The 1990s

1990

  • Matt Wagner begins his unfinished “THE AERIALIST” series in DARK HORSE PRESENTS #40 (Dark Horse, May 1990), which is set in a world where the majority is LGBT and it is heterosexuals who are in the closet.

1991

  • Roberta Gregory’s BITCHY BITCH appears for the first time in NAUGHTY BITS #1 (Fantagraphics, March 1991). Her adventures have continued to appear in the magazine and have been gathered in several collections.
  • Max Allan Collins writes a gay bashing story in MS. TREE QUARTERLY #3 (DC, Spring 1991) that takes place on a university campus and also explores the then new practice of outing closeted gays and lesbians.
  • The reformed super-villain PIED PIPER comes out in THE FLASH (v.2) #53 (DC, August 1991), written by William Messner-Loebs. Based on the Pied Piper’s continuing appearances, GLAAD awards THE FLASH its first Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book,1992.
  • Though almost always featuring incidental representations of LGBT persons, Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN first introduces three major LGBT characters into the diverse cast of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN in issue #32 (Vertigo/DC, November 1991). Appearing for the first time is transsexual WANDA MANN, and also lesbian couple HAZEL and FOXGLOVE, who are featured in the spin-off series DEATH: THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE (April-June 1996) which wins that comic the 1997 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book.
  • The first of twenty issues of HOTHEAD PAISAN: HOMICIDAL LESBIAN TERRORIST by Diane DiMassa is published (Giant Ass Publishing, 1991).
  • The first of five issues of the fanzine BUDDIES (Pretend Family Productions, 1991), an anthology of LGBT stories edited by Don Melia, is published in the UK.
  • UP FROM BONDAGE, an erotic comic by Craig Maynard, begins(Eros/Fantagraphics, 1991).
  • Rolf Konig’s 1989 graphic novel THE KILLER CONDOM is translated and released in North America (Catalan, 1991). Several of his other works are later translated: BULL’S BALLS (BK Press, 1997), MAYBE…MAYBE NOT (Ignite! Entertainment, May 1998) and MAYBE…MAYBE NOT AGAIN (October 1999).
  • The first of five issues of the anthology STRANGE LOOKING EXILE, edited by Robert Kirby, is published (Giant Ass Publishing, 1991).
  • Robert Kirby begins his strip “CURBSIDE” (1991) and later self-publishes a collection, called CURBSIDE (Hobnob Press, May 1998) with the help of a 1997 Xeric Award and Grant. A second collection is published under the title CURBSIDE BOYS (Cleis Press, October 2002).

1992

  • NORTHSTAR officially becomes the first gay super-hero in the Marvel universe in ALPHA FLIGHT #106 (Marvel, March 1992), written by Scott Lobdell.
  • The first of four comics featuring Jeffrey Dahmer, JEFFREY DAHMER: AN UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF A SERIAL KILLER, is published (Boneyard Press, April 1992).
  • Longtime supporting character SHVAUGHN ERIN is revealed to be transsexual in LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (v.4) #31 (DC, July 1992), written by Tom and Mary Bierbaum. These writers also imply that reformed villain Lightning Lord is in a gay relationship and that heroines Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass are more than friends.
  • Global Guardian TASMANIAN DEVIL mentions in passing that he is gay in a story written by Kevin Dooley in JUSTICE LEAGUE QUARTERLY #8 (DC, Autumn 1992).
  • Lesbian anthology OH… (B Publications, December 1992) begins and runs twenty-two issues.
  • An Oregon pro-gay benefit book, ESCAPE FROM THE LIVING PERVERTS, is released (1992).
  • Leeane Franson’s self-publishes her first LILIANE mini-comics (1992). They are collected as Assume Nothing: Evolution of a Bi-Dyke (Slab-O-Concrete, April 1997) and Teaching Through Trauma (Slab-O-Concrete, September 1999).

