Behind The Mask With Real Heroes

October 29th, 2014

Los Angeles, CA — Waltzing Penguins is proud to present the nationwide DVD and VOD release of Keith Hartman’s Real Heroes. Real Heroes is Hartman’s second film, following his wildly popular gay comedy You Should Meet My Son! A love letter to costumed crusaders and the sexual tension often found in comics, Real Heroes has been a hit with LGBT audiences at conventions and fests around the world, including the North Carolina GLBT Film Festival, Leeds Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the North American Science Fiction Convention and more. The film was released on DVD, Amazon and iTunes on October 2, 2014.

A desperate reality show producer hits on the idea of doing “The Real World”, but with superheroes. Unfortunately, Spiderman, Supergirl, and Iron Man all have better things to do so he takes what he can get. This is a look behind the mask at B-string superheroes hoping to hit the big time. The guys you’ve never heard of who go out every night fighting crime and hoping that someone will notice. The ones who are desperate enough to go on a reality show.

They are Sable, a single mom trying to juggle crime fighting, a moody teenage daughter, and a waitressing job. They are Big Shot, a macho marksman who can’t get over the breakup with his former sidekick. They are Malibu Action Girl, a spoiled rich kid determined to prove that she’s more than the sum of daddy’s expensive weapons. They are Water Warrior, a hunky hero trying to sleep his way to the top. They are Rick & Josh, former teen superheroes trying to put their past behind them. They all have powers and they all have issues.

The DVD release of Real Heroes (SRP $19.95) includes four featurettes: The Sidekick Mystique, The Water Warrior Workout, Desperately Seeking Sidekick, Things We Did for Money, cast interviews, and more.

Order Real Heroes from Amazon.

Words For Pictures

October 25th, 2014

wordsforpicturesThe Art And Business Of Writing Comics And Graphic Novels

Brian Michael Bendis
Foreword by Joe Quesada
Watson Guptill Publications
$24.99 US/ $28.99 Canada

How to books can be problematic for me. If an author somehow fails to convey points clearly or their writing style is as dry as cliched toast my interest in the book is dampened or even killed and so for me the purpose of the book is defeated. To be honest, I viewed this book from Brian Michael Bendis with some skepticism. Perhaps more doubt than I might otherwise have. Yes, his current status as one of comics’ best known names has lots of cred, and this is perhaps where I shouldn’t be honest and mention that I am a former fan of Brian Michael Bendis’ writing. I very much looked forward to reading his writing on Alias, Daredevil, and Powers. Now with that confession out of the way, I’m glad I was able to set aside my opinion of his current writing while reading this book. As it turns out there are reasons for Bendis’ success, all of which can benefit aspiring comics writers.
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Gay Thriller The Dark Place

October 23rd, 2014

Breaking Glass Pictures will be releasing the gay thriller THE DARK PLACE on DVD and VOD (Vimeo) on December 2, 2014. Written and directed by (Bent Con organizer) Jody Wheeler, The Dark Place takes us into new territory – mystery and suspense – in a thrill ride of a film that includes betrayal, hope, greed and love. The Dark Place stars Blaise Godbe Lipman, Timo Descamps, and Sean Paul Lockhart.

Keegan Dark (Lipman) returns to the the heart of California’s wine valley to make peace with his long-estranged family. Instead, he finds a harrowing mystery that endangers his life and those he loves.

Pre-order The Dark Place from Amazon

Gay Previews December 2014

October 22nd, 2014

Hey! Halloween is a little over a week away and here it is time for Decemeber Previews! Two books have me really excited this month! The first is Gail Simone returns to a revival of Secret Six! Gail’s made no secret of wanting to write Catman as a bisexual character so I’m really anxious in a good way to see how she and artist Ken Lashley convey this. Lord knows Simone showed her skills in the series’ last version at writing tense scenes with erotic subtext between Catman and Deadshot. The other book is Massive, an anthology compilation edited by Anne Ishii, Graham Kolbiens, and Chip Kidd, featuring erotic gay manga made by Japanese gay men for gay and bisexual men. The guys in Massive definitely are not the slim young men found in your typical yaoi/ BL manga! Just look at that cover!

So, a few words about being an Amazon affiliate again. Sure, there’s a small commission on each purchase you make if you make purchases by clicking any of the links in this list or through that widget thing in the sidebar or if you bookmark the link below. Supporting your local comic shop and bookstore is really important too. Being an Amazon affiliate isn’t just about commissions on specifically linked books and DVDs though, so don’t be shy about using these links to make your other non-book related purchases!

