Mike: [00:00:00] I am brain fried
Jessika: I've literally been in the sun all day and I am drinking vodka. That is all I have to say to you.
I'm such a chaos goblin that I had no ice cube. So I cut a popsicle into this.
Mike: Live in the dream. Living the
Jessika: Living the dream
Jessika: Hello. Welcome to Ten Cent Takes the podcast where we keep it incredibly queer, one issue or every issue at a time.
Mike: I was gonna say,
Jessika: My name is Jessika Frazer, and I am joined by my co-host, the brazen bisexual Mike Thompson.
Mike: I mean, fair.
Jessika: No lies is detected.[00:01:00]
Mike: Trying to detect them. I can't.
Jessika: Well, the purpose of this podcast is to study comic books in ways that are both fun and informative. We wanna look at their coolest, weirdest, and silliest moments, as well as examine how they're woven into the larger fabric of pop culture and history.
If you're enjoying the show so far and wanna help us grow, it would be a huge help if you'd rate and or review us on Apple Podcasts, because that really helps with discoverability. Now, this month being June is of course Pride Month in the spirit of such, we are focusing on our amazing LGBTQIA+ community by featuring queer comics of all types. So today's topic is the aptly named Gay Comix with an X; Gay [00:02:00] Comix.
We are going to be discussing the creation and creators of this publication, the publication history, along with our own opinions on some of the comics included in the series. But before we get into that, Mike, what is one thing you've read or watched lately?
Mike: Man, I have wound up reading a lot of stuff lately that didn't actually leave me feeling very satisfied. Like I checked out Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow, because that's apparently what the Supergirl movie that's coming up is gonna be based on, and it was okay. It didn't really leave me enamored. I also read something called Retcon, which is kind of like Men in Black, if it were a supernatural Cold War story.
But I kind of gave up on it halfway through. I also read Shoplifters will be liquidated by Patrick Kindling and Stefano Simone. And it's like really biting, dystopian satire, focusing on like our hyper consumerism culture. But it wound [00:03:00] up being so biting that the ending was a real downer and it left me feeling really grumpy.
But one thing that was really good was the show Mrs. Davis on Peacock. Have you heard about this?
Jessika: Okay. My brother watched it, so my brother does this funny thing where he'll like go to sleep part of the way through the show and like leave it on the screen. And so when I go into his house, I'm like, what the f? This is like the third night in a row. You've had a nun on the screen like, what's going on?
I've heard of it, but I haven't watched it.
Mike: okay. So yeah. So at Stars, Betty Gilpin, she was one of the lead actresses in Glow. I think Liberty Bell was her character's name if you watched Glow. she plays a nun named Simone, who is kind of a Luddite in this world where an AI named Mrs.
Davis has started kind of running everyone's life, sort of like a benevolent dictator. Like there's no war, there's no famine, things like that. so Mrs. Davis ends up sending Simone on a quest to retrieve the Holy Grail. And it is, [00:04:00] One of the most batshit things I've ever watched, like the trailers for the show are actually really underwhelming.
I wasn't really interested until Frigay the 13th was talking about it, on Twitter with us. And I was like, okay, I gotta go check this out cuz they've got pretty good taste.
Mike: Sarah had no interest in watching it after we saw an ad for it. But I ended up watching the first episode and then I kind of like came back and I forced her to watch it and we ended up binging the whole thing over a couple of days.
Jessika: Oh, okay.
Mike: Yeah, each episode is more wild than the previous one and we wound up just gobbling it all up. It's this weird sci-fi comedy drama and it's beautiful and it's sad and it's strange all at once. And honestly, I cannot recommend it more.
Jessika: Wow. Okay. I will have to check it out then.
Mike: Yeah. And you know, if you have Comcast for your internet, then you have access to the Peacock app for free. It's like got ads and stuff, but like, whatever, it's fine. So, yeah. Um, it's really good. Really [00:05:00] recommend it and yeah. What about you? What, uh, what have you been watching lately or reading, hopefully you've had better luck reading than I have.
