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Unpacking the Transphobia in ‘Airboy’ #2

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Airboy is a four-issue miniseries written by James Robinson and illustrated by Greg Hinkle, and published by Image Comics. Its premise is that Robinson and Hinkle, portrayed as fictionalized versions of themselves, are tapped to revamp an obscure Golden Age character. Robinson suffers writer's block, which hanging out with Hinkle doesn't help; the two of them wind up injecting, inhaling and eating the equivalent of a small pharmacy and go on a bender. When they awaken, they find that the creation they were tasked to revamp, Airboy, has sprung to four-color life, and he sees much wrong with the world – possibly rightly, possibly wrongly.

So far, so good. It's metafiction, but speaking as someone whose shelves groan under the weight of Grant Morrison and Terry Pratchett, there's nothing wrong with a good metafiction that blurs the line between creation and creator. But there's a dark side to blurring that line, and that dark side is that it makes it difficult to tell where the fictional character ends and the real person's opinions begin – and that's lent an odious air when the opinions ventured in the narrative are wrongheaded and harmful.

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Dear Storytellers: Gay Characters Aren’t Going to Show Up ‘Organically’ In Your Stories, You Have to Put Them There

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We're nowhere to be found in the Star Trek movies, or the Star Wars movies, or Jurassic Park, or The Fast & The Furious. To the best of my knowledge we're not in Mission: Impossible, or Planet of the Apes, or Die Hard, or The Dark Knight, or Transformers. We're not in Lord of the Rings, despite how it may seem, and we're not obviously in Harry Potter, though the author says we're there. We're not in Spider-Man, and somehow we're not even in the X-Men movies, though they are at least partly about us. We might be in The Hunger Games.
We are in James Bond. Of all the big movie franchises, that's the one that's really taken the time to present a handful of gay or bisexual characters in its fifty year history; but as damaged killers, and as uniquely challenging romantic conquests. And we're definitely not in the Marvel movies. Based on recent comments by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, we may not turn up there any time soon. You see, Feige isn't going to force it; he'll find an "organic" way to introduce LGBTQ characters to his fictional world.

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Comics Alliance Presents ‘Kate or Die’ in ‘Pride!’

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ComicsAlliance Presents “Kate or Die,” a series of exclusive comic strips created by one of our favorite cartoonists, Kate Leth! In this episode, Kate grabs the rainbow paint to celebrate an amazing landmark moment in the advancement of LGBTQ rights, with the Supreme Court ruling that ended restrictions on letting people in the US marry the person they love. From everyone here at ComicsAlliance; we hope you had a happy Pride!

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‘All-New X-Men’ Reveals Longtime X-Man As Gay (For Now)

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The Advocate has published leaked pages from All-New X-Men #40, on sale tomorrow, which reveal that one of the characters is secretly gay. It's a big moment, and one that could potentially increase gay visibility in the Marvel Universe in a significant way, but there are complications to the story that make it hard to read as an unambiguous victory for LGBTQ representation. Read on if you don't mind having the issue spoiled.

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Feminist, Queer, And Lots of Fun: ‘Cassius’ from Emily Willis and Ann Uland [Back Pages]

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We're always looking for new comics to champion, and Cassius, from Emily Willis and Ann Uland, immediately caught our attention with the promise not only of Romans, but ass-kicking Roman lesbians. The proposed three-arc series plots a bloody course through the back-stabbing politics of Rome (and given the setting, we mean that literally), following our hero Junia as she attempts to come out the other side in one piece.

Is there a single part of the phrase "ass kicking Roman lesbians" that is not absolutely perfect? And even better, the whole thing is based on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, so you're getting cultured at the same time. To find out more about the series, we spoke to both Willis (who writes) and Uland (who pencils), as we continue our new crowdfunding Q&A feature, Back Pages.

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A Transgender Superhero For Every Gender Non-Conforming Child: Thoughts On Acceptance And Support For Transgender Youth

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In the wake of Leelah Alcorn’s suicide in December 2014, people have been formulating ideas for how to fulfill her final wishes to “fix society”; to have her death “mean something” and to have it “counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide”. In her suicide note, Alcorn, age 17, explained that her reasons for committing suicide centered on her parent’s inability to accept her gender, and beyond that, imposing upon her religiously sanctioned conversion therapy designed to make her conform to cisnormativity.

In this essay I want to discuss some of the steps necessary to achieving acceptance, and most especially the ways in which the media can address misconceptions and provide transgender and gender non-conforming kids with a diverse range of stories. Please note that this essay contains language that may be triggering to people with depression and suicidal tendencies.

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Push Comics Forward: Talking About The Future With Boom EIC Matt Gagnon

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Boom Studios has a reputation in the comics industry for publishing an increasingly diverse group of books and creators. This commitment to diversity in genre and people is reflected in an all-new initiative the publisher announced today in Previews with a letter from founder Ross Richie. While 2015 is the 10th anniversary of Boom, the publisher wants to talk about what's next rather than what's come before. They call this discussion of the future Push Comics Forward and they don't want it to be only about Boom.

Push Comics Forward is Boom's way of focusing on the ongoing conversation about diversity and the future of the industry. To learn more about this initiative and what to expect from Boom for the next ten years and beyond, we spoke with Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon.

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Boom And Image Receive Two Nominations Each In 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

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GLAAD, the media monitoring group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender representation, has announced the nominees for its annual Media Awards celebrating positive LGBT representation in mainstream media, including the five comic book series that it believes provided outstanding examples of fair, inclusive, original and impactful LGBT characters in 2014.

This year's awards include first-time nominations for two publishers, Image Comics and Boom Studios. DC Comics is conspicuously absent this year, despite being nominated at least once every year seemingly for as long as GLAAD has recognized comics. Archie Comics is also absent for the first time since the debut of Kevin Keller in 2010.

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Fantasy Changing Reality: The Progressive Legacy Of Korra’s Legend

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I don’t really do escapism. It’s not that the media I consume isn’t described as such, nor even that I have something against the concept. I just rarely feel as though I….escape. I mean, I enjoy the books I read and the games I play. And I suppose they keep me from considering the quotidian details of my life as I engage with them. Like, no, in the most banal sense, I am not thinking about groceries as I play Portal. But there’s a power people invest in the concept of escapism—whether they celebrate or deride it—and I just never seem to get it. It’s not a big deal, really. It’s never a metric by which I measure anything. I shrug and move on.

I escaped into The Legend of Korra.

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Liz Prince Talks ‘Tomboy’, Internet Fame And The State Of Autobio Comics

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In her new memoir Tomboy, Liz Prince explores the thorny world of gender expression, puberty, and girlhood, as experienced by someone who bucked every norm of it. It’s not always an easy read, but it is one of the most necessary comics published this year.
Prince’s work is tender, wry, and above all, honest. It is this honesty that so illuminates her work, from the single travails of Alone Forever to her chronicles of the punk scene. As Tomboy makes the rounds of Best of 2014 lists, ComicsAlliance spoke with her about autobiography, internet fame, and being “not like other girls.”

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