Posts Tagged ‘Peter Milligan’

Dedalus

Thursday, January 7th, 2010
Art by Davide Gianfelice

Art by Davide Gianfelice

Tall and raven-haired, Dedalus is a London detective who is drawn into strange and surreal events evoking themes of ancient Greek tragedies when called in to investigate the grisly murder of a woman whose savaged body was left on riverbank. When first seen Dedalus is having a phone conversation reassuring his lover John. It’s clear that Dedalus is closeted on the job when he replies “the usual” to a fellow detective’s query of “Woman trouble?” regarding the phone call.

As acts of violence and intimidation, more deaths, a trio of mysterious women (embodying the Furies) appear seemingly at random, and sheets of parchment with ancient Greek writing appear in unlikely places they become an obsession for Dedalus. How deeply the events affect Dedalus, especially when colleague Danny is killed, becomes clear in a scene between Dedalus and John, who tries to reassure Dedalus that the murderer will be caught. Dialog between the couple hints that Dedalus’ decision to be closeted is a source of recurring strain.

Dedalus gains a new partner with Rashid who is rather knowledgable of Greek tragedies.

In issue #10 we learn that one of the Furey brothers is threatening to reveal Dedalus’ secret and ruin his reputation if he doesn’t deliver or murder a  hospitalized suspect with ties to the Furey gang. Dedalus makes an attempt to smother the young man with a pillow and relents before Rashid walks in to the room. Having failed or realized that it’s better to be forced out of the closet than to become a murderer, Dedalus decides to take away the Fureys’ second option of blackmail. He and John drive to his precinct and embrace curbside in front of the station. Word of the incident travels quickly; Rashid is nonchalantly dealing with hearing it as Dedalus walks into their office.

Dedalus is first seen and confirmed as gay in Greek Street #1. John is first seen in #5.

© Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice. Published by Vertigo. Used without permission.

Kathy and Lennie

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Art by Chris Bachalo or Jan Duursema

Art by Chris Bachalo or Jan Duursema

Kathy George came from a fairly well off Southern family, but decided to move north and become free spirited. She fell in love with Roger, an African American, perhaps out of defiance to her family’s attitudes. She convinces Roger to meet her parents. Shortly before Kathy and Roger arrive at her parents’, Troy Grenzer breaks into the house and brutally murders her parents. Grenzer is caught in the aftermath by Kathy and goes after her. Roger comes to her aid, attacking Grenzer. When the police arrive, they decide that Roger is the murderer and fatally shoot him.

Time passes with Kathy in a state of depression. She’s outside the prison on the day of Grenzer’s execution. At the same moment of his execution Shade crosses over from the Area of Madness, possesses Grenzer’s body, teleports in front of Kathy, and orders her to drive off. Thus starts their great American road trip to search for the Madness Stream that’s been affecting people.

Kathy winds up alone scared and without money in New York, and has no luck searching for friends she knew from before. Her last hope is to find Ray. Like all her other friends, Ray has moved on. Lennie (Lenora Shapiro), the new tenant is intrigued by Kathy and takes her in. They share a little adventure in which Lennie holds up a cabdriver. Shade makes his way back through the Madness Stream to Kathy, and for lack of anything else to do, Lennie gets involved in their bizarre,
“hallucinogenic” road trip.

Later, Kathy and Lenny visit relatives of Kathy’s who live on a Montana farm. Alone in the barn, they have a long conversation and kiss. Neither is quite sure what to make of it, especially Kathy who has been in love with Shade. The story in issue #26 is told from Kathy and Lennie’s points of view as they lay naked in bed talking with each other. Peter Milligan, the series’ writer, comes up with the most surprising way for Shade to find out this bit of news. Kathy and Lennie’s relationship continues for a while. Jealous, Shade asks Kathy if she and Lennie are still having sex, and then tries to turn the table on them by kissing Lennie. Soon afterwards, Kathy gets pregnant by Shade. During her pregnancy Kathy realized she’s not in love with Shade, and they become friends. In a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kathy is shot while shopping. She lives long enough to deliver her baby.

Being part human and part Metan, Kathy’s baby George isn’t normal. His metabolism is much faster than a human’s and he grows up and dies within a short time. Shade uses his power to safekeep George’s soul until he can transfer it into another body. As irony would have it, the child’s new body belongs to Lilly, Lennie’s estranged daughter.

Milligan wraps up the series by having Shade go back in time. History is rewritten so that Troy Grenzer never murdered Kathy’s parents and her fiance Roger was never killed by police. Lenny was back in New York, Kathy was living in a Montana farmhouse and Shade had gone to be with her.

Kathy first appears in Shade #1, vol 2 and Lennie in #8. Kathy may have been bisexual. In any case. they’re outed in #20.

© and ® Vertigo Comics. Used without permission. Created by Peter Milligan.