Jessika: well, yeah, I, I have been kind of on the road and so I've not been doing a ton of reading, but I have been doing a lot of like, listening to books on tape. But that's all like fantasy stuff that's not, that's neither here nor there.
Mike: Were, were you driving down to Disneyland?
Like did you, did
Jessika: to, yeah, I did. I did. Yeah, because like, honestly, and like, call me crazy, but like being on the road for eight hours cuz it's just me.
Like, I don't really mind that.
don't either. It's kind of
Jessika: like little road trips. Yeah. Like, cuz I'll drive up to Portland that's like 11 hours. Like I really, truly, truly don't mind
Mike: Yeah, it was, uh, it was like a 15 hour drive to Walla Walla when I went to school up there, and it was like 11 hours to Flagstaff. Like I always was really comfortable on the road, and audiobooks were amazing.[00:06:00]
Jessika: Oh yeah, absolutely. And just, yeah, I just queue up a, a few of 'em on Audible and actually one of the ones I picked on was like, oh, we're fine. You're 24 hours long.
Mike: Oh, I love it when that happens. I love it when that happens. Cause then I'm like, all right, that's like a month worth of dog walks. Perfect.
Jessika: yeah. Yeah, exactly. So, and the book has three in sequence, so I'm actually still like, just finishing the second one. And
so it's, yeah, that's been good, but. On the, the watching front. Cause I did catch one, one thing and this was on your recommendation
and it wasn't necessarily comic related but relevant to our previous conversation.
So I watched Wall-e for the first time
Mike: Oh yeah, cuz we talked about that a couple episodes ago where you, you
Jessika: we did. Yeah. Holy crap. Rollercoaster of emotions.
Jessika: Ha, I like cried so many times during that movie.
Mike: Yeah. It's uh, it's also like kind of two movies mashed together. It's really interesting.
Jessika: it, yeah. Fascinating. [00:07:00] It really is. like someone tell me why I was so freaking devastated at that little robot's like lonely plight. Ah,
Mike: Yeah. Well, and I love how the first half of the movie is kind of like a silent film.
Yeah, Yeah, they did a lot with the music and with, oh, just everything. It was, it was really good. I liked the idea that humans had been gone from the earth for so long and had evolved to a life in space after completely trashing literally our own planet.
Like it was a little close to the mark. If you ask me though,
like on the whole planetary destruction, frontline a little close, I would be really interested to see how the humans deal with their reentry to their destroyed planet long term. Like, are they going to make the same mistakes they did before?
Are they going to be able to change their ways for the better? And I'm like, sadly, inclined to think that humans probably. [00:08:00] Haven't changed their attitudes much over the years in that situation. Um, including their continued use of the even larger Wall-E units that are on their spaceship like that already tells me kind of everything I need to know cuz they're still dealing with trash the way that they dealt with it always, which was just to like, throw it away, get rid of it
Mike: Yeah. It's that still they, that very like consumer focused society.
Jessika: So, I mean, still adverts everywhere and just, I don't know, I'm like, I don't think you guys are gonna change anything and you guys are gonna get here and kill the little bit of life you have and I'll die because you were not prepared to go back into space.
Jessika: So, well, what do you say, we queer it up and float into our main topic.
Mike: Yeah. I'm down man.
Jessika: So, as I mentioned, it's June, which is Pride [00:09:00] Month. Again, reminder. So Mike and I wanted to celebrate our community by focusing some episodes on topics directly concerning the Alphabet Mafia, as I enjoy lovingly calling the community,
Mike: I actually have
adopted that phrase.
Jessika: right, it's the
best. It was derivative. I did not come up with that myself, but
I definitely have a heavily adopted it, so,
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, like we did this last year too, where we talked about the first same sex kisses and mainstream Comics, which was cool. That was a fun, that was a more of mini episode, but that was still a lot of fun to record.
