TagComic Books

How Chris Claremont hid queer X-Men characters in plain sight

Excerpt from Excaliber # 5

Excerpt from Excaliber # 5

Sigrid Ellis on realizing that Kitty Pride is gay, and that she is too:

As is so common in queer history, though, an ostensibly fair and even-handed treatment of sexuality in comics makes gay and lesbian relations invisible. The heterosexual pairings among the X-Men could kiss or hug, could call their time together a date. The queers could not. Moreover, there’s that “perversion” clause. Ego-dystonic homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 1986. [2] New Mutants #36 was published in February 1986. When it was written, lesbianism was legally and medically a perversion. Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz, the writer and artist of New Mutants at the time, could not say that Illyana came to the rescue of her some-time girlfriend Kitty who had been defeated by a demon with a penchant for classic bondage porn. But they could write it, and draw it, without ever acknowledging that is what they were doing. The relationship, the subtext, the highly sexualized imagery, all these things were presented not as queer kink but as friendship and heroism. The kind of relationship any high school girl might have with her best friends.

Full Story: Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men: Kitty Queer

(via Metafilter, where the commenters explore some of the more problematic elements of Claremont’s work)

Ellis also wrote “No Return Address,” one of my all time favorite short stories.

Copra Issue 1 Now Online for Free

COPRA issue 1

The first Michel Fiffe’s beautiful Suicide Squad inspired indie comic Copra is now online for free.

Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes Do Webcomic for the BBC

The Key by Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes

The Key is a short, wordless webcomic by Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes and published by the BBC.

RIP Steve Moore, Comics Author and Fortean Times Co-Founder

Sad news from the Strange Attractor blog:

We’re deeply sad to announce that Steve Moore, author of Somnium and a regular contributor to Strange Attractor Journal, passed away over the weekend, under a beautiful Spring full Moon.

Steve was a warm, wise and gentle man, with a surreal sense of humour and an astoundingly deep knowledge that covered history, the I Ching, forteana, magic, oriental mysticism, martial arts cinema, science fiction, underground comics and worlds more.

Steve was amongst the earliest members of the Gang of Fort, who launched Fortean Times magazine in the early 1970s, and the author of a great many influential comics and short stories for publications including 2000AD, Warrior, Dr Who magazine and, most recently, the Hercules series for Radical Publishing. At the time of his death he was working on a number of new projects, including his ongoing, privately published Tales of Telguuth and The Bumper Book of Magic, with his lifelong friend Alan Moore.

Full Story: Strange Attractor: STEVE MOORE 1949 – 2014

Steve Moore wasn’t related to Alan Moore, but had a profound influence on his career and was the subject of the latter’s audio book Unearthing.

What It’s Like to be a Woman at a Comic Book Shop

woman-in-comic-shop

Read the whole comic by Noelle Stevenson.

(via Metafilter)

Previously: If Male Superheroes Were Drawn Like Female Superheroes

On Race and Sexual Violence in the Works of Alan Moore

Let’s get something out of the way upfront: I don’t think Alan Moore is a racist, homophobe or misogynist. But some of his works — particularly League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Neonomicon — have issues. Although it might seem silly to go after Moore when there are much worse offenders both in comics and other media (not to mention actual rapists), Moore’s work is a good case study of how even the most well intentioned, progressive writers can screw-up matters of race, gender and sexuality. And because he is perhaps the most highly regarded writer in comics, there’s a trickle down effect from his work. Moore refuses to listen to his critics, but maybe other writers can learn from his mistakes.

Last week Pádraig Ó Méalóid published an interview with Alan Moore in which he asked a few questions about sexual assault in his comics in general and specifically about his inclusion of Golliwog in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier.

Moore’s response is long and vitriolic, and misses the point entirely.

I can understand why Moore is so bothered by accusations of racism and sexism. He’s an old hippie who has put more consideration to identity politics and representation into his work than most comic writers of his or any other generation. He’s taken other creators to task for their sexism and homophobia. But even though he’s written some strong women and minority characters, he can and does get it wrong sometimes, and his reaction here is disappointing — not least of all because of the rhetorical style he employs.

Read More

Continue reading

Art Spiegelman Interview by Molly Crabapple

spiegelman-molly-crabapple

Molly Crabapple interviews Art Spiegelman, creator of Maus and the Garbage Pale Kids:

What do you think about comics as a medium for journalism?

