, he more than redeems himself in the sequence where Bobby and Judah cut a rug on the dance floor that has a swirling energy and a blue from Rachelle Rosenberg that is part romantic, part “in da club”. Gill uses a couple inset panels to show off Bobby and Judah’s moves and flirting before zooming out for a big damn Hollywood kiss. He captures the fashion, fun, and friendship of my favorite gay bars and clubs, and some highlights are Hercules’ deep V and Ghost Rider trying to find parking for his bike next to some leather daddies. Grace’s writing digs into a nice vein of awkwardness, self-realization, and adrenaline that I definitely felt the first time I kissed a man  Yay for stubble on cheeks!

With the return of the Champions combined with Bobby going on its first date, Iceman #6 hits a nice sweet spot between Bronze Age era nostalgia and modern slice of life. Sina Grace writes the interactions between Bobby and the Champions like a college reunion (He even studied accounting in grad school during the original series.) with the memories of the past being the main conversation topic except for when he chats with Angel, who is like the good college friend you’ve stayed in touch with over the years. It’s also nice to see him go on a date and use his superhero buddies to impress his date while Robert Gill’s art is definitely more aesthetically pleasing than some of the previous visuals on Iceman.

Finally, the Iceman smooching in this issue is a great belated National Boyfriend Day present.

 Story: Sina Grace Art: Robert Gill Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

GLSEN Will Honor DC Entertainment for Supporting LGBTQ Content and Characters

GLSEN will honor DC Entertainment with the Visionary Award at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards. Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment and President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will accept the award at the gala on Friday, October 20th at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

DC is a leader in supporting LGBTQ content and characters. With a commitment to showcasing diverse storylines, they broke barriers in mainstream comics with characters like Batwoman as the first lesbian Super Hero as a comic lead and Alysia Yeoh as the first trans character. The comics feature numerous groundbreaking characters like Midnighter, Catwoman, Renee Montoya, and many others. In June 2016, DC along with IDW Publishing, brought together writers and artists to support victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando with “Love is Love.” And DC TV shows feature LGBTQ characters on shows like Supergirl, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Gotham.

DC Entertainment will join previously announced 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards Honorees Kerry Washington, Bruce Bozzi, and Zendaya.

The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Past Los Angeles honorees include Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg; Bob Greenblatt; Shonda Rhimes; Matt Bomer & Simon Halls; and Kate Hudson. The GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles will welcome approximately 600 guests, including outstanding youth leaders and educators from around the country, raising more than $1 million in support of GLSEN’s work.

GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, student leadership and educator training, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work with the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence, GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, and GLSEN’s Ally Week.

Around the Tubes

The weekend is almost here. We’ll be heading to Small Press Expo! What are you all doing? Sound off in the comments.

Here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in the morning roundup.

Around the Tubes

Mashable – 6 digital comic books with LGBTQ vibes that you need to check out – Some good comics to check out.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Attack – Bankshot #3

CBR – Dark Nights: Metal #2

ICv2 – Halloween Tales

Newsarama – Mister Miracle #2

Newsarama – Runaways #1

Talking Comics – Secret Empire: Omega #1

Review: Iceman #5

“Oh no, love. You’re not alone. No matter what or who you’ve been… Give me your hands!”- “Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide” by David Bowie

In Iceman #5, Bobby finally comes out as gay to his parents, and they don’t accept him unconditionally. It’s an issue that really hit home for me personally and is easily Sina Grace’s best writing on the series. The scenes where the Drakes ask their son insensitive, probing questions about his sexuality are more painful than any blow from the unstoppable, time displaced from the 1960s Juggernaut, who is this issue’s villain of the week. Artist Alessandro Vitti and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg draw a mano a mano battle between Iceman and Juggernaut that is juxtaposed with his coming out letter. These scenes show the cathartic nature of superhero comics for queer people, and their ability to make me escape from my issues with a tale of derring-do and overcoming seemingly unbeatable odds.

In previous issues,  I feel like Grace portrayed Bobby’s parents more sympathetically, but their insensitive, bigoted words towards him in Iceman #5 show why he didn’t come out to him earlier and wanted to do it via letter where he could filter and write out his thoughts in a more organized manner. Vitti draws them with big wrinkles and glaring, ugly expressions as they treat Bobby’s sexuality as hypothetical and even ask him questions about sex life. His mom even uses “mutie” and “queer” as slurs and blames his dad’s side of the family for passing these “genes” to him. Instead of accepting, she constantly talks about how he’s a disappointment, and Mr. Drake won’t even recognize him as their son anymore. Grace and Vitti defuse the tension a little bit with some Idie and Quentin Quire antics, but they get blocked off from the narrative by a literal wall of ice given a glistening sheen by Rosenberg. And Kitty Pryde shows she’s an amazing friend by giving Bobby the opportunity to cut loose against Juggernaut (He probably should have backup though.)