Jessika: Yeah, I thought so. Since we're going down this queer path, let's go as queer, as queer can get and talk about the aptly name Gay Comix. Yes. That's Comix with an X. Again, Comix with an X. It's
Mike: Yep. It was, it was Nineties Extreme before the nineties
Jessika: It [00:10:00] was, yeah. Well that's at least how it started out. But you know what, I'm getting ahead of myself. We'll talk about the, uh, the name a bit more later. Now, this episode was actually inspired by a dollar bin discovery that I made at that wonderful moving sale that Outer planes had a year ago. It's
legit the gift that, yeah, it's the gift that keeps on giving.
It's amazing. So I happen to find issue number 22 of this publication in those dollar bins, and I figured what better time to talk about this than the month of pride. So during this episode, we're going to talk about the creation of this comic, along with the publication history, a few of the notable creators included in publication, as well as some social and historical relevance that played a part in making this comic what it was.
We will also, of course, discuss the selection of the Comics, [00:11:00] what's inside and what we think about them. But before we get into the meat of this topic, let's lay down some resources, I used an article on sci-fi dot com by Sarah Century of the podcast, Bitches on Comics, which I love them.
Published on July 2nd, 2020, titled Gay Comics History with Andy Mangle. An article on the gutter review.com by Chloe Mave, June 23rd, 2021 titled Putting It On Paper, A Brief History of Gay Comix, an article on werepresent.com by Ryan Cahill, published October 4th, 2020, titled Gay Comix Unearthing the History of the seminal L G B T publication Gay Comix article on queer forty.com by Matt Carmen, published August 29th, 2022 titled The Historic Importance of Adults Only Gay Comix and the article on wikipedia.com on Gay Comix. [00:12:00] So while Gay Comix was published starting in the 1980s, its community and the importance of such a piece of media goes back even further. Historically speaking. The need for this type of media was truly spurred well, ultimately spurred by something that you and I have discussed quite a bit on the show already, but I think it bears repeating.
As a reminder for this episode, this catalyst for Gay Comix, along with the overall underground Comics movement was the Comics Code Authority. Mike, do you wanna tell us a little bit about that?
Mike: I mean,
Jessika: Maybe you
Mike: don't, I don't know. I need to, check my, uh, my blood pressure first. Like every time I get on the topic of the Comics Code Authority, I get really angry. So, yeah.
Jessika: That's fair.
Mike: Uh, okay, so the Comics Code and the Comics Code Authority came about thanks to America's national Pastime, which [00:13:00] is moral panics.
Like I, I can't think of anything more American, honestly, at this point.
Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Mike: Basically there was a rise in like juvenile delinquency in the 1950s, and then in 1954 there was a case with a group of young men called the Brooklyn Thrill Killers. And their trial for a murder laid the blame of their behavior kind of at the feet of comics.
And that's how like the coverage kind of presented everything. And so it, it stirred up all this anti-comic book sentiment. around the same time, there was a psychiatrist named Frederick Wertham, who became kind of a national expert on comics and how they influenced kids' brains. And he actually appeared before the Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency as an expert witness.
And he also wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent that same Year, and literally said that comics were more dangerous for kids than Adolf Hitler. Like, you know, that's a, that's a certain take, I guess. Um, [00:14:00] so comic publishers kinda looked at what was going on between the public sentiment not looking good, and the threat of government oversight looming.
And they realized they needed a self-regulation system to get everybody off their backs. And that's how we got the Comics Code, which had these guidelines that severely restricted the stories that mainstream comics could tell. I don't remember all the specifics. It was like a pretty lengthy list, but I know that horror comics basically weren't allowed to exist until the 1970s when they revised the Code.
And there were some allowances made, but it was still like pretty, you know, pretty, pretty toothless for lack of a better term, with how horror stories were, were presented. And then stories with sexual themes and, you know, in quotes, perversion, A K A, queer people, those were just nuked from orbit.
side note, it was discovered that the data Wertham gathered for his book was like, trash at best.
