BREAKING: Bulletins from the front lines of the courthouse

Neal and Williams

A few month ago, Richard Neal, the owner of Zeus Comics, was so excited about the Supreme Court finally hearing the marriage equality case that he brought a change of clothes to his shop so that he and partner Chris Williams, who have been together 12 years, could rush to the courthouse the second it became legal in Texas. When I told him it wouldn’t be until June that SCOTUS likely decided the case, he was undeterred — he and Chris were fully prepared to drop everything and get hitched the second they could.

“We’re not going to miss this!” he told me.  “Chris sees getting married as our civic duty to participate in what we’ve been fighting for. For me, it’s the validation for LGBT individuals and in particular LGBT youth to know that they can have real and whole relationships.”

This isn’t the first time they’ve affirmed their devotion to each other. They met more than a decade ago, “and followed that six years ago with an announcement in the Dallas Voice and a gorgeous ceremony with family and friends at the Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park. Though no piece of paper can give value to what we already have, it’s important to us that we make it official in Texas,” Neal says. (I was at that ceremony. It was charming.)

This morning, the second they heard about the decision, Neal and Williams jumped into action, texting me updates all morning. Here are some of his bulletins from the front lines:

“We saw two other gays running while we were looking for parking!”

Later: “We’ve filled out the application They’ve told us they’re waiting for the go-ahead. This place is chaotic.”

Then: “We’ve been told the clerk’s office is working on finding a judge to waive the waiting period — The media are interviewing people in line as if they’ve [already] been married.”

As of earlier this hour, it was still a madhouse of waiting, though progress was being made: “No one has been called yet. They’re crossing Ts and dotting Is. We’ve been told Judge George Tillery is making it happen [i.e., waiving the three-day waiting period for gay couples]. Once they get going, we’ll head over there to finalize [our marriage].”

It’s a tremendous time of support and excitement, Neal says: “Jack Evans and George Harris are now in the paperwork line! We’re still ahead of them in the process, but so great to see them here!”

We’ll update this post as Richard and Chris tell us more. Congrats, guys!


“Folks that have filed like us are being send to the probate court for finalization. … We’re in a court waiting with about another 50 couples. Judge Garcia is going to waive the 72 hour waiting period. She’s here now. Lots of applause.”

“We’re being addressed by John Warren. He said sam-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. He said licenses will begin being issued.”

Chris and I are the 7th couple [married in Dallas County]!”

“I should have brought snacks.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Marvel’s Iceman is gay!

icemanIssue No. 40 of All New X-Men is out today, and readers of the Marvel Comic by Brian Michael Bendis had something confirmed that has been rumored for a while: That Iceman, one of the original X-Men, is not just a friend of Wolverine … he’s also a friend of Dorothy. Yup, the cool superhero is officially gay. Iceman isn’t the first gay hero, but it’s notable nonetheless.

Just how gay? Well, stop by Zeus Comics and ask out owner Richard Neal to sell it to ya and find out for yourself.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Skivvies opens outlet location


Skivvies, the longstanding gayborhood destination for sexy underwear and swimwear, isn’t just in the gayborhood anymore. In the planning stages for a while, today the gay-owned retailer has a second location — one of the outlet variety.

The new storefront, at 1336 Inwood Road, is next door to gay-owned Zeus Comics and across the street from the Crate & Barrel outlet. The neighbors don’t seem to mind.

“A men’s underwear/clothing shop is opening next door,” Zeus owner Richard Neal posted on Facebook recently. “If my wardrobe shifts to club wear, you’ll know why.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Is boycott of Orson Card’s ‘Ender’s Game’ good policy or free publicity?


It’s not that I’m sympathetic toward him, but Orson Scott Card can’t catch a break with the gay fanboys lately.

The Mormon sci-fi author and anti-gay activist wrote a book, Ender’s Game, in 1984 that was well-received among sci-fi folks. Then around 1990, he started speaking out against homosexuality. His vocal opposition to same-sex marriage drew more criticism — all of it, let’s say outright, completely justified. He’s even on the board (still) of the National Organization for Marriage.

Earlier this year, when DC Comics announced Card would be authoring the Superman Anthology, gay comic bookstore owners like Dallas’ Richard Neal drew a bright line, saying if the homophobic Card was allowed to write it, stores like Zeus would refuse to carry it. The artist hired to draw the serial pulled out as well.

Now Card is in the news again. Oscar nominees Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld have completed principal photography on the film version of Ender’s Game, due out in November from Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood. Readying for San Diego’s Comic-Con next week, the studio began rolling out the stars to promote the movie; Ford and co-star Asa Butterfield are even on an Entertainment Weekly cover.