1993

  • QUANTUM LEAP #9 (Innovation, February 1993), written by Andy Mangels, places the lead character at the STONEWALL RIOTS.
  • Long-running character LAURENCE POIRIER reveals he is gay, becoming the first gay teen in newspaper comics, in Lynn Johnston’s strip “For Better or For Worse” (March 1993). A later storyline involving Lawrence wins the strip a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Strip, 1998.
  • Ellen Forney’s strip “I WAS SEVEN IN ’75” is first published in Seattle’s The Rocket (mid-1993). She wins a Xeric Award and Grant for it in 1997 to self-publish a collection of the early strips as I Was Seven in ’75. Later the entire run through 1998 is collected under the title Monkey Food: The Complete I was Seven in ’75 (Fantagraphics, September 1999).
  • Andy Lippincott appears to MARK SLACKMEYER in a dream and suggests to him that he is also gay in Gary Trudeau’s comic strip “Doonesbury” (August 1993). Mark;s continuing appearances help Doonesbury to earn GLAAD’s award for Outstanding Comic Strip, 2000.
  • MAJOR POWER & SPUNKY” by Malachy Coney and Sean Doran appears in GAY COMICS #20 (Fall 1993) before headlining in a one-shot (Eros/Fantagraphics, 1994).
  • Steve Englehardt’s THE STRANGERS features the hero SPECTRAL, who is revealed to be gay in issue #5 (Malibu, October 1993).
  • Terry Moore launches STRANGERS IN PARADISE (Antarctic Press, November 1993) featuring two lead female characters, KATCHOO and FRANCINE, who defy sexual orientation labeling. The ongoing series has gone through several publishers and been reprinted in several collections. GLAAD honors the series as Outstanding Comic Book, 2000.
  • ROCK ‘N ROLL COMICS #62 (Revolutionary, 1993) features a biography of ELTON JOHN.
  • The first of two issues of DYKE’S DELIGHT, an anthology of works by both UK and US creators, is published in the UK (Fanny, 1993).
  • A QUEER SENSE OF HUMOR: A COLLECTION OF LESBIAN, GAY AND BISEXUAL CARTOONS (Queer Press, 1993), edited by the Queer Press Collective is released in Canada.
  • Jim Drew relaunches his fanzine CIAO! to focus exclusively on queer themes in comics with volume 2, #1 (1993).
  • PAUL BERGE begins to contribute political cartoons from a gay point of view to Gaze Magazine (1993). His cartoons are now seen in around twenty LGBT newspapers.
  • The Comics Creators Guild, an organization of comics professionals which meets in London, awards GAY COMICS its Best Anthology Award, 1993.

1994

  • The novel WHAT THEY DID TO PRINCESS PARAGON by Robert Rodi speculates on what might happen if a new writer revamped a long-running super-heroine as a lesbian (Dutton, May 1994).
  • FAMILY TREE: SPECIAL NEW YORK ISSUE, with a story about the Gay Games, is released (Diva, August 1994).
  • A collection of Jennifer Camper’s cartoons from LGBT magazines is published as RUDE GIRLS AND DANGEROUS WOMEN (Laugh Line Press, September 1994).
  • Jimmie Robinson self-publishes the first of eight issues of CYBERZONE featuring an African-American lesbian lead character (Jet-Black Grafiks, 1994). Robinson later brings the character back in a four-issue series AMANDA AND GUNN (Image, 1997).
  • The first of three issues and an “ashcan” edition of GO-GO BOY by Neil Johnston, about a gay super-hero, is published (Mermaid, 1994), with a fourth prepared and made available online.
  • HANDS OFF! COMICS BY OVER 35 ARTISTS COLLECTED TO FIGHT DISCRIMINATION AND HOMOPHOBIA! is published with all profits donated to Washington Citizens for Fairness to fight anti-gay legislation in the state of Washington (Ward Sutton Productions, 1994).
  • Gay newspaper advice columnist Dan Savage produces two issues of the comic book SAVAGE LOVE (Bear Bones Press, 1994).
  • Gordon Spurlock creates the first of three issues of the gay, anthropomorphic, erotic comics title MINOTAUR COMICS (1994).
  • Sean Martin’s DOC & RAIDER is published in the first of two collections (Queer Press, 1994).
  • Jon Macy produces the first of eight issues of erotic-goth series NEFARISMO (Eros/Fantagraphics, 1994).
  • Three issues of LEATHERBOY, an erotic super-hero series by Craig Maynard, are published (Eros/Fantagraphics, 1994).
  • BOY TROUBLE debuts, co-edited by Robert Kirby and David Kelly (1994). Four issues follow with the tenth anniversary issue printed in 2004 and a second volume in color in 2008.
  • San Francisco’s Theatre Rhinoceros presents four gay comic-based one-act plays under the title OUT OF THE INKWELL (1994).
  • James Asal first produces the comic ADAM & ANDY, about the lives of two gay partners, as a 22-page comic book that he photocopies and hands out (1994). After 8 issues, he converts the strip into a single-sheet “Sunday-style” comic strip for 150 installments. He then retools the series and launches it as a weekly web-comic (beginning May 15, 1999), which is collected in a trade paperback (Studio 64, October 2003).