Mike: know, right?
Mike: some of it was like grossly manipulated and exaggerated. I think he actually made like some of it up, [00:15:00] like there was a, a review of it
after he died. Yeah. It's not great. you know, but for our generation, like the Comics Code and how it came to be, there's a lot of weird parallels, between, the parental advisory warning label for music, and, the electronic systems ratings board for video games.
it's kind of like any type of media that's associated with kids and some vocal group of adults freak out about it. And then as a result, this kind of like self-regulation system comes into place because they're terrified of what will happen if the people that are really mad at them manage to get that power.
Jessika: Yeah, it's a fascinating cycle.
Mike: Yeah. and now we have moral panics about queer people. Cool.
Jessika: Yep. Yep. but most of these situations that people are really worried about when they're worried about their kids. Um, I don't know. Let's talk about school shootings. No, let's not.
Jessika: that's mostly not queer people. That's mostly not queer people.
Jessika: I hate to say that. So, yeah, I don't know. We put our emphasis in a lot of strange places in our society, in my opinion.
Mike: Yeah, it's not great.
Jessika: So, you know, well the new regulations at that point in time spurred other indie publications to crop up sparking what is called the Underground Comix era. And yes, that was, once again, Comix with an x. And while this movement initially started in the late sixties, the comic that we are discussing today actually came about more than a decade.
Well, a decade and a half later.
Jessika: And while we're on the topic of timeframes, the timeframe that we're going to be discussing today is the late seventies, but very truly the early eighties, which, you know, there's a lot of really significant things that were happening at that point in time.
You know, we had the Stonewall Riots in the late seventies. We had in the eighties the AIDS [00:17:00] epidemic that was happening. So there were a lot of things within the queer community, outside of society already, you know, publicly ostracizing us that were making queer folk very fearful or completely unable to be out.
Mike: Yeah, and we'd had a period of time where queer representation was like starting in media, like with TV shows. There's actually a new book out from, Matt Baum that I need to pick up called Hi Honey, I'm Homo. Um, and it's all about like, kind of the queering of television.
Mike: so we had this kind of like rise of like queer representation for a minute.
And then it kind, I feel like it kind of pulled back and then it didn't really come back again until like the nineties when we got stuff like Will and Grace, which really kind of kicked the door wide open.
Jessika: Right. Right. I could agree with that. Absolutely. And strangely, the idea of the comic that we're going to be talking about today was concocted by an [00:18:00] ally rather than a member of the community,
which is a fun little fact. Yeah. The idea for Gay Comix was thought up by Dennis Kitchen, who was the founder of the publishing company Kitchen Sink Press.
Mike: Oh, okay.
Mike: I think kitchen sink was actually based here in the Bay Area too for a while. They may
Jessika: Yeah, Yeah, it was, yeah. So in 1979, he approached Howard Cruse, who was an openly queer cartoonist to see if he had any interest in editing it. Now, initially Cruse was hesitant to participate as he had never really outed himself publicly in print,
Jessika: but decided it would be cowardly not to get involved.
Cruse also recognized that most of the world viewed the community as more of a caricature and wanted to allow proper representation from within the community itself. So a call for content was issued to the gay and lesbian community. There wasn't really kind of anything in between at that point.
And Cruse was listed as the point of [00:19:00] contact for creators to submit works for publication in the comic. Gay Comix was published starting in September, 1980 with the first five issues having been published by Kitchen Sink Press. After which publication was taken over by Bob Ross, who was the publisher of the Bay Area Reporter gay newspaper.
Jessika: Yeah. So Howard Cruse edited issues one through four, but stepped back from being editor and handed over the reins to Robert Triptow, who edited issues number five through 15. Andy Mangles saw the comic through the rest of the publication from issue 16 through 25. In the early days of the comic, the publication was sporadic and at the whim of the receipt of content, essentially it was published when it was ready. So the focus of the anthology comic was to allow queer creators to tell their own stories and their own stylistic voices, and they wanted it to be gender equal and it was decidedly not a pornographic comic.[00:20:00]
Mike: no, that actually really surprised me. Like I was expecting a lot more erotic content.