Amazon & Gay League

Credit to Andy Mangels who compiled many such lists before me. People’s names listed in bold are either LGBT or supportive.

rachelrisingvol5ABSTRACT STUDIOS

RACHEL RISING Vol 5 $16.99 Page 244
Terry Moore
Rachel, Jet, and Aunt Johnny recover quickly from their harrowing adventures with the air of a magic herbal wrap, but they soon discover they’ve been the victims of a serial killer. Now they are determined to find the mysterious predator and deliver him to the evil of Zoe’s knife. This new book is the 5th trade paperback in Terry Moore’s Eisner Award nominated series, collecting issues #25-30.


Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francisco Francavilla
“Escape from Riverdale,” Part 3: The zombie apocalypse is in full swing and the surviving members of the gang have taken refuge in the Lodge Mansion-believing themselves safe from the infected roaming the streets of Riverdale! But there’s no stopping Archie from sneaking out, risking life and limb to find his missing parents-leaving those sequestered behind vulnerable to an enemy within! The zombie mayhem (and body-count) continues to rise, plus sorcery stories from the vault and all new special features in this magazine-size version of the award-winning series.

SABRINA #4 $3.99 Page 254
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack
Hell hath no fury! It’s Sabrina in the underworld as she and her companions risk everything — including their immortal souls — to rescue Harvey’s consciousness, trapped in the Dark Pit. Meanwhile, with Greendale’s most powerful witch missing in action, Madame Satan launches an attack on the Spellman household, but Hilda and Zelda are not helpless, and then of course there’s Cousin Ambrose to contend with!


Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, the team behind the Eisner Award-winning Bandette, writing Adventure Time with artist Wook Jin Clark?! It’s a match made in comic book heaven! The Freaky Friday trope is turned on its head with an Ooo-sized twist! Adventure lovers Tobin, Coover, and Wook Jin Clark bring you a dream Adventure Time miniseries like you’ve never seen it! Finn is suffering from Quest Deficiency and needs his pals to help him find a righteous quest that will fulfill all his adventuring needs! The back of a questing board might seem like the easiest answer, but our hero is about to find out that the easy way out can create a ton of trouble. It’s a race against time as Finn and his merry band of questing cohorts fight to complete this switch-a-roo of a mission before the land of Ooo completely destroys itself. Collects the complete miniseries.
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The Alan Turing Project

October 16th, 2014

Alan Turing is not one of the more well known figures of the 20th century despite his quite notable achievements. What other person both contributed to Allied victory in World War II by breaking the Nazi Germany’s Enigma Code and to laying the groundwork to modern day computers that are used in so many ways that are used by and affect us every day. Without a doubt the world is a better place because of Turing, but his contemporaries thought much less of him solely because he was an out gay man in a time when homosexuality was illegal in England. Turing’s life ended because of stigma and injustices heaped upon him and we can only speculate on Turing’s impact on technology and society had he lived a longer life. Seeing a graphic novel devoted to Turing’s relevancy to society as a whole and LGBT history is immensely gratifying.

Crime Fighting Sexina vs Adam West, The Original Batman

October 13th, 2014

Wild Eye Releasing has announced the upcoming October 21 DVD and VOD release of Sexina, a comedy about the titular pop star sensation battling evildoers in the music industry, directed by Drew: The Man Behind the Poster’s Erik Sharkey. As she balances filling arenas and fighting crime, Sexina meets her match in her greatest foe, TV’s Adam West (“Batman”, “Family Guy”). Featuring music by Davy Jones of The Monkees, Sexina also stars Annie Golden (“Orange is the New Black”) and Peter Stickles (Shortbus). The San Francisco Bay Guardian called Sexina “an answer to films like Austin Powers and Legally Blonde.”

Sexina is the world’s hottest teen pop star, but she’s also a secret crime-fighting detective battling evils in the music industry. When the leading scientific mind in humanoid robotics (and a former child pop star) is kidnapped, Sexina is hired to get him back. When she learns he has been forced to create cyborg bands for “The Boss” of Glitz Records (Adam West, “Batman”), the fists and power ballads fly! The reigning queen of pop must contend with assassins, ninjas, dangerous thugs, mysterious informants, a wild grizzly bear, and of course, take some time out for a little clothes shopping.

