Archive for February, 2012

14 Nights Volume 1 Release

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Now available for sale: 14 Nights – Volume 1.

Livestream signing event Friday, 2 March 2012 at 6:00 PM US Eastern: http://www.livestream.com/likeabutcher

Tuesday, 28 February 2012:

This week 14 Nights goes on sale for the first time. This first volume collects all of Part One of the online comic.

Kristina Stipetic’s 14 Nights is an online graphic novel about sex and relationships[between two gay men] . This ongoing story brings psychological realism to a topic usually obscured or stereotyped in fiction. The webcomic has been running for over one year, and is approaching 200 pages.

This 128-page trade paperback collects Part One of the story. The book features a full-color wrap-around cover. The book retails for USD $18 plus $2 shipping to any country in the world. To purchase, or for more information, see 14nights.kstipetic.com/buy.php. The first orders will begin shipping this week.

The author will host a Livestream signing event this Friday, 2 March 2012, at 6:00 PM US Eastern Standard Time. At http://www.livestream.com/likeabutcher, she will sign books and make custom sketches for any buyers. Fans and press are also welcome to ask questions and chat with the author. Fans should make sure to place their orders before the signing.

Kristina will also attend several comics conventions in America and Canada to meet fans and sell the book:

SPACE (21-22 April, Columbus, OH)
MoCCA Festival (28-29 April, New York, NY)
TCAF (5-6 May, Toronto, ON)

The second collected volume will premiere at these conventions before online sales begin in early May.
Kristina Stipetic is a writer and illustrator living in Suzhou, China. She has one ongoing webcomic, 14 Nights, at 14nights.kstipetic.com, Her completed Yasha Lizard stories are also available at yashalizard.kstipetic.com. Readers can also see her illustration portfolio at www.kstipetic.com.

Contact: Kristina Stipetic – kristina.m.stipetic at gmail dot com

New Wuvable Oaf Comics & Oaf Kitty Undies!

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

New Comics & Oaf Kitty Undies Available at wuvableoaf.com! Plus: Image Comic Expo This Weekend!

We’re excited to be a part of the very first Image Comic Expo , this weekend at the Oakland Convention Center (Feb. 24-26th, 550 10th Street, right by the 12th Street BART Station)!  Oaf will be spread out in a roomy exhibitor booth, space #72, where Ed and Mark will be debuting two spanking new items (you can also get these ONLINE RIGHT NOW at wuvableoaf.com):

Wuvable Oaf Kitty Undies!
The first edition of Wuvable Oaf’s Kitty Undies, a replica of the same snazzy briefs he wears!  This is a very, very limited run, SIZES (28-30), M (32-34), L (36-38) & XL (40-42)!  Each pair comes with a packaging insert that has instructions for how to join Oaf’s “Bare As You Dare” Club!

Wuvable Oad: Kisses, Kerry King/ Rawd Gawdz Comic!
We’ll also be dropping the brand new Wuvable Oaf: Kisses, Kerry King / Rawk Gawdz comic!  One story follows Eiffel and Attila as they stalk the guitarist of a certain infamous thrash metal band.  Tthe other chronicles Attila’s efforts to get the members of EJA©ULOID to evoke their own personal rock spirit animals!  This handmade, signed and numbered comic comes in two editions:  Regular and the EXTRA SPECIAL “METAL” version on METALLIC SILVER PAPER!!!

Wuvable Ogre In Elf World #3!

We’re also very pleased to announce the debut of Family Style’s Elf World #3 at Image Comic Expo, featuring the first WUVABLE OGRE story by Ed!!!  This issue also contains stories by Julia Gfrörer, Jesse Reklaw, Tom Biby, Malachi Ward, Maris Wicks, Jess Smart Smiley, and Eve Englezos & Josh Moutray, all wrapped up in a lovely letterpress-printed cover by Jeffrey Brown!  Stop by booth #A608 and grab one!

Undies Shirts Are Back In Stock!

For those of you who’ve been waiting:  A new run of the ORIGINAL KITTY UNDIES SHIRT is available at wuvableoaf.com and at all our shows!

Oat At Wondercon!
Finally, in a few short weeks Oaf storms SoCal for WonderCon 2012 (http://comic-con.org/wc/) at the Anaheim Convention Center (March 16-18th, 800 West Katella Avenue)!  We’re very excited to be exhibiting in our own Small Press Booth #SP31.  We’ll have all the new items mentioned, plus copies of the new Oaf Kitty VS Mickey Poster!
We’ll check back with you in April for news about Stumptown in Portland, Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever #1 and a brand new, super secret Oaf project!