1995

  • In 1995, Joyce Brabner, Mark Badger, and Wayne Vansant produce Activists! for The Fellowship of Reconciliation, a movement committed to non-violent personal, social, and political change, intended to inspire young people to get involved. However FOR has the entire print run destroyed before distribution, calling the comic unsuitable due to its depictions of African-Americans. But because the creators retained the digital rights, the biographical story of Aaron Fricke’s coming out and legal fight to bring the date of his choice to his prom, “Reflections of a Rock Lobster,” by Brabner and Badger, was made available on the internet.
  • Chris Companik’s “HIV + ME” starts as a comic strip in Atlanta AIDS Survival Project’s newsletter Survival News (January 1995). The strips have been collected on a website, distributed to other newsletters and newspapers, and began running in A & U magazine beginning March 2003.
  • Diana Green’s anthropomorphic comic strip “TRANNY TOWERS” first appears in Minneapolis’ Lavender Magazine (January 1995).
  • In PRIME (v.1) #21 (Malibu, March 1995), written by Gerald Jones and Len Strazewski, TURBOCHARGE‘s crush on Prime is revealed. With this revelation, TurboCharge becomes the first gay teen super-hero.
  • In GEN 13 (v.1) #2 (Image, May 1995) the Native-American super-hero RAINMAKER reveals that she is bi-sexual in a story written by Brandon Choi
  • THE MAN: A HERO FOR OUR TIME by Robert Drake, a novel that tells the story of a man who trains himself to be a superhero after the gay-bashing death of his lover, is published (Dutton/Plume, June 1995).
  • In BLACK LIGHTNING (v.2) #5 (DC, June 1995) written by Tony Isabella, Jefferson Pierce learns that fellow teacher WALTER KASKO who died saving a student was gay.
  • Paige Braddock launches “JANE’S WORLD” as an online comic strip (June 1995). It has since been collected in an ongoing series of comic books (starting in August 2002) and crossed over to print comic pages (September 2003).
  • DYKE STRIPPERS: LESBIAN CARTOONISTS FROM A TO Z, edited by Roz Warren, presents work by several lesbian comics creators (Laugh Lines Press, July 1995).
  • Written by David Rawson and Pat McGreal, the 10-issue mini-series CHIAROSCURO, subtitled on the covers The Private Lives of Leonardo da Vinci (Vertigo/DC, beginning July 1995), tells tales from the life of the Renaissance artist without expunging the gay elements.
  • Howard Cruse’s historical graphic novel STUCK RUBBER BABY is released (Paradox/DC, September 1995). It earns him both the Eisner for Best Graphic Album-New and the Harvey for Best Graphic Album: Original Material in 1996.
  • Ariel Schrag creates her first autobiographical comic dealing with her high school career and her emerging homosexuality with AWKWARD (November 1995, reissued by Slave Labor Graphics, 1999). She continues her tale with DEFINITION (Slave Labor, August 1997), POTENTIAL (Slave Labor, six issues starting in March 1998, collected February 2000), and LIKEWISE (Slave Labor, two issues so far, October 2002, April 2003).
  • Andy Hartzell receives a Xeric Award and Grant for his self-published BREAD & CIRCUSES (1995), which has some gay content.
  • Belasco self-publishes his first erotic comic featuring African-American men, LUST FOR SALE (1995). Stories from his self-published comics and from such publications as MEATMEN are collected in BROTHERS OF NEW ESSEX: AFRO EROTIC ADVENTURES (Cleis Press, November 2000).

1996

  • Robert Smigel creates the “AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO,” a parody of 1960′s Filmation-style superhero cartoons, which first appears on The Dana Carvey Show (ABC, March 19, 1996), then Saturday Night Live and TV Funhouse.
  • Controversial artist David Wojnarowicz writes the autobiographical graphic novel 7 MILES A SECOND (Vertigo/DC, April 1996).
  • ICE MAIDEN tells Nuklon she prefers the romantic company of women in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA 110 (DC, April 1996), written by Gerard Jones.
  • In “THE ACTS OF GOD” in THE SPECTRE #45 (DC, September 1996) written by John Ostrander, the Spectre and his alter-ego Jim Corrigan first condone, then come to oppose violence against gays in the name of religion.
  • Dave Brousseau’s weekly comic strip “A COUPLE OF GUYS” is first syndicated (September 1996). It can now be found in over 20 newspapers.
  • QUEERCOMIX, an online mailing list, is begun by Roger Klorese (1996).
  • Daniel Curzon’s comedic novel SUPERFAG (Igna, 1996) features a Christ-figure in superhero drag sent from heaven to speak out against homophobia.
  • Victor E. Hodge’s BLACK GAY BOY FANTASY, about black gay life in Washington DC begins as a one-shot, single-page strip in the 1996 Black Lesbian and Gay Guide. Though intended as a bi-weekly comic trip for LGBT newspapers, the strip next appears in an ongoing mini-comic starting in January 1998.

