In time for Pride month, a crop of comics takes aim at gay audiences

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer

GRAPHICALLY GAY | From classic rereleases to new graphic novels to celebrity bios, gay audiences are drawn to drawings.

Remember in Chasing Amy that the character Alyssa was the author for the lesbian comic book Idiosyncratic Routine? The sparks of excitement flew at that notion of a somewhat underground book devoted to a gay audience.

Gay comics weren’t anything new — they just opened to a bigger audience 13 years ago. Now, the big guns are in the game and have offerings directly aimed at an LGBT audience.
How times have changed.

DC Comics’ edgier imprint, Vertigo, republishes Stuck Rubber Baby just in time for national Pride. The hardcover graphic novel ($24.99) celebrates its 15th anniversary with new cover art by author and Lambda Literary Award winner Howard Cruse.

Baby follows Tolan Polk, growing up gay in the American South of the ’60s. Against the backdrop of a racially divided community, Polk also has to deal with accepting his own self. The book unfolds in 24 chapters with both surprising grit and humor.

In August, Vertigo will releases Fogtown ($19.99) by Andersen Gabrych and art by Brad Rader. If the author’s name rings a bell, he has written some more popular DC titles such as Batman and Catwoman, but is also an actor in indie gay cinema, playing in Edge of Seventeen, Another Gay Movie and its sequel.

Fogtown is a comic noir about private eye Frank Grissel navigating the criminal element in 1953 San Francisco. The book has all the elements of most Bogart detective movies with beautiful dames, corrupt cops and seedy streets. But Grissel may have to internalize his investigative acumen onto himself as a missing persons case hits a little too close to home.

Who wants to pore through a boring ol’ biography when you have Bluewater Comics? The production company famous for comic book biographies of cultural and pop cultural icons adds two more to its library this month. Joining the ranks of previous bios for Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey and even Sarah Palin, The Fame series now adds to the roster Twilight actor Robert Pattinson and — wait for it — Lady Gaga.

The stylized bios ($3.99) follow the stars from obscurity to superstardom, but without all that text in the way. Hey, it’s cheaper than a CD or ticket to Eclipse.


Maggie may: Kathy’s mom writes a (funny) book

Part of the appeal of Maggie Griffin, Kathy’s nonagenarian ma and Betty White-style star of My Life on the D-List, is her essential mom-ness — she’s cool, but not really cool.

It’s fitting, then, that her new book Tip It! (Hyperion; $23.99) — named for Maggie’s signature line about getting the last drop of wine from the Franzia box — begins with a banal recitation of why she wears house dresses (or dusters as she calls them). If Granny were telling this story you’d tune out, but Maggie’s rants are undercut by inserted asides from Kathy that lovingly mock Maggie’s fuddy-duddyhood.

But Maggie’s still pretty savvy, putting the discussion of her gays in chapter 2 and before her discourse on the value of rubber bands. It’s a gem of hilarious nonsense.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

In stores June 23.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 18, 2010.