I’m impressed by what’s been happening in it. Because of Photoshop we all know that photographs lie every second that they open up their mouths. You can’t really trust a photograph. It could have just as easily been a photoshopped collage. So, it’s probably more plausible to trust an artist. You get to feel whether you trust them or not.

The problem with it is that [comics are] slow. You can’t do what a video camera can do. A video camera is like a vacuum cleaner. You suck it in and then you spit it out on the night’s news; cutting for the most intense images. But the person holding the camera could never have really seen what he was seeing. And the person seeing it on the news has it as part of the barrage.

Artists tend to have to reveal more of themselves even when they try to be as scrupulous as Joe Sacco. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/11/joe-sacco-the-great-war-interview.html It has a place insofar as concentrating on something has a place. We’re living in an ADD universe. The computer encourages that second-to-second dopamine rush as you go from click to click. What’s valuable about comics and print is they actually are a venue where you end up spending time.

Full Story: Vice: THE HORROR OF THE BLANK PAGE: A CONVERSATION WITH ART SPIEGELMAN

See also: The Future of Journalism Is … Comics?

Interview with Creator of Channel 4’s Utopia

Channel 4 Utopia

Channel 4’s Utopia was one of my favorite pieces of media of 2013. The series follows a group of average people who know each other through a web forum dedicated to a comic book called Utopia. As the events of the comic unfold in real life, the characters swept up in an Invisibles conspiracy adventure. Unlike most series about comic fans, this a dark, edgy thriller, not a campy sitcom.

Den of Geek interviewed series creator and writer Dennis Kelly a couple months ago:

There’s a question at the heart of Utopia that I can’t answer, which is, with a burgeoning population, what do we do? I have lots of answers for lots of the world’s problems, and no-one ever asks me so they’re still going on [sighs. Everyone laughs]. For this one, I don’t have an answer because my slightly lefty liberal sensibilities just cannot offer anything. There’s talk about birth-rates going down, but our birth-rate went from 2.7 to 2.4 in the last fourteen years and we still produced another billion people. Even if the birth-rate does lower to 2.2 or 2.3 we’ll still be producing another billion in twenty years and it’s just a fucking nightmare. Phosphates are not going to last, we’re not going to be able to feed this amount of people. I don’t have an answer to that. I don’t think that Utopia’s going to come up with an answer for that, and I think if the world looks to Utopia for an answer to that, we’re really in trouble, but to me that makes it interesting, because it’s difficult and I don’t understand it.

Full Story: Den of Geek: Dennis Kelly Interview

You can stream the whole series from the Channel 5 site if you’re in the UK. If you’re outside the UK you’ll have to get a little more… creative… if you want to watch the show. Oh, and HBO has the rights to do a remake of the series, with David Fincher and Rian Johnson possibly attached.

Neil Gaimon Interview from 1993

I’ve been looking for this article for a long time. This particular quote was really important for me:

My old school got me in a few times to do “careers advice.” I was the token writer, and people would come up to me and say “How do I get to be a writer?” and I said “Well, first of all, if you can do anything else, do that. You know, there are lots of other things you can do that are an awful lot more fun, pay a lot better, will let you sleep far easier.” [laughs]

I also really like this bit:

Your fans are known as serious gift-givers. Jill Thompson says you’ve probably gotten more tapes than any writer at Musician magazine.

NEIL: Most of the tapes I’m given are terrible. You know, Scandanavian death-metal or whatever. You know: [sings in a deep, slightly American voice] “Oh, Morpheus, come down from the sky and give me good dreams CHA-DUNG CHA-DUNG CHA-DUNG” or one guy accompanies himself on a harmonium or whatever.

Well, that last one sounds interesting…

NEIL: It wasn’t. But I still play them. I had a tape given to me in San Diego a couple of years ago by somebody who said “A friend of mine is a huge Sandman fan, she’s just recorded this, she wants you to have it, she talks about you on one of the songs.” About three weeks later I got around to playing it, and it was terrific. Absolutely stunning. There was an address on it, and I wrote to her and said, “I think it’s wonderful, and thank you very much for mentioning me on the song,” and that was Tori Amos, and that was the tape that later became a number of tracks on Little Earthquakes.