And here stands the new controversy. Card is credited as author of the source material as well as serving as producer on the film, and so a boycott had been brewing, with organizers from New York-based Geeks Out asking folks to sign a pledge denying “support” to the film (which, we assume, means buying a ticket).

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Artist pulls out of Superman comic, cites Card controversy


Richard Neal

Local comic book store owner Richard Neal has been one of those at the forefront criticizing DC Comics for tapping virulent homophobe Orson Scott Card to pen a Superman story for them; Neal announced his Zeus Comics wouldn’t carry it when it was released.

Well, he will have to wait even longer until that day comes. Chris Sprouse, the artist hired to draw the comic, has pulled out of the assignment, citing the Card controversy.

That doesn’t mean the comic is dead, however; DC says it will hire another artist — a fact that distresses Neal.

“In the same week Carly Rae Jepsen and Train cancel a Boy Scouts of America concert appearance by standing up for LGBT equality, we get this from DC,” Neal sighs. “I’m not sure what I was expecting to happen, but I know what I was hoping to happen. However there will be no parade, no victory celebration for equality. DC relied on the artists to make the decision for them. If there is any victory, it’s in the meaningful conversations held in comic shops across the country about LGBT [rights] and marriage equality. The victory is in the community we create with each other.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Zeus’ Neal gets national attention for opposing anti-gay Superman scribe

Variants castDallas retailer Richard Neal, owner of Zeus Comics, has become the go-to guy on why DC Comics is being bone-headed about choosing anti-gay activist Orson Scott Card to write its Adventures of Superman trilogy, which the superhero-loving Neal has refused to carry in his store.

Neal, center, is now the subject of a two-part interview on the website ComicsAlliance about the controversy. You can read it here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: CW33’s ‘Gay Agenda’

Screen shot 2013-02-14 at 7.49.01 AM

Zeus Comics’ Richard Neal talks to CW33’s Doug Magditch about his decision not to carry the new Superman comic after DC Comics tapped anti-gay bigot Orson Scott Card to help write it.

In this week’s installment, CW33’s Doug Magditch talks about backlash against DC Comics for tapping an anti-gay bigot to help write the new Superman; the Associated Press’ reluctance to refer to married same-sex couples as “husband” or “wife”; and the furor over an anti-gay prom in Indiana. And as usual, don’t miss my cameo! Watch it below.

—  John Wright

Dallas’ Zeus Comics says it won’t carry anti-gay writer’s Superman


Orson Scott Card

The gay owner of Dallas’ Zeus Comics store has announced he won’t carry the print edition of DC Comics’ Anthology of Superman, after the comic book maker hired a board member from the National Organization for Marriage to help write the series.

DC Comics announced Monday that Orson Scott Card will help write the new Superman. Card not only sits on the board of NOM, but he has also called homosexuality “deviant behavior” and argued that marriage equality will lead to the collapse of civilization.

Despite outrage from the LGBT community and a petition calling for DC Comics to get rid of Card that now has almost 8,000 signatures, DC Comics stood by its decision in a statement to the Advocate.

D Magazine reports that Richard Neal, owner of Zeus Comics, posted the following statement on his Facebook page:

Zeus Comics will not be carrying the print edition of writer Orson Scott Card’s Superman.

Card sits on the board of the National Organization of Marriage which fights against marriage equality. His essays advocate the destruction of my relationship, that I am born of rape or abuse and that I am equated with pedophilia. These themes appear in his fiction as well.

It is shocking DC Comics would hire him to write Superman, a character whose ideals represent all of us.

If you replaced the word “homosexuals” in his essays with the words “women” or “jews” he would not be hired. But I’m not sure why its still okay to “have an opinion” about gays? This is about equality.

Neal also linked to his husband’s Tumblr page containing a scan of a recent Superman comic that appears to show him saving a gay teen from suicide. View the scan below.

—  John Wright

VIDEO: The newest “Variants” … just in time for ComicCon

Ever wonder why new episodes of The Variants always debut on Wednesday? Because as every comic book geek knows, Wednesdays are “comic book day,” the day of the week when new issues of the latest titles are delivered to stores across the country. So, if you’re so moved, after watching this latest webisode of the Internet series set here in Dallas, you can cruise on over to Zeus’ new digs on Inwood Road (look for the Batsignal!).

And if you’re really put in a comic book mood, it’s just in time for Dallas ComicCon, which takes places at the new Irving Convention Center Friday through Sunday.

Zeus owner Richard Neal calls this episode — entitled “Girl Drink Drunk,” after the Kids in the Hall sketch — his favorite of Season 3 …. and it’s hella-gay. Enjoy!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: “The Variants” occupy Zeus

Zeus Comics is being occupied. Protesters have gathered outside the shop to protest the firing of Keli, but they show up in costume … which may actually attract more customers.

You can watch it here, or go to

—  Arnold Wayne Jones