IcemanAngry

And after taking non-stop verbal body blows from his parents, a solo fight against Juggernaut is what Bobby (and the plot of Iceman #5) needs. When the battle begins, Vitti draws a craggier Iceman (Because he’s angry.), and Rosenberg emphasizes the red on his uniform shirt. The battle itself is a blockbuster one and extremely creative as Bobby doesn’t have to hold back against the Juggernaut, whose only motivation is to wreck stuff and kill the X-Men blue team, who brought him to present times from the 1960s.

The dad jokes are gone, and Vitti and Rosenberg replace with double page, shoujo manga-esque spreads of Bobby freezing the speed of light to hit the Juggernaut and then using his ability to change into a vapor to escape his clutches and finally put the kibosh on him. After these pages and a beautiful transformation, the fact that Iceman is an omega level mutant is at the forefront of his character and not just a trivia fact. As he mentions to his dad at the end of the issue, being honest about who he loves has helped him use his mutant powers more effectively. This is definitely true because Bobby does a lot of cool things this issue like impaling Juggernaut on an icicle and sending his ice golems to save civilians while he focuses on keeping Juggy occupied. Water is all around us, and in Bobby’s capable hands, it can be a powerful weapon. Vitti and Rosenberg get really creative with his powers in this issue, especially when he is about to beat the Juggernaut.

The bittersweet ending to Iceman #5 where Bobby and his dad have a polite chat about his letter, say they love each other, and reconcile in the snow rings true to my own experience as a queer man. My parents don’t approve of my sexuality, but they actually do still care about me, and we have a pretty good relationship. Personally, this makes me hurt a lot deeper than a simple Westboro Baptist Church type of hate because it’s infused with love.

Iceman #5 works as a comic because Sina Grace, Alessandro Vitti, and  holds a mirror to mine and other queer men’s experiences using mutant powers and superhero battles as big visual metaphors of both triumph and empowerment when Iceman defeats Juggernaut all by his lonesome and the feeling of being an outsider with his vapor abilities.

Iceman #5 is a powerful, cathartic end to the first arc of the comic and showed me that I’m not alone…

Story: Sina Grace Art: Alessandro Vitti Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 9.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Prism Awards Finalists Announced!

Prism Comics and the Queer Comics Expo have announced the finalists for the first annual Prism Awards! The Prism Awards are being established this year (2017) to recognize, promote and celebrate diversity and excellence in the field of queer comics. The panel of 12 expert judges have selected several works in each category which expand the growing body of diverse, powerful, innovative, positive or challenging representations of LGBTQAI+ characters in fiction and nonfiction comics. The winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony at the Queer Comics Expo on Saturday July 8th, starting at 4pm at the SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan St, San Francisco.

Check out the list below for the nominees and congrats to everyone involved and nominated!

BEST SHORT FORM COMIC FINALISTS

Nothing Wrong With Me by Dylan Edwards http://www.studiondr.com/  – https://thenib.com/nothing-wrong-with-me
Flux by E Jackson http://eshiel.com/  – http://flux.eshiel.com/
Liar by Hari Conner  http://www.hari-illustration.com/ – https://gumroad.com/l/BtKou#
The Kiss of the Demoness by Gillian Pascasio http://7clubs.tumblr.com/

 

BEST WEBCOMIC FINALISTS

With Great Abandon by EH MacMillian https://withgreatabandon.tumblr.com/
Failing Sky: Ghost Story by Scout Tran-Caffee http://failingsky.com/ghoststory
Villainette by Scout Tran-Caffee http://strip.villainette.com

 

BEST COMIC FROM A SMALL TO MIDSIZE PRESS FINALISTS

Destiny, NY Volume One: Who I Used to Be by Pat Shand (Writer), Manuel Preitano (Artist), Jim Campbell (Letterer), and Shannon Lee (Editor) https://www.storenvy.com/stores/980896-continuity-entertainment
Short Gay Stories by H-P Lehkonen http://hplehkonen.com/
Active Voice The Comic Collection by P. Kristen Enos (writer), Heidi Ho (contributing writer), Casandra Grullon (artist), Derek Chua (artist), Leesamarie Croal (artist), Beth Varni (artist), and Dan Parent (cover art) http://www.pkristenenos.com/avgraphicnovel/

 

