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June 19, 2010: I've launched a new version of this website as a Wordpress blog. This version won't be updated anymore.
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.
   
 

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On this page:

Homo Patrol
The Desert Peach second collection
Sticky interview
Lost Girls
HIV/AIDS in comics, a panel at NYC MoCCA

 

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Entries for September 2006:
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Saturday, September 23, 2006
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

(List all)
Homo Patrol

Category: aids, homophobia.
Author(s): Tom Roberts, Ken Roberts.
Year of publication: 1988-1989.


It's always rather chilling to see that a topical story published almost twenty years ago is still very much relevant. This is certainly the case with Homo Patrol. Written by Tom Roberts and drawn by his brother Ken Roberts, the 1989 64-page graphic novel is a collection of one-page episodes drawn between 1988 and 1989, telling the too-close-for-comfort story of a town where concerned citizens decide to form a "Homo Patrol" to round up those damn faggots who spread disease and bad morals. Concentrating on two of the volunteer "patrolmen" who prowl the city trying to catch gays, the story unfolds little by little, using dark humor as well as very realistic behavior from officials and politicians.
All innocents are equal...The art is for me strongly reminiscent of some underground style: it's aggressive and doesn't try to pretty up the characters, which make it well-suited to the kind of story told here.
I must admit that until a few weeks ago, I'd never heard of this work. I found a reference to it on the Gay League timeline, managed to find a copy, and I don't regret paying a bit much for it (Amazon seems to sell copies, too). If at first the concept might seem absurd, the reader is quickly convinced by the way the writer makes it all believable, partly through a nuanced portrait of the characters involved, and partly, as I said before, by the use of gallows humor. This is not a book for everybody, I suppose, but I think it deserves a place of choice in the pantheon of good gay-themed comics.
That, and we have to remember that rounding up gay people, especially AIDS victims, was an idea in the air around the time the story was written.

Nowadays, that idea would seem repellent to most people, but it's not as if HIV-positive people have an easy time in society, and we still have supposedly moral references like the Pope calling gay mariage an "eclipse of god" - frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing a permanent eclipse of religion.
Writer Tom Roberts wrote a number of small press zines in the 80's, and in the 90's, worked on a satirical strip with artist Jim Siergey called Cultural Jet Lag. He died in January 1999 of complications related to muscular distrophy, according to an article in the Comics Journal #210.


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Friday, September 22, 2006
Various news
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The Desert Peach second collection



coverA second collection of Donna Barr's The Desert Peach is now available at Lulu.com. It includes issues #7 to #14. All those issues are rather hard to find, and you get a short story not included in the comics, starring the real-life Desert Fox. As I've often told you, Donna Barr's work gets my highest recommendation. And the collection is priced very reasonably, it seems to me.


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Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Various news
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Sticky interview


Author(s): Dale Lazarov, Steve MacIsaac.


coverThere's a good interview right here with Dale Lazarov and Steve MacIsaac, the creators of the erotic graphic novel Sticky. Dale even announces some of his projects, and I can't wait to see them. More about the second issue of Steve's Shirtlifter here soon, too.


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Sunday, September 17, 2006
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Lost Girls

Category: erotica, gay-friendly, lesbian.
Author(s): Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie.
Year of publication: 1991-2006.


Alan Moore is no stranger to gay-friendly comics (his latest being the Top Ten graphic novel). With Lost Girls (available from Amazon or other book sellers), he's managed to write a gay/lesbian/straight-inclusive erotic story, which is no small feat in our times.
Drawn by Melinda Gebbie, who's now Moore's companion, Lost Girls is a monster project: it took about 15 years to finish what now comprises three oversized 112-pages hardcovers in a slipcase, with very high production values, and a price to match them. It is, on the surface, a reinterpretation of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Peter Pan in a very sexual way. But as usual with Moore, there's far more.
Peter Pan and Captain Hook, all swords out1913. In an Swiss hotel near the French border, three women meet and get to know each other. Alice Fairchild is an aristocratic British Lesbian in her 60s, Dorothy Gale a young American woman, and Wendy Potter a slightly older, but not much, British woman married to a pompous jerk 20 years older than she is. They will tell each other important episodes of their lives, which we'll understand to be realistic (albeit pornographic) versions of the happenings in the three books mentioned above. So, lots of sex depicted, and with a few other secondary characters, mostly male, we (almost) get the full range of human sexuality. There's a lot of lesbian sex in there, and even the straight sex is seen from a female point of view, which is what sets Lost Girls apart from a lot of modern porn.
A gay meeting, with Schiele-like artAnother fun aspect is the way stories are told within the main story, purportedly excerpted from a White Book (I'd like to know if Moore cribbed that title from the erotic autobiography written and drawn by Jean Cocteau) commissioned by the hotel manager, a big pornography amateur, from various well-known artists. For example, during a male-on-male encounter, we get an Oscar Wilder-penned Dorian Gray story illustrated by Egon Schiele. Gebbie and Moore obviously had a lot of fun imitating the artists' styles, and it shows.
Apart from all that, Moore makes a few very good points regarding the essential difference between imagination and reality: drawing a sex act (or writing about it) is not the same as performing it, or forcing someone to perform it. That's why in Lost Girls, we see kids involved in sex, following the XIXth-century tradition (or the De Sade tradition) of breaking as many taboos as one can. I'll be clear on that: For what it's worth, I complete agree with Moore. As off-putting or disgusting as some of the stories told there are to me, there were no human beings involved, and these drawings are "victimless crimes". After all, nobody would think there's a crime committed in comics when someone is killed... but in some part of our societies, that difference is not clear. We quickly get into the realm of thought crimes, if we can't make that difference.
There's also a strong anti-war stream in the whole book, with Moore calling war a "failure of the imagination" in various interviews.

The three volumes coversWith its lush art, strong (and often funny) writing and high ethics, Lost Girls is a book that can be enjoyed by all manners of readers, straight or not, male or female, but you definitely need to have an open mind regarding sexual mores and their representation. But then, you wouldn't be reading this site if you were prudes, would you?


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Friday, September 15, 2006
Various news
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HIV/AIDS in comics, a panel at NYC MoCCA



Howard Cruse informs us of an upcoming panel to be held at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art in New York City.
Out of the Pages: A Look Back at 25 Years of HIV/AIDS in Comics will be part of a fundraising for Gay Men's Health Crisis, and will include Howard Cruse, Allan Neuwirth (Chelsea Boys); Abby Denson (Tough Love); and Chris Companik (HIV + Me). It will take place on October 23.


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