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#1230610 - Thu Jan 09 2020 10:35 PM Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America


I was recently reading Craig Russell's listing on Wikipedia. They credit him with being the first openly gay comics creator.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._Craig_Russell

Among many other great stories in comics, Russell, paired with writer Don McGregor, early on did the "Killraven" series in AMAZING ADVENTURES 27-39 from 1974-1976.
https://comiconlinefree.com/amazing-adventures-1970/issue-27
One of my favorite comics series, its beautiful lyrical writing and art making it a series I've revisited often.





Right after, Russell did NIGHT MUSIC, the second graphic novel published by Eclipse, in 1979.



Originally in black-and-white, NIGHT MUSIC was reprinted in color with other material as a NIGHT MUSIC comic-size series in its first 2 issues, and continued with other adaptations and new work.

Russell also contributed adaptations of Wagnerian operas and plays, and adaptaions of Rudyard Kipling, O. Henry, Oscar Wilde, the Jungle Book, and other literary works. Beautiful stuff, and definintely filling a void, not likely to be adapted by any other comics artists. Russell's work is at times whimsical and even cartoonish, but overall presents a wealth of elegant and sophisticated work. Relative to the more fanboyish offerings in comics, Russell's work presentss a deep sense of culture, literature, and the arts.



Russell further cemented his reputation with the ELRIC Marvel graphic novel in 1982.
https://comiconlinefree.com/marvel-graphic-novel/issue-2_-_Elric_-_The_Dreaming_City



Followed up by an equally nice 6-issue ELRIC comics series from Pacific Comics in 1983-1984. And several follow-up Elric books and adaptations over the last 40 years. Russell has probably done more work on Elric than any other character.


In 1983, Russell also did a KILLRAVEN graphic novel, the last McGregor/Russell collaboration on the series.
https://comiconlinefree.com/marvel-graphic-novel/issue-7_-_Killraven_-_Warrior_of_the_Worlds





Here's an IDW "artists edition" book of Russell's original art on the KILLRAVEN graphic novel, and also a DR STRANGE: WHAT IS IT THAT DISTURBS YOU STEPHEN? one-shot (the latter being a revised version of Russell's DR STRANGE ANNUAL 1 from 1976), along with a sampling of other classic pages of Russell's early work:

https://aeindex.org/reviews/p-craig-russells-strange-dreams-artists-edition/

Among many other exceptional contributions to the comics field. Even Russell just providing inks on projects by artists like Michael Golden, Jim Starlin and Tom Artis turned those books into something exceptional and among my favorites.


So what other offerings by gay creators, or stories about gay issues or characters do you see as great contributions to the comics field?



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#1230611 - Thu Jan 09 2020 11:01 PM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
the G-man
Offline Officially "too old for this shit"

Registered: Fri May 16 2003
Posts: 43718
Loc: the right
I would’ve guessed Howard Cruse was the first openly gay comic book creator. But perhaps they mean mainstream rather than underground.
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#1230615 - Fri Jan 10 2020 12:01 AM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: the G-man]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America


 Originally Posted By: the G-man
I would’ve guessed Howard Cruse was the first openly gay comic book creator. But perhaps they mean mainstream rather than underground.



Hard as it might be to believe now, Howard Cruse also started out in the closet.

I like Howard Cruse's work a lot. I first read his BAREFOOTZ and other series in short segments in ALIEN ENCOUNTERS, ECLIPSE magazine, ANYTHING GOES, COMMIES FROM MARS, SNARF, BIZARRE SEX and a few other titles. But the BAREFOOTZ comic that collected a lot of these shorter stories presented something of an awakening for Cruse.

From Comixjoint, a site devoted to underground comics:


http://www.comixjoint.com/barefootzfunnies.html

 Quote:
Cruse's Barefootz debuted in the University of Alabama's student newspaper in 1971, where it ran for a year, and later appeared in several alternative tabloids in Birmingham. Denis Kitchen gave Barefootz wider exposure when he published several stories in Snarf (it also appeared in Commies from Mars #1). Barefootz also became a regular feature in Comix Book [a rather odd magazine-size anthology from Marvel, Marvel's brief 5-issue dance on the edge of underground comics publishing], which soon led to the debut of Barefootz Funnies, the printing of which Cruse and his friends funded through a limited partnership called Woofnwarp Productions. Kitchen Sink then managed the production and distribution of the books. [BAREFOOTZ FUNNIES 1 was published in 1975, collecting mostly earlier strips.]

Barefootz Funnies took an interesting journey from 1975 to 1979. When Barefootz debuted as a comic character in 1971, Cruse was still in the closet about being gay. Cruse later admitted the character was not the most representative of his own personality, since Barefootz wasn't gay.
But in Barefootz #2 [1976], Cruse revealed that Barefootz's artist buddy Headrack was gay. This type of revelation ran counter to Barefootz's reputation as being too cutesy to be part of the underground comic revolution. Cruse's publicly emerging sexual orientation in real life was leading him to become more bold in his comics, which created ambivalence about the cartoony style and nature of the Barefootz character. Cruse began to ponder abandoning the character, and even considered murdering Barefootz in a comic book, a la Crumb's Fritz the Cat, thus enabling Cruse to re-create the characters in Barefootz Funnies as more realistic-looking people.