BEST SINGLE ISSUE FROM A MAINSTREAM PUBLISHER FINALISTS

Supergirl: Being Super #1 by Mariko Tamaki (writer), Joëlle Jones (pencils), Sandu Florea (inks), Kelly Fitzpatrick (colorist), Saida Temofonte (letters), Jones and Fitzpatrick (cover art) https://www.comixology.com/Supergirl-Being-Super-2016-1/digital-comic/431009
The Backstagers #1 by James Tynion IV (writer), and Rian Sygh (artist) https://www.comixology.com/The-Backstagers-1-of-8/digital-comic/410464
Lumberjanes #17 by Noelle Stevenson (writer), Shannon Watters (writer), and Brooke Allen (artist) https://www.comixology.com/Lumberjanes-17/digital-comic/260036

 

BEST ANTHOLOGY FINALISTS

Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology edited by Sfé R. Monster & Taneka Stotts
https://www.beyond-press.com/
POWER & MAGIC: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology edited by Joamette Gil
https://gumroad.com/powerandmagicpress
Food Porn edited by Gina Biggs http://comicorgy.com/print/food-porn-print-edition/
Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers edited by Hazel Newlevant http://chainmail-bikini.com/


THE 2017 PRISM AWARD JUDGES

Rob McMonigal is a nonbinary writer who lives in Portland Oregon with too many cats and is the head writer of the Eisner Nominated comics review site, www.panelpatter.com.

Ajuan Mance is a genderqueer nerd, a Professor at Mills College, the author of Inventing Black Women and Proud Legacy, the editor of the anthology Before There Was Harlem, and the creator of the portrait series 1001 Black Men. http://8-rock.com/

Kirwan McHarry authored “Border Dwellers in Boys’ Love Manga” in On the Edge of the Panel (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015), and co-edited a special section on BL manga for the Journal of Graphic Novels ! and Comics (4:1: 1-8). http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21504857.2013.793207

Jon Erik Christianson is a comics journalist who aspires to Lois Lane greatness (in a universe where she’s given her due credit). https://twitter.com/HonestlyJon

Jack Baur is a Teen Services Librarian at the Berkeley Public Library, and the co-host of the (erratically updated) In the Library With a Comic Book podcast, available at http://inthelibrarywithacomicbook.org.

AJ Real is an educator, QPOC, blue lantern, Hufflepuff, games enthusiast, and Pokémon master. He can be found online wherever evil and heteronormativity must be vanquished. https://twitter.com/darkshifter

Mel Reiff Hill is the illustrator and co-author of the GENDER book, an illustrated gender 101 for everyone! Find more of their work online at rowdyferret.com

Nia King is the the author of Queer & Trans Artists of Color, Volumes 1 & 2 and the host and producer of We Want the Airwaves podcast. Artactivistnia.weebly.com

Brian Andersen is a life-long comic book lovin’ gay geek, a contributor to The Advocate and writer of “Stripling Warrior,” featuring gay Mormon superheroes.  http://www.sosuperduper.com/

Heidi MacDonald is the editor in chief of Comics Beat, an awarding winning site about graphic novels. comicsbeat.com

Mey Rude is a bi, trans Chicana and is a writer/editor at Autostraddle and consults on and edits comic books.  https://twitter.com/meyrude

William O. Tyler is the creator of WoT’s Cinephilia, a webcomic that studies the love of movies and how they shape us. williamotyler.com

Listen to The State of LGBTQ Comics: A Roundtable on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

June is Pride Month so Graphic Policy Radio is talking with some of our favorite LGBTQ comics critics about the current state of LGBTQ people in comics: on and off the page.

Our guests:

Desiree Rodriguez is a columnist and Editorial Assistant for Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime. Desiree also writes for The Nerds of Color and Women Write About Comics @boricuadesiree)

Logan Dalton writes about comics and TV shows for sites like Graphic Policy and Nerds on the Rocks. Once he interviewed a vampire. He lives in the south. @MidnighterBae

Véronique Emma Houxbois is a fiercely queer trans woman from the wilds of Canada, most recently spotted in the Pacific Northwest. Contributor at Comicosity, Women Write About Comics, and London Graphic Novel Network. Consultant on Bitch Planet. Published by DC/IDW in Love is Love with Alejandra Gutierrez. @EmmaHouxbois

The State of LGBTQ Comics: A Roundtable LIVE Tonight on GP Radio

June is Pride Month so we’re talking with some of our favorite LGBTQ comics critics about the current state of LGBTQ people in comics: on and off the page.

The latest episode of Graphic Policy Radio airs LIVE tonight at 10pm ET.

Our guests:

Desiree Rodriguez is a columnist and Editorial Assistant for Lion Forge Comics’ Catalyst Prime. Desiree also writes for The Nerds of Color and Women Write About Comics @boricuadesiree)

Logan Dalton writes about comics and TV shows for sites like Graphic Policy and Nerds on the Rocks. Once he interviewed a vampire. He lives in the south. @MidnighterBae

Véronique Emma Houxbois is a fiercely queer trans woman from the wilds of Canada, most recently spotted in the Pacific Northwest. Contributor at Comicosity, Women Write About Comics, and London Graphic Novel Network. Consultant on Bitch Planet. Published by DC/IDW in Love is Love with Alejandra Gutierrez. @EmmaHouxbois

Listen in when the show airs live tonight.

