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By Cornelius A. Fortune
Funny books. Comic books. Sequential art. Graphic novels. Call it what you will, but these ain’t your granddaddy’s comics. Not by a long shot. Scan your local comic shop and you’ll find everything from action adventure, slice of life, to hardcore porn, and the like.
What you’ll have to dig for are LGBT comics, and this isn’t because there aren’t enough LGBT folks in the comic industry – there are tons of them. If you’re interested in comics want a place to start, here are a few recommendations.
Y: the Last Man (DC/Vertigo). The story of the last man on Earth. Seemingly a heterosexual man’s dream turns nightmarish for Yorick Brown the protagonist. He and his pet monkey, Ampersand, are the only males alive (yes, he has a pet monkey). It’s probably the best monthly comic on the racks, and for $2.99, you’re getting a bargain. If you want witty, irreverent, dark and sexy, you can’t miss with “Y.” This series is best read in collected form (trade paperback $12.95). Peruse your local bookstore’s graphic novel section. “Y” is a cinematic adventure on paper. Hollywood’s already sniffed this one out, so read the book before you see the movie. The obvious implications of a world without men will most likely be diluted for commercial purposes to keep the heads of conservative Christians from exploding. This is a comic for folks who don’t normally read or like comics.
Speaking of comics for noncomic fans, another great book of interest might be Sandman: A Game of You (DC/Vertigo), an oldie but goodie. Writer Neil Gaiman got his start in comics, now his Sandman graphic novels are taught in universities across the world. He’s a New York Times Best selling author and the screenwriter of the upcoming movie “Mirrormask.” This is actually my favorite Sandman collection. There’s a witch, a princess named Barbie, a lesbian couple, and a transgendered girl named Wanda. The story is poignant, literary and smart. Take a look.
Prism Comics: Your LGBT Guide to Comics (Prism Comics, $4.95) is the definitive guide to the industry. Here you’ll find original comics, excerpts from comics, interviews with comic creators, creator profiles (bios of LGBT writers and artists), and a resources section for gay geekdom like LGBT role playing games. A little something for everyone I’d say. This book gives you a bird’s eye view of all the best stuff being published that is LGBT-related.
And for a more erotically charged anthology, you might want to try Unsafe for All Ages: Comic Stories for Adults Only (Prism Comics, $8). There’s some funny stuff in here, though very explicit. Ever wonder what Godzilla craves after a romp through the city? Look no further. There’s a male prostitute who takes a job with a wife and husband. The wife inflicts all types of verbal and physical abuse on her husband as a “birthday” present. Then there’s an intergalactic male strip club. Needless to say body parts are greatly exaggerated for comic purposes. Not for everyone’s taste, but if it’s erotica you want, erotica you’ll get, and there’s some laugh-out-loud parts as well. Refreshing considering the steaminess of some parts.
I also found a few websites that might be of interest to the layperson: Imitation of Life is a glimpse into the real life of a gay student in Pittsburgh at http://www.neilcomics.com. Venus Envy at http://venusenvy.keenspace.com, is a humorous strip about an MTF transgender 16-year old (also available through Prism Comics). My personal favorite is Nowhere Girl, a beautifully illustrated coming of age story (http://www.nowheregirl.com). This is the best web comic I’ve seen online. Very nicely done, and best of all, it’s free. Oh, and don’t forget your daily dose of Paige Braddock’s popular Jane’s World at http://www.paigebraddock.com.
For more information visit http://prismcomics.org. To find a comic store near you call 888-COMIC-BOOK.