Kevin Keller #1

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Dan Parent
Archie Comics
$2.99

Review by Joe Palmer

Look at that face! Blond, blue-eyed, big smile! Can you get any “boy next door” normal more than this? Not really in the world of Archie comics unless you’re talking about company namesake Archie Andrews himself. This is a good thing except to the evangelical and conservatives crowds who gnashed their teeth and rent their garments over the 72 year old company joining the decades long culture war on the side of the “libs and homos”. How do you say “no” to a character who created enough demand that the publisher did a second print for the first time in its history? Thankfully the publisher ignored the outrage and stuck with its decision to feature Kevin Keller in a solo, ongoing title.

Writer Dan Parent has Kevin breaking the fourth wall in the issue’s opening sequence by catching up readers with a brief recap of the four part Keller story that ran in the Veronica book before apprising us of his most recent accomplishments: first week as class president, first article in the town paper, first teen journalist award. Yes, Kevin excels at everything he tries. Almost everything that is except dating. And so, Kevin goes from being the teenager every teen, both in the fictional Riverdale and our world, either wants as a friend or to emulate to being the kid who flies into a panic attack at the idea of dating. And so we have another first for Kevin, his first date. First though we must have wacky hijinks.

Betty tries to calm Kevin’s high anxiety with some advice that leaves both of them in doubt and if Kevin is going to have gal pals I hope Parent will give us more Betty in the interest of offsetting Veronica. The idea of having Reggie offer to help Kevin get ready for his date is wonderful in essence. In the story Reggie’s motivation is to get on the good side of Kevin as class president. Remember, these characters have been stuck in high school for over 70 years so Reggie knows he has to work things in his favor as Kevin isn’t going anywhere soon unless Rick Santorum is elected President and sends all the real and fictional gays packing. Seeing Kevin agree to try on Reggie’s clothing suggestions in the store and then relenting to wear a disco style outfit home elicits chuckles, a reaction I thought I’d never have from an Archie comic. Yes, I can be a smug comic snob. Veronica shows up to act hurt when all she really needs is reassurance from her newest and cutest BFF. Even Archie and Jughead offer their own takes on how to date before the fateful day. Kevin finally stops obsessing about the matter by helping his father with yard work, so of course Brian his date shows up and Kevin is totally undone by the realization that he’d forgotten which day it was. Parent plays it up with nearly as much slapstick as an I Love Lucy episode. Oh dear, I just dated myself and lost everyone under 25, didn’t I? Carol Burnett then? Not helping, is it? Doesn’t matter, and commenter Anthony suggests using The Simpsons, so The Simpsons it is! The important point is the date and every conversation and incident preceding it are treated with the same manner that a date between Archie and either Betty or Veronica would be. To show one’s shortcomings and vulnerabilities, to be able to laugh at one’s self, and to be accepted for as equal is laudable message and kudos to Parent for crafting it in Riverdale style. The issue ends with Kevin meeting Brian at the front door to leave on their date. Considering the monumental leap forward by Archie Comics with Keller I do hope we will soon see romantic depictions of Kevin and Brian or another male. The next issue promises the dilemma of who Kevin will take to the dance and also a secret admirer. Intuition tells me it will be the former bully from another school who showed up unexpectedly in the four parter Veronica/ Kevin story.

From Headrack To Claude

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Collected Gay Comix
Howard Cruse
Northwest Press
Digital Version $9.99
Nifty Kitsch Press $19

Review by Joe Palmer

A recent Northwest Press release publicized its digital release of Howard Cruse’s From Headrack to Claude, a collection of various strips and illustration work by the seminal LGBT cartoonist. This book was first available (and is still) from POD publisher Lulu at almost twice the price. With regard to Cruse’s work itself, the content is nearly the same. What follows is an adaptation of the original review with new comments regarding the notable and noticeable differences between the two versions.

Consider the current state of comics and LGBT characters and stories. The big four publishers have cautiously swam in the shallow side of the pool occasionally showing off or taking a dive in the deep part while an increasing number of queer artists and writers have not only left the pool for the beach, they’re riding a wave. That wave is certainly built on creativity and ambition and fueled by the desire to tell stories, just as it owes an enormous debt to the creative people who first jumped into the waters decades ago. Among those first cartoonists was a young man from Alabama named Howard Cruse.