Instead, Cruse finished the series with one final issue, which featured the cathartic "Barefootz Variations," a story that summed up his mixed feelings about Barefootz and about cartooning itself. Barefootz Funnies #3 [December 1979] allowed Cruse to bid farewell to his first original comic character and move on to comics that meant more to him, his fan base and the critics who had complained so loudly about his cutesy cartoon style.

Barefootz Funnies rarely makes the list of any underground comic fan's favorite comic books, but it was certainly a fascinating account of one comic creator's evolution in real life.





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#1230616 - Fri Jan 10 2020 12:24 AM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America



I was sorry to see that Howard Cruse just died on November 26, 2019, at the age of 75. This blog mentioned it, with a brief look at his comics career, and a few sample pages of his work.

http://fourrealities.blogspot.com/2019/11/



Here's his page on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Cruse


One of my favorites of Cruse was a 3-page strip in ECLIPSE magazine 1, May 1981, "Quick Trim", with an opinionated conservative barber forcing his views on his clients, page 1 of which is in the blog linked above.

I like Cruse's earlier work the best, up through the early/mid 1980's, with a cleaner linestyle than his later work, whimsical stories where his characters interact in a friendly way with the roaches in his apartment, a monster who lives under his bed, space aliens, and other low-key interactions with odd characters.






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#1230632 - Mon Jan 13 2020 03:18 PM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America




Some gay characters in a story I enjoyed appeared in the McGregor/Graham/Freeman issues of SABRE (issues 3-9), two jailed political prisoners with the unlikely names of Summer Ice and Deuces Wild.

Despite the flamboyance of their names, they're pretty low-key characters who offer a nice commentary on human dignity and grace under pressure, as prisoners lawlessly held by an authoritarian future government.


full story online at:
http://www.12comic.com/issue.jsp?id=190227022732pkat&cu=11



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#1230639 - Tue Jan 14 2020 07:51 PM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America


Page 1 of "Quick Trim" by Howard Cruse.
From ECLIPSE magazine 1, May 1981.







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#1230653 - Fri Jan 17 2020 02:08 AM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America

Another comics artist I recall is Duffy Vohland.

I just ran across this pin-up Vohland did with artist Don Maitz, in the Marvel magazine DRACULA LIVES 10, Jan 1975:
https://comiconlinefree.com/dracula-lives/issue-10/3


Duffy Vohland was for a several years in the mid/late 1970's among the office staff at Marvel, and did a lot of pin-up illustrations and inking, mostly on their black and white magazine line.

I think I first saw his work in an issue of Marvel's fanzine, FOOM. As I recall, inking a Byrne Red Sonja pin-up.

And most memorably for me, Vohland was the bartender in the first "ROG 2000" backup story in E-MAN 6, in 1975. Apparently reflecting his real part time supplemental work as a bartender.

http://bronzeageofblogs.blogspot.com/2014/05/rog-2000.html


On page 1 (in a larger size):
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yJpUFboNhj0/U3WrF_n7VUI/AAAAAAAALoA/UvWtqMbEcRc/s1600/E-Man+06+17.jpg

Vohland died in the early 1980's of AIDS in 1982, in a time before it was officially identified and named AIDS.




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#1230673 - Sat Jan 18 2020 08:56 AM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America



A nice recollection of Duffy Vohland by Paul Kupperberg:

https://kupps.malibulist.com/2013/03/06/duffys-tavern/



One of several links from this topic about him:
http://m.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=53118

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#1230675 - Sat Jan 18 2020 09:03 AM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America





Another Byrne/Vohland page, the centerfold from FOOM 11, Dec 1975. The issue celebrating Kirby's return to Marvel.



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#1230679 - Sat Jan 18 2020 10:42 AM Re: Gay writers, artists, stories and issues in comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21153
Loc: A glorious bold new America



Here's a link to a 6-page story from the Marvel black and white magazine DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU issue 5, pencilled by Paul Gulacy, inked by Duffy Vohland.
https://comiconlinefree.com/the-deadly-hands-of-kung-fu/issue-5/32
or
https://diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com/2011/08/?m=1


DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU provided a lot of great early work by George Perez, Keith Giffen, Neal Adams, Jim Starlin, Al Milgrom, Paul Gulacy, Dick Giordano, Keith Pollard, Bob McLeod, Rudy Nebres, Tony Dezuniga, Pat Brodeick, Terry Austin, Marshall Rogers, Sonny Trinidad, Rico Rival and others.
A lot of new talent in just 33 issues. In particular the "Sons of the Tiger" series by George Perez, his first regular series, preceding his work on "Man-Wolf" in CREATURES ON THE LOOSE, and preceding Perez's work on the first INHUMANS series, and later on FF, AVENGERS, and LOGAN'S RUN.

Vohland also inked a lot of Byrne pin-ups and stories in the 1975-1976 period across Marvel's black and white magazines, along with inks over pages by other artists.



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