Comics provide a daily dose of gay
Comic strips make us laugh. Gay and lesbian ones make us drool.
When LGBT themes first ran in comic strips in the ‘70s and ‘80s, tempers flared in American households, newspapers gambled when choosing to run them and gay and lesbian print comics just sort of died away.
But online, a secret cult of homosexual comic lovers started to take shape. It can be argued that the Web often serves as a platform for writers and artists to experiment more freely with their liberal tendencies, thereby paving the way for more LGBT Internet comics.
And the juices certainly flow with Danielle Corsetto’s Girls with Slingshots and Greg Fox’s Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast. Corsetto started her strip in 2004 and currently updates it five days a week. Although the cartoon features a straight female protagonist (Hazel), Corsetto uses the rest of the clan to explore the many layers of female sexuality.
Jamie, a rather busty florist, spurs laugh after laugh through her uncensored speech and bi-curious adventures. After she convinces herself she had sex with Angel, the cartoon’s lesbian bartender, Jamie wanders into a lesbian bar and has a one-night stand with a woman named Thea to prove once and for all whether she’s gay. Thea, who turns out to be Hazel’s boss, hooks up (more than once) with Angel in the bar’s break room, adding a new twist of dyke drama.
But beyond a naughty librarian with an undercover S&M nightlife and the frequent nights when the strong female cast strips down to their underwear, Girls with Slingshots also manages to dig at some serious identity and relationship questions with which modern lesbians often wrestle. For one, Jamie finds she can only get lesbians to give her a second look and buy her drinks when she plays into the flannel stereotype – otherwise, she’s nothing more than a curious straight girl. Similarly, Thea lacks self-confidence as a lesbian who says she looks too straight and plain to get laid. She also argues with Angel over the true meaning of “girlfriend” and at what point hooking up becomes more than a fling.
These subtle questions get the wheels turning through over 930 pages of fun. And what right-minded lezzie wouldn’t want a desktop wallpaper theme called Boobquake? With this much fun and drama, Girls with Slingshots makes for a great read for full-blown lesbians, bisexuals and even the bi-curious among us.
On the other hand, Fox’s strip illuminates many of the issues with which gay men struggle today, through 280 cartoons featuring random hook-ups and unexpected relationships at Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast. Even Eduardo, the youngest of the bunch, manages to fuck a straight dude four times to the jealous awe of his friends. Hilarity ensues, and in sixteen-degree weather, these boys sport their short shorts and rippling muscles, feeding fans some eye candy even when the action’s low.
Yet Fox still manages to round out each of these humorous male entanglements with ex-firefighter Nick Ferrelli’s heteronormative criticism of gay culture, Breyer coping with his mother’s breast cancer and the sad truth behind Jeff Olsen, a former baseball player whose public battle with AIDS forced him to leave his major league dreams behind. Try finding these kinds of serious undertones in your Sunday paper.
But Internet comics like Girls with Slingshots and Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast more than make us laugh, and cry, over the characters in them. They offer members of the LGBT community an escape, where they can get that healthy little dose of gay they need a day in a two-minute read – and we might not find it anywhere else, at least not today…
Meghan Russell is a regular web contributor to Pride Fever