Cruse is perhaps best known for his graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby that tells the coming of age story of a gay man during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. Before the graphic novel Cruse created a number of cartoons and strips, notably Wendel, his other masterpiece that recounted the everyday adventures of a gay man and his friends in the pages of The Advocate. Cruse gave up editing Gay Comix in order to work on the strip. The Wendel strips were published in a collection in 2001 and others in the out of print Dancin’ Nekkid With The Angels. Other work was problematic in tracking down. The slightly oversized From Headrack To Claude gathers between its covers some of the difficult to find strips along with the cream of Dancin’ Nekkid along with a couple recent pieces from the Young Bottoms In Love and Boy Trouble 2 anthologies.

The world was changing in 1969 when Cruse first arrived in New York City. While I was too young to know on my eleventh birthday that in gay people (whom it seemed so outlandish an idea that there could be another person like me) rioted that village, Cruse was just coming into adulthood in this transformative time when gays finally said no more and began to decide for themselves what life would be like rather than live by dictate and fear of retribution. Cruse was the right talent at the right time and place to capture the burgeoning, uncloseted gay subculture as it tried to define itself, defend against homophobia, and worst of all, dealing with the nascent AIDS epidemic. Somehow Cruse distilled these heady forces to show the human condition of the everyday gay man, and so much the better when the hypocritical and self-centered folks get exposed along the way.

As these strips are records of their time, one might think their relevance is diminished, but this is not the case. Granted, great strides have been made since Stonewall, but while reading through this volume I was consistently reminded of the old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Take the deeply closeted minister Jerry Mac, a man who as a teenager was beaten by the father of his best friend for an affectionate kiss or closeted celebrities and politicos lampooned in His Closet. This collection includes a short story entitled Billy Goes Out, which was first published in Gay Comix #1. I stumbled across this comic quite accidentally at a news stand in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago one evening walking home from the old Howard El. Internally I jumped for joy at proof of gay people involved in comics. the story recounts a night in Billy’s life in New York City “before the epidemic had reared its head” as he resigns himself to go through the typical gay rituals of a going out on a Saturday night. Each panel contains a flashback on Billy’s life through a hybrid thought and picture bubble. Fresh faced and cute Mark, newly arrived from Wichita, is dismissed by Billy, a checklit of reasons appearing above his head. Then Cruse shares the reason for Billy’s sadness as he gives us glimpses into a relationship Billy had with Brad, and how it came to an unexpected end. The last panel shows Billy blissfully dreaming of a naked embrace with Mark whom he rejected earlier. The story is tragic and yet powerfully hopeful solely because of this dream image and it has stayed with me in the 32 years since I first read it.

Cruse had the foresight to insert back stories to help put the works and some in story references into context. As much as these back stories contribute, they are also my one extremely minor disappointment. Or rather their layouts are the issue since sometimes they were confusing to follow. I believe some of my concern over this crowded feeling is alleviated in the digital edition as its contents are either re-ordered or given more room. Some of the text and strip content seems to be re-ordered as well, presumably for a better reading experience though I’ve yet to determine this personally by reading.

Regardless of my quibble with the print version, it was in reading a little background for Homoeroticism Blues that crystallized the importance of Cruse. The artist quoted language added by the homophobic Senator Jesse Helms to the 1989 Senate Appropriations Bill who was incensed that the National Endowment for the Arts had partly funded an exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe’s explicit photographs. Cruse’s brief reference to Mapplethorpe reminded me of Keith Haring and David Wojnarowicz, all gay artists whose sexuality informed their work. Tragically, their lives were cut short by AIDS. It made me realize how Cruse might have been lost to us as well had some unknown factor changed.

Aside from the difference mentioned above there are several other notable and noticeable changes with the digital version. The first is the use of color and an additional 12 pages. The majority of Cruse’s work has been in black and white, as a matter of no frills necessity for underground and alt comix. When color is used in the Northwest edition it is vibrant and beautiful, whether the material is photos of Howard and Don Higdon in cyanotype tones or a full color of he and Ed Sederbaum, cover repros, spot illustrations, or the closing three strips of recent work. Really lovely in its simplicity.

A side by side comparison  of the two for page content seems a little confusing. As mentioned above, the order and seemingly format of some items is different in Northwest’s edition. Confusion is nothing new for me as I’ve a fuzzy brain. A contents page is missing in the digital version. Are they an anachronism now? I find them helpful, say for when I want to know what page Billy Goes Out starts without flipping through the entire book. The additional 12 digital pages may be all text or related to text features rather than work not included in the print volume. I should stress “may” as a contents page would be helpful in determining this.