1997

  • In the text page of TEMPEST #4 (DC, February 1997), in explaining his motivation for writing the series, writer-artist PHIL JIMENEZ outs himself, becoming the first comics creator to do so in the pages of a mass-market comic.
  • BAGAL COMIC CONNECTION, which calls itself “a lesbian, gay and bisexual comic arts news magazine, publishes one issue (Hubris Press, April 1997).
  • Gregory Earl Sanchez writes the first novel in his on-going series featuring gay superheroes, RAINBOW ARC OF FIRE (Granvile Island/Peanut Butter Publishing, May 1997).
  • The one-shot DANDY LION written by Malachy Coney is published (Eros/Fantagraphics, May 1997).
  • Peter David adds ANDY JONES to the Supergirl supporting cast in SUPERGIRL (v.4) 10 (DC, June 1997). An angel composed of both a man and a woman who, in both her female (Andy) and male (Comet) forms, pursues Supergirl. Based on Andy’s continuing appearances GLAAD names SUPERGIRL its Outstanding Comic, 1999.
  • HERO tells teammate Sparx that he is gay in SUPERBOY AND THE RAVERS #13 (DC, September 1997) in a story by Steve Mattson and Karl Kesel.
  • Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin introduce lesbianism into the Star Trek Universe to the Star Trek universe in the storyline that begins in STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE #10 (Marvel, October 1997). Soon after, Chris Cooper follows with the first gay male in Star Trek, YOSHI MISHIMA, in STAR TREK: STARFLEET ACADEMY #17 (Marvel, April 1998).
  • Over a decade worth of Maurice Vellekoop’s comic stories and illustrations is collected under the title VELLEVISION: A COCKTAIL OF COMICS AND PICTURES (Drawn & Quarterly, November 1997).
  • After debuting in ACTION GIRL COMICS #13 (Slave Labor, December 1997), Elizabeth Watasin’s character MAGICAL WITCH GIRL BUNNY stars in her own comic, CHARM SCHOOL (Slave Labor, beginning April 2000), a lesbian take on classic mythic themes. Eight issues of CHARM SCHOOL and a collection have been published to date.
  • Feeling unwelcome on AOL’s DC message board, a handful of comics fans start an email discussion group and a weekly online chat room as the GAYOLEAGUE (1997). By the time the group launches its website the next year, it calls itself the Gay League of America (GLA).

1998

  • Lance Rund tells the story of the sexual awakening of a gay college student in anthropomorphic form in his comic ASSOCIATED STUDENT BODIES (Arclight Press, January 1998), which runs eight issues.
  • Gay couple CHESTER and DECK star in HAVOC INC., an on-going anthropomorphic sci-fi adventure series, beginning in issue #1 (Radio Comix, March 1998).
  • Michael-Christopher launches his self-published, six-issue, LIVING THE LIFE (April 1998) about gay life among African-American men. He has since written three prequel Living the Life prose novels.
  • Michael Derry’s comic strip about a group of West Hollywood friends, “TROY“, debuts in Bent magazine (June, 1998). The strip has since appeared in many gay publications.
  • The comic strip “CHELSEA BOYS” debuts in New York NEXT magazine (August 1998), written by Glen Hanson. It has since been syndicated and collected in a trade paperback.
  • The first episode of the online superheroic gay soap opera satire comic book QUEER NATION is previewed (December 1998, officially debuting the next month), written by Chris Cooper.

1999

  • HEARTTHROBS #1 (Vertigo/DC, January 1999) contains the gay-themed romance story “GENES AND A T-SHIRT” written by Robert Rodi.
  • GUESS WHO’S COMING OUT AT DINNER (Rubicon Media, February 1999) is the first collection of Julian Lake’s cartoons. He has two more gay-themed collections published: PLEASE DON’T COME OUT WHILE WE ARE EATING (Rubicon Media, June 2000) and FROM PROVINCETOWN WITH LOVE (Rubicon Media, August 2002).
  • Samuel Delaney writes BREAD AND WINE: AN EROTIC TALE OF NEW YORK (Juno Books, March 1999), an auto-biographical graphic novel about the beginnings of a gay relationship.
  • Jennifer Camper begins her comic strip “SUBGURLZ“, which is later collected (Cleis Press, August 1999).
  • An ashcan edition of GAY FORCE QUARTERLY is released at the San Diego Comicon International (August 1999), but no actual issues appear.
  • Andy Mangels produces the first issue of OUT IN COMICS, a guide to LGBT comics creators and their works, which is also released at the San Diego Comicon International (August 1999). Three more annual editions are produced.
  • APOLLO and MIDNIGHTER are revealed to be their world’s finest gay couple in THE AUTHORITY #7 (Wildstorm/DC, November 1999), written by Warren Ellis. They later have the first gay wedding ceremony in mass-market comics in AUTHORITY #29 (Wildstorm/DC, July 2002), written by Mark Millar.
  • The editor of The Empty Closet convinces Dennis Tucker to turn his characters BIRD and BUN, a bird and a rabbit living in a domestic partnership, into a comic strip that first appears in that publication as “BIRDBUN THEATRE”

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