Enigma

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Art by Duncan Fegredo

Art by Duncan Fegredo

Contributed by Bill Reid

We meet Michael Smith, a compulsive, late-20’s, heterosexual phone repairman living a highly-structured life in Pacific City, California. We’re told he knows he’ll be having sex with his girlfriend tonight because it’s Tuesday, and they always and only have sex on Tuesday.Other characters include Titus Bird, the queer writer of the superhero comic book series “The Enigma,” which stopped after three issues when the publisher folded.

Characters from the series start appearing in Pacific City, over 25 years after the series ended. The title character of “The Enigma” was a major part of young Michael’s life, “a man in a mask and a cloak who was his mysterious friend. . . glimpsed in the unlit alleyways of his childhood,” (Michael’s father was killed in an earthquake, and he was abandoned by his mother around age 9).

Shortly after the series abruptly ended, an infant is born who is an extraordinary leap forward in human evolution. He causes his father’s face to be disfigured. His horrified mother throws the baby down an almost-dry well and shoots the father’s head off with a shotgun. The baby is able to survive on his own and lives in the well for 25 years. After he is discovered, he wanders the Southwest, eventually finding the ruins of Michael’s childhood home and, of course, copies of “The Enigma.” He adopts the identify of The Enigma, and causes other people to adopt the identities of the villains from the books he found.

Michael tracks down Titus in Texas and rescues him from a group of crazed fans, The Enigmatics, who consider Titus to be “some kinda guru.” Neither can understand how or why these characters are suddenly appearing, but they are sure that Michael is somehow directly linked to the events. They decide do some investigating.

enigma2In a bar they stop at on their way back to California, Titus makes a pass at Michael, who in turn floors Titus with a punch. Titus apologizes, and Michael is shocked that Titus assumed he was queer. Michael’s violent reaction to Titus’ offer of sex is later revealed to be because he is starting to realize that perhaps he is indeed sexually attracted to men and was “scared of the truth.” He succumbs to this desire when he finally meets The Enigma, who is an essentially emotionless being of incredible powers and unfamiliar with the concepts of right and wrong.

In the final issue we learn that The Enigma caused Michael to become homosexual because he needed to experience emotions, to learn to “be a little more . . . human. To feel a little love and compassion. . .” because he knows he needs this to defeat his most powerful enemy, his mother, who had gone insane after she discovered what a freak he was. The Enigma had sought out Michael specifically because he could tell how much the comic books had meant to young Michael when he found them. The Enigma offers to change Michael back to the way he was, (a heterosexual), but Michael declines the offer. The series ends just as Michael, Titus, and The Enigma go off to meet The Enigma’s mother, who had recently been transformed into a monstrosity.

Like the Sebastian O mini series by Grant Morrison, The Enigma was originally part of Disney’s planned line of mature comics that never appeared. Karen Berger picked up the two series and used them in Vertigo’s launch. The Engima tpb can still be found on Amazon.

Smith and The Enigman first appear in Enigma #1, Titus in Enigma #3. Titus is outed in #3, Michael and The Enigma in #6.

Enigma © and ® 1993 by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo.Published by DC Comics. Used without permission.

Bloke

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

bloke1Submitted by Ronald Byrd

A large, inhuman-looking mutant, Mickey Tork began his career as a vigilante in San Francisco; because he initially had multi-colored skin, he went by the codename of Rainbow. As his powers developed, he gained the ability to change his skin color, with gray evidently his natural color, although he prefers a bright pink shade when in action. After two years of activity with a “kill rating of six per mission,” Mickey, now known as Bloke, was recruited for the public super-team known as X-Force, located in New York City, where he hoped to achieve “fame… money… a place in history and the opportunity to put a four-hundred pound guy like me on the cultural map.” Unfortunately, Bloke perished during his first X-Force mission, slain while protecting an informant in the South American nation of Bastrona.

It is known that Bloke had an unnamed male lover, possibly a fellow mutant, who had pointed ears and red, pupilless eyes; his homosexuality gives Bloke’s wish for “a place in history” as an X-Force member a deeper meaning. His lover was never seen again.

For such a short-lived character, Bloke was given a surprising number of stereotypical gay traits; in addition to originally operating out of San Francisco and literally being “pink,” he was stated to have “impeccable taste in soft furnishings” (i.e. interior decorating) and a “penchant for musical theater and pumping iron.”

Bloke possessed superhuman strength and a level of physical invulnerability, although the latter was not sufficient to enable him to survive heavy helicopter artillery. He was also able to change his skin color at will to blend into his surroundings. Bloke first appeared in X-Force #117 and was confirmed gay in #118.

Not long after this issue Marvel published the controversial Rawhide Kid mini series, and received backlash from conservatives and the religious right. This kiss may have been the last between two gay men in a Marvel comic until Rictor and Shatterstar kissed in X-Force #45.

© and ® of Marvel Comics. Used without permission. Created by Peter Milligan.