A significant bonus to the digital copy is the inclusion of Sean Wheeler’s half-hour documentary feature, I Must Be Important ’Cause I’m in a Documentary!! which recounts Cruse’s life and career. Unfortunately I’m unable to comment on the documentary because of Northwest Press’ choice of platform delivery which is exclusive to Apple devices. When asked about this matter, publisher Christensen explained that the iPad is the best device for viewing comics and that had he followed through with his idea to use Google Books as a venue he would’ve been forced to reduce the quality of books to meet their specs. Christensen also stated he is following developments with Amazon’s Kindle Fire though that current platform has been rather problematic and frustrating, and hopes this will improve in time.

You may be wondering how I’ve been able to access the book content. The answer to this is Northwest Press provided a PDF copy, as happened with its previous release of Diary Of A Catering Whore. I respect Christensen’s choice though it’s unlikely I will be able to purchase or fully appreciate future books if they include extra content such as the documentary here. I simply don’t have funds and am reticent to invest in another device, despite Apple’s reputation. There is the less expensive iPod option but its smaller view screen would seem problematic for a pair of older eyes.

The digital version or a free preview can be found on iTunes. The print volume is available at Lulu. Shipping is extra.

Howard Cruse has a website  and can be found on Facebook .

Scott & Gavin Price

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

Scott was raised from a young age by his grandfather after his parents died in a car wreck. Gramps may have been estranged from the family as he’s referred to as the kind of relative who only showed up on holidays. Scott quickly bonded with Gramps after learning he was the voice of popular cartoon character “Mr Chimps”. With the onset of puberty Scott discovers an interest in comics and all things geek, a development that irritates Gramps, who keeps nagging Scott to start meeting girls. A rift begins, culminating in Scott leaving to attend college in Eugene, OR.

One night with a full moon, Scott was walking home from work when he found a dying dog on the sidewalk. He reached out to touch it and felt an electrical shock as it took its dying breath. Before reaching home Scott had his first transformation into a were-terrier. Most simply put, writer Chris Roberson describes Scott as a “thrope”, a person infected by the “undersoul” of an animal, periodically taking on the animal’s characteristics. Life wasn’t affected too drastically for Scott. On the one night he changed he simply stayed in at home. Lame excuses provided material for coworkers, best friends and fellow geeks Ashok Patel and Vincent Tan to tease Scott about the idea of being gay. Scott is always at a loss for words at these jokes though he does seem to have fallen in love with Gwen when he sees (and later meets) her at local diner Dixie’s Firehouse. Soon he confides his were secret in both Gwen and her friend Ellie. They’re unfazed and why shouldn’t they be, seeing that Gwen is a zombie and Ellie a ghost.

One day Scott, Ashok, and Vincent are at their comic shop. A blond man (who we later learn is Gavin Price and also Gwen’s brother) approaches Scott about his “Space Captain” shirt. Scott’s happy to talk geek and is intrigued to learn that Gavin draws comics; that he’s an amateur doesn’t matter. Gavin has to run and writes his number on Scott’s hand, insisting that Scott call. Cue ribbing from Ashok and Vincent.

Art by Michael Allred

Gavin and Scott finally get together at his house to watch old episodes of the Phantasm. As the marathon ends, Gavin focuses on Scott, who nervously tries to redirect the conversation. Scott relents with a gently reassuring touch and tone of voice from Gavin. In a Comics Alliance interview Roberson mentions how this scene in issue #19 has been building since the series’ beginning.

Scott’s first appearance is in a short story published in House of Mystery Halloween Annual #1 (2009). Gavin Price is first seen in a cameo in iZOMBIE #1. Scott and Gavin’s date takes place in #19. This bio will be updated when I catch up on my iZOMBIE reading. Thanks to Francois Peneaud for pointing out the above interview to me!

© and ® Monkey Brain Inc and Michael Allred. All rights reserved. Created by Chris Roberson and Michael Allred.

Task Force: Gaea – Finding Balance

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LAND O’LAKES, FL – David Berger proudly offers his first fantasy novel, Task Force: Gaea — Finding Balance, available now on Amazon.com.

Task Force: Gaea is a compelling chronicle of how the folly of the gods reshapes history, and only mortals — thousands of years later — can hope to fix that which an angry goddess destroyed.