Full Story: Neil Gaiman Interview, Hero Illustrated #4 (October 1993)

I’d give that same advice to anyone else considering a career in writing. I tried to find something else I could do for living, but I was never able to.

I thought I remembered a part with him talking about deciding to become a journalist, but I guess it was a different interview from around the same time. I did find this interview with him telling more or less the same story:

I’d always wanted to be a writer and I had a really bad night, the kind of long dark night of the soul, one of those nights you only get once or twice in a lifetime and I got one when I was about 20. I remember being unable to sleep and about four in the morning I keep thinking “I keep thinking I’m a writer. I like to think I could write stuff just as good as anybody else out there but I’m not really doing anything about it.” And that’s not the bad thing. What’s the bad thing is that in 50 or 60 years time I could be on my deathbed and I would say to myself, “I could’ve been a writer,” and I wouldn’t know if I was lying or not. It was the long dark night of the soul that genuinely changes everything. So I said “Okay, I’m gonna try and be a writer because even if I’m not, at least I’ll know that I’m not.” So I started writing. I wrote a children’s book, I wrote a bunch of short stories, and a lot of other stuff and sent them out to people . . .and the stories came back. Then I thought, “I’m doing this wrong. Either I’m not a very good writer (which I choose not to believe), or I’m doing this wrong. I want to understand how publishing and all that works. So I got up the next morning and said, “All right, I’m now a journalist. I’m a freelance journalist.” So I got on the phone to editors and pitched them story ideas about things I wanted to write and by the end of the day—by dint of lying cheerfully about previous experience—I now had several commissions and then had to turn them in.

FWOMP: And how did that go?

Neil Gaiman: It actually went fine although I must say as long as I had a typewriter, which was probably the next couple of years, there was a piece of paper taped to it that said, “Don’t let your mouth write no check that your tail can’t cash.” I think that’s a quote from Muddy Waters. And every now and then it would make me think, “I just got myself into a book contract. How the fuck did that happen? What do I do? I’ve never written a book and now I have a book contract.” So I’d write books. But it was good. There’s nothing for getting you good fast like having to be good fast, if that makes any sense.

Long Interview with Metal Hurlant Co-Founder Jean-Pierre Dionnet

Metal_Hurlant_1

The Comics Journal ran a long interview Jean-Pierre Dionnet, who co-founded Metal Hurlant with Moebius, Philippe Druillet, and Bernard Farkas.

Here he talks about how the American version of Metal Hurlant, Heavy Metal, came about:

And then I did some very bad things, that, thirty years having passed, could be considered criminal. The first one was to intrude in the night at the offices of L’Écho, to steal with Druillet their subscriber listing in photocopies.

I also made a sort of scheme to be published in America.

I mean, I had seen Stan Lee, or sent him a letter, and he said, “Oh, maybe it cannot work here.” I had seen Infantino, and I sent him an issue; he was not enthusiastic. And Joe Kubert told me not to do it. I had seen Bob Guccione, and he scared me to death, because he was living in a very big house with Christs everywhere, and naked ladies. So he scared me a lot. And I met Len Mogel of National Lampoon.

Mmm-hmm.

My scheme was not as scary in the beginning. I really believed through the stories that I had seen, that maybe we could do an edition of the Lampoon. But very, very fast, I understood that it was not possible because it was very American, and there were only very few pages, like Gahan Wilson’s Nuts, that I could use. And some parodies. But I noticed that each time Len Mogel came to Paris, or invited me to New York, his wife walked into the next room reading Métal Hurlant, trying to understand it. And each time I saw her become more enthusiastic. So I pushed, I pushed, I pushed – and one day Len said, “Oh, my daughter, my wife loves Métal Hurlant a lot; maybe we could do an exchange? You do Lampoon in France and we do Heavy Metal.” And I said yes, but I already knew that I would never do the Lampoon

Full Story: The Comics Journal: “I’ve Already Forgot What I Said to You, But I Know It’s the Truth”: The Testimony of Jean-Pierre Dionnet

See also:

Early Issues of Heavy Metal Reassessed

Covers From Ah ! Nana, the All Female Creator Version of Heavy Metal

Moebius Career Chronology

© 2014 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