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Various short stories

Naughty Bits #40: 'Matrimony, Teddy Bear Style'

A 5-page story in Naughty Bits #40, Fantagraphics, 2004.

Category: humor, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Robert Triptow.
Website: http://www.roberttriptow.com/.
Cover by Roberta Gregory

In this short story, former Gay Comix editor Robert Triptow offers a very funny satire of gay marriage, through a couple of two bears who decide to make a trip to San Francisco during the recent gay wedding days.
Triptow, who married his partner at that time, shows his penchant for bad taste humor by having a queeny fanboy and a confused militant-sounding business attorney decide to marry... but then, they clearly love each other. Triptow doesn't look down on his characters, he makes us laugh with them, and not against them.
The solid and slightly over-the-top art enhances the feeling of a skewed reality not far from our own, but far funnier. It's definitely refreshing to see such a loaded question as same-sex marriage treated that way.

Justin remembers Kevin

True Travel Tales #2: 'A Final Goodbye'

A five-page story in a collection of stories, All Thumbs Press, 2003.

Category: slice-of-life.

Author(s): Justin Hall.
Website: http://www.allthumbspress.com

Here is a second issue of Justin Hall's true-to-life collection of travel stories. Among those stories, a very moving tale of a man meeting a friend of his in a strange place... but this friend is dead, and the man is dreaming.
Blending that dream with his memories of the last times he met his friend and his friend's boyfriend, Justin Hall -since it is him who's dreaming- manages to convey the emotions which engulf him, among other things by finding ways to link panels of the dream with the depiction of his actual memories.
Dreaming of a dead person one cared for is not unusual, but by making it so personal, Justin Hall definitely affects each and everyone of us.

True Travel Tales #1: 'Oh, Mighty Isis!'

A four-page story in this collection of stories, All Thumbs Press, 2002.

Category: slice-of-life.

Author(s): Justin Hall.
Website: http://www.allthumbspress.com
Cover by Michelle Rainier

After the very unique A Sacred Text, Justin Hall is back with a collection of true stories told to him about travels all over the world.
One of these shows two guys visiting an temple of Isis in Egypt. Which better place for a sexual encounter than the ruins of a sand-covered fertility altar? Justin Hall's art is getting more assured with each story he draws, and the irony of writing about gay sex in a country now known for imprisoning its Gays was probably not lost on the author.

Mind Riot: 'Out at the movies'

A four-page story in this anthology about teenagers, Simon & Schuster, 1997.
ISBN: 0-689-80622-1.

Category: coming-out.

Author(s): Maurice Vellekoop.
Website: http://frpeneaud.free.fr, my fan-site.
Cover by Peter Kuper

An anthology about the pleasures and pains of adolescence, Mind Riot offered Maurice Vellekoop, the author of Vellevision, an opportunity to give us another of his short sweet tales of gay boys.
'Out at the Movies' is the story of a teenaged old movies lover, eager to burst out of the closet he still inhabits. With his usual, simple but effective classic art style, Vellekoop shows a young man beginning to take control of his life.

Within Our Reach: 'Home for Christmas'

A four-page story in an aids- & environment-themed benefit anthology, Star*Reach Productions, 1991.

Category: aids.

Author(s): Shair, Eric Shanower.
Website: no website
Cover painting by Paul Chadwick

Within Our Reach was a Christmas-themed anthology produced to benefit organisations fighting for the environment and against aids. 'Home for Christmas' was written by Shair, a woman writer I know nothing about, and drawn by Eric Shanower, who's now working on his excellent Age of Bronze series.
It tells the story of two gay men, one living with aids, who take in their home a straight man dying from aids, alone for Christmas. Shanower's art, solid and calm, grounds in reality this moving tale which, managing to avoid being maudlin, shows humane solidarity at its best.

Last Day in Vietnam: 'A Purple Heart for George'

A 10-page story, Dark Horse Comics, 2000.
order from


Category: historical, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Will Eisner.
Website: http://willeisner.com.

In this collection of real-life stories set in war-torn Vietnam, Eisner included the very moving tale of a clerk who wants to join the man he loves in a combat unit. He gets drunk every weekend and writes a request for transfer without realising what he's doing, but his friends protect him by destroying the letter before it's read. Unfortunately, they can't protect him all the time... There are so few stories about gay people in wars that I think we must thank Eisner for telling this, even if it doesn't end happily.

Heartthrobs #1: 'Genes and a T-shirt'

An 8-page story, DC Comics, 1999.

Category: humor.

Author(s): Robert Rodi, Phil Jimenez.
Website: no website.
Cover by Bruce Timm
Is being gay only a question of genes? Is it easier to get a date when one's het? Can you get the camp out of the fag? All these terribly serious questions are answered in a mere 8 pages by Rodi and Jimenez in this very funny story which shows what happens when a guy decides to stop being gay and gets his gay gene (the infamous Xq28, I suppose) removed.

Flinch #7: 'Parade'

An 8-page story, DC Comics, 1999.

Category: fantasy, coming-out.

Author(s): Devin Grayson, Phil Jimenez.
Website: no website.

Halloween on Castro Street. A 40ish man is chasing after his son and runs into friends from his past. From when he was gay. From before he went straight and betrayed his friends. This being published in a horror anthology, he won't get off that easily. Devin Grayson writes a chilling story here, and Phil Jimenez's artwork is suitably realistic and creepy at the same time.

Promethea #7

An 8-page story, DC Comics, 2000.
Moore & Villarubia have collaborated again on The Mirror of Love

Category: fantasy.

Author(s): Alan Moore, José Villarrubia.
Website: no website.

This is not strictly speaking a short story, but rather a story within the story. Promethea is a kind of goddess who finds human bodies to inhabit. The first storyline of the series has the newest human host being shown the previous Prometheas. In this issue, we discover the 1940's to 1960's version, when a man was the host. The main story is drawn by Williams and Gray, while the story of this man is illustrated by Villarrubia, using manipulated photographs. Moore has written a queer Wonder Woman: a gay guy becomes a fabulous woman and a handsome straight guy falls in love with him. This might sound corny, but it is very serious: at one time, the gay host says "Dennis was decent, handsome... and straight. That was the decider, if I'm honest." That and the realistic albeit depressing ending show that Moore has thought deeply about the dangers of the self-hatred which some gay men felt during that period. Villarrubia's illustrations are breathtaking. I can only hope this will lead to other collaborations between Moore and him.
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