When Zeus fails to ask the ancient goddess Nyx for guidance in establishing Mount Olympos, she destroys the Sacred Scales, unhinging the cosmic balance. A victim of this chaos, Apollo falls prey to Zeus’ wrath, sentenced to a life of mortality. His new journey makes him question his godhood in existential ways as well as his views on humanity. Prophecy and the Fates direct his course, and he must make difficult, yet vital, choices. Thousands of years later, prophecy demands that four mortals restore the Order, even if it means they might never have existed. Can mortals succeed where gods dare not go?

“This story twists the ancient myths we grow up with,” Berger says, “where what the reader knows about the Olympian gods, or thinks he knows, is challenged in fresh and curious ways. One god’s journey and actions unimaginably affects the entire universe.”

Berger took from childhood experiences to create this saga. “My own fascination with Greek mythology and comic books helped bring this story to life. If it weren’t for characters like Wonder Woman or ancient heroes like Perseus, this story couldn’t have come to life.”

Twenty-five years in the making, this magical tale brings together not only the grandeur of Olympos, but also the pettiness, and redefines fate in the process.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Berger teaches AP English Literature and International Baccalaureate English at Land O’ Lakes High School in Land O’ Lakes, FL, and lives with his partner, Gavi, and their two cats.

The author may be contacted via email at tchrofengl at gmail dot com

Blue Comet & Fusion: Titania Strikes!

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Chayne Avery
Russell Garcia
$4.99 (32 pages) POD/IndyPlanet
$3.99 Ebook/Lulu
Review by Joe Palmer

When last we saw our boys Blue Comet and Fusion they were teasing us midway through an adventure that promised to pit them against Titania. This was a followup to Russell Garcia and Chayne Avery’s collected web comic Boy Meets Hero. The boys are back (all four of them!) to finish the adventure interruptus. There are teases a-plenty before delivering the climactic scene!

Actually, this issue is a double celebration. First off, it’s Derek’s and Justin’s first anniversary as a couple. They’re taking a walk after having a romantic dinner out to celebrate when , right on cue, they’re called to a mission. It’s the boys’ first official adventure together as WHO agents since Justin’s latent and formerly unknown power manifested after being captured by a giant robot and used as a pawn, and Justin is more than eager. That they’re going up a 50 foot tall giant named Titania with pheromone powers doesn’t dampen his spirit though he isn’t thrilled to learn that the equal opportunity crankypants Zap-Man will partner with them under Sunstar’s leadership. It’s up to the boys and Sunstar to stop Titania and the hetero heroes in her thrall from destroying WHO headquarters and Golden Bay City. Yes, the plot is boilerplate, and may I suggest something by Morrison or Bendis if you want obfuscation and decompression? There are still heroics and danger a-plenty and a couple surprises like Sunstar forcing herself to do something to turn the fight in their favor We also get a peek at another WHO agent who just may be lesbian since she falls under Titania’s spell. Derek and Justin’s first mission together ends well and so does their evening back in the bedroom. Just like it should.

Tone wise, Garcia and Avery maintain the sweet, sexy, playfulness of Derek and Justin, in and out of costumes and clothes, for that matter, as well as what I think is a Silver Age sensibility through a gay tinted filter. Cops and waiters and superheroes can be gay and all is still good with the world. Which is not to say that their fictional world isn’t without its haters (see Zap-Man and now Jet Scream, who gets a comeuppance) and issues, but they keep things upbeat by having the characters deal with any adversity in a relatively direct and angst free way. Team work and good ol’ fashioned effort will win the day.No brooding allowed here! Colors are bright and complement Avery’s art style. Kudos on the — ahem — packaging! Everything Garcia and Avery do comes together so well that the finished piece looks seamless. Simply put, I love Boy Meets Hero because Avery and Garcia’s enthusiasm and love for their work is clear on every page.

Where do you go from here to satisfy your curiosity? How about the Boy Meets Hero website! Or buy the Ebook version from Lulu or a print copy at IndyPlanet.

Max Modell

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Art by Humberto Ramos

Modell is a renowned scientist and head of Horizon Labs, an innovative tech development firm. In Amazing Spider-Man #648 Modell became Peter Parker’s boss. While chatting, Parker notices a watch that Modell is wearing. Modell comments that it’s an early birthday gift from his partner Hector.

Modell is introduced in Amazing Spider-Man #648 and is confirmed as gay in #678. Created by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos.

© and ® Marvel Comics. All rights reserved.

Thanks to Mart for the info and image.