The Further Queering Of Gotham

October 11th, 2014

Love it or hate it – the first issue of Batgirl with a new direction and new creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr arrived in comic shops this past Wednesday. Reaction to the change seems fairly divided in half near as I can tell. I liked far more than I’m uncertain about for now and that mainly has to do with maintaining a superhero identity while living with yet another roommate. Yes, I had the same thought when Gail Simone introduced Alysia Yeoh in the beginning of her run on the title. Simone made Yeoh likable and the living arrangement not just believable but also meaningful. Maybe I should say I’m waiting to see how it’s handled. Instead of talking about the whole issue I want to focus on LGBT characters and Alysiah is the perfect segue. Many readers vocalized concern about Alysia’s status once the new team came on board. It’s an understandable reaction given that LGBT characters tend to be either supporting cast or part of an ensemble and often disappear into limbo even without a change in the creative roster. Brenden Fletcher stated in a CBR interview with Jeffrey Renaud that Alysia would be around still in the supporting cast which is good news because there are so few transgender characters in comics and even fewer that are well written like Alysia. How much she’ll be used in stories remains to be seen. In this issue she appears in a small handful of panels on the opening page, serving as a transition from the old to the new.

Fletcher had also mentioned in a tweet they’d include more LGBT characters in their stories. And they’re off to a good start. New roomie Frankie throws a party to welcome Barbara to the apartment. The next afternoon it’s discovered that a phone and Barbara’s laptop have been stolen. Artist Babs Tarr draws a great visual of Barbara mentally reconstructing the party and “walking around” the room while asking Frankie questions about various people. That’s how we learn about Frankie’s coworker Donna coming to the party with her longtime girlfriend Natasha Holloway and another guest, Sevin Gupta who also runs his own company, Sevin Gupta Events. So, this makes four LGBT characters so far (Alysia, Donna, Natasha, and Sevin). Barbara as Batgirl tracks down the thief who stole the phone and her laptop. After getting beaten up, he pleads with Batgirl not to call his moms. The guy was raised by a lesbian couple! But wait! The writers reveal on the last page that there’s another one, and she’s been throughout the entire story since page one along with Barbara. It’s roommate Frankie who may be bisexual or a bi curious lesbian.


Frankie’s guaranteed to appear more because of her roommate status. Time will tell if Donna, Natasha, and Sevin will be recurring characters or just one offs. Gotham is becoming the most diverse corner of the DC Universe. There’s Cullen Row who debuted in Batman and I think appears in Batman Eternal. Of course there’s Kate Kane, AKA Batwoman and Maggie Sawyer. Grayson isn’t set in Gotham but Midnighter has been pitted against the former Nightwing. Renee Montoya is currently MIA though, having shown up only in flashback post the publisher’s relaunch in late August 2011. That doesn’t stop the character from being featured in the Gotham TV series. And then there’s Alysia! Please keep Alysia prominent in the cast! As one of the few fleshed out and well written trans characters in comics she’s too important to set aside!

A Trio Of Upcoming Books

October 9th, 2014

tomboyHere’s a trio of interesting items that have come to my attention in the past day. Liz Prince’s Tomboy and Sally Heathcote: Suffragette by Mary and Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth are graphic novels. Alexis Coe’s Alice + Freda Forever looks to be an illustrated novel.

Liz Prince
Zest Books

Growing up, Liz Prince wasn’t a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn’t exactly one of the guys either (as she learned when her little league baseball coach exiled her to the distant outfield). She was somewhere in between.

But with the forces of middle school, high school, parents, friendship, and romance pulling her this way and that, the middle wasn’t exactly an easy place to be.

Tomboy follows Ignatz Award-winning author and artist Liz Prince through
her early years and explores–with humor, honesty, and poignancy–what it means to “be a girl.” From staunchly refuting “girliness” and finding the perfect outfit, to finally discovering that your identity is whatever you make of it, Tomboy offers a sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking account of self-discovery.

A preview and more info can be found at the link.

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Revisiting Queer Women In Comics

October 6th, 2014

JD Glass shared this link to a recording of the Queer Women In Comics panel that took place at the New York Comic Con in 2011. Panelists include Paige Braddock, Jennifer Camper, Kris Dresen, JD Glass, and Joan Hilty. Just under an hour, you’ll want to listen as they talk about their starts in comics, share insights, and tell personal stories. Listen to the talk here.


Bent Con’s Kickstarter Campaign

October 2nd, 2014

We’d be really bad if we forgot to mention Bent Con’s campaign to raise funds to cover show and promotion costs. Thirteen days to go!