Review: Nothing Lasts Forever

NothingLastsForever-1Reading Nothing Lasts Forever is like sitting across writer/artist Sina Grace at a table at one of the coffee shops in L.A. that he frequents and watching him slowly pull his still-beating heart out of his chest and show it to you with Jenny Lewis playing in the background. On that creepy, visceral note, this is Grace’s third graphic memoir after the very relatable ode to retail hell Not My Bag and the relationship/pop culture-driven Self-ObsessedNothing Lasts Forever is written and drawn like it’s a literal page in Grace’s sketch journal. It’s rough (The lettering is sometimes hard to make out in a digital copy.) , but it’s an unfiltered look at his relationship to Sina’s comics work, love life, the death of his grandmother, his battle with achalasia, global politics, and much more. (For the purpose of this review Sina is the character in the story, and Grace is the creator behind it.)

Just like Just My Bag and Self-Obsessed , Nothing Lasts Forever is relatable to me as a queer man, who is adjacent to the comics industry even though I don’t write, draw, color or letter them. Writing and drawing is therapeutic for Sina, but he doesn’t know what he should write and draw about. Throughout the comic, Sina has conversations with friends, fellow creators, and editors about projects, or whether he should do monthly comics or standalone works like Self-Obsessed. He likes doing autobiographical work, but also is a fan of doing genre stuff. This push and pull is one of the secondary sources of conflict throughout the graphic novel. Nothing Lasts Forever also features the first time I’ve seen a comic journalist interview a creator in a comic book. It’s kind of reassuring to know that the writers and artists I interview might be just as nervous as me about their answers…

One of the most powerful and amusing images in Nothing Lasts Forever was Grace making his exes into doo-dads (It’s a Southern thing, I swear.) , or “baubles” as he calls them. It’s start out about a funny line about boys being toys that Sina tells Amber and then turns into a profound, vulnerable page about Sina having feelings for all the men that have come into his life romantically and sexually. They each brought him NLFInteriorsome happiness for a time and then became someone else’s toy. I feel similarly about the men and women that have come into my life. Sometimes, I’ll have vibes about someone I dated or kissed years ago, feel kind of wistful about it but then cherish the time we spent together. Sina Grace nails that exact emotion throughout Nothing Lasts Forever when he discusses and describes relationships.

Structurally, Nothing Lasts Forever skips through time and place in a way that makes a Timelord look like a tortoise. It’ll go from a story about Sina having a crush on his 9th grade teacher to a pitch meeting with Image or a musing about his grandmother. Grace’s art style shifts and swerves too. On an artistic level, one thing that I loved about Nothing Lasts Forever was how the look of Grace’s art and the type of his color palette matched his feelings about each vignette that makes up his comic.

Grace can do fantasy/horror style art, caricatures, or rich, representational work like when Grace depicts Sina’s pitch for He and Him, an unrealized romance graphic novel not-so-subtly based on his relationship with his ex, Cash. One of his good friends, writer Amber Benson, makes several appearances, and Grace colors her with gorgeous pinks and blue that makes her memorable in a book full of faces. (And dicks depending on the story.) Grace uses wispier linework in a flashback about having a crush on his teacher and switches to stark black and white when he really starts to open up about his depression. There’s a touch of primal horror to these pages as Grace fits his feelings and thoughts into narrative form.

Even though it’s a collection of tenuously connected autobiographical shorts instead of a straight (*chuckles*) narrative like Craig Thompson’s Blankets or Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Nothing Lasts Forever is an enjoyable and emotionally resonant read. There are many genres in Sina Grace’s approach to graphic memoir , including gag strips, portrait pieces, some metafiction (Li’l Depressed Boy makes several, key cameos, and Erik Larsen appears as his creation, Savage Dragon.), and a fun queer take on the fantasy/Magical Girl genre that gets very personal very quickly.

In Nothing Lasts Forever, Sina Grace goes into depth about his depression, his painful struggle with a disease that made it virtually impossible for him to keep down food, and his true feelings about the men he’s dated and slept with. And he does it all in a varied visual style and with his sense of humor intact. I won’t stop smiling and laughing at the all the forms that Sina takes in the comic like some kind of cartoonist Mystique going from a bad mushroom trip to being sad in the shower to even becoming Sailor Moon herself.

Story: Sina Grace Art: Sina Grace
Story: 8.9  Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.7  Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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