Jessika: Yeah, , Cruse in his call said that he specifically said he didn't want things that were overtly sexual or, , have a lot of nudity to them. So,
Jessika: and this anthology series featured some names our listeners may recognize. So let's go through a little chunk of them here. And this is by no means a comprehensive list, by the way. So, Alison Bechdel,
I mean, we haven't talked about her at all on the show.
Jessika: Never, not once. Mary Wings, Roberta Gregory, tim Barella, Jerry Mills, Diana Green, Lee Marrs, and Jennifer Camper. Just again, just name a few. And once the comic hit its stride in the underground comix world under the editorial rule of Andy Mangels, the move was made to branch out to garner attention from more mainstream audiences.
And Mangle [00:21:00] says,
Mike: I went over to fellow comic creator Todd McFarlane's house what? Todd McFarlane.
Jessika: I know.
Mike: Sorry. Let me get back into the quote.
Jessika: No, you're fine.
Mike: I. said, Hey, would you be willing to donate an ad page in Spawn? Spawn was the number one top selling comic at the time.
And he did, he donated an inside cover in Spawn. Once that issue came out, he had retailers asking, how dare you, how can I sell this comic to children? I can sell it when people are murdered. Limbs are ton off, but I can't sell this because there's an ad for gay characters. So first he called me and he said, so I did this on faith, but I never read Gay Comix.
Is this a porn book? And I said, absolutely not. There's no nudity allowed in the book. It's adult oriented, but it's not an adult only book. It's less adults only than Spawn. Which I mean, spawn at the time like was pretty, pretty dark and pretty violent. Like just, you know, speaking as a 12 year old who should not have been reading it, but absolutely was so.
So he went to the [00:22:00] retailers that wanted to return Spawn, and he said, you can return this issue for full credit, but you will never again be allowed to order spawn this of course was the number one comic, so they all just shut up and went away. That's great. Like, like, first of all, fantastic.
Um, like I am not a huge fan of the Todd father. He is reportedly kind of a jerk. He has gotten into a lot of disputes with other creators and he's usually painted as the villain. But, um, yeah. Welcome to the gay barbecue. Todd, you're allowed.
Jessika: So another part of this change was the name I told you this was gonna come up. The publication went from Gay Comix with an X to Gay Comics. Just spell the regular way apparently in order to divest themselves from the underground Comics movement.
Mike: Yeah, I mean probably also the X had a lot of people concerned that it was like triple X or X-rated would be my guess.
Jessika: yeah, I just considered that they were [00:23:00] rounding out all of those edges, you know,
Mike: Oh, okay.
Jessika: so the 25th and final comic was published in July, 1998, but excerpts of some of the early comics were included in an anthology titled Gay Comics, no relation, spelled with a C in 1989. And while there have been no further printings nor collections, Triptow and Mangels are working to try to get a collection of the comics.
So there is a distinct possibility that we will be able to get this in a trade paperback or other similar formats. So, fingers crossed.
Mike: I would love to see like an omnibus collection or collections of this. Like that would be amazing. And I'm, I mean, if they. If they kickstarted it or crowdfunded it, I would totally contribute, but, you know,
Jessika: Oh yeah, absolutely. Same. Well now that we've discussed the history and publication, let's get down to the issues themselves[00:24:00]
For this episode, we read issues one through four and number 22. And that last one was because it happened to be the issue I ran across in the dollar bins, as I mentioned. So Mike, can you walk us through the first few issues?
Mike: Yeah. So issue one was published in September of 1980. There is an intro letter to the comic explaining how this book contains stories by queer people, and then we get Stick in the Mud by Lee Marrs. It is about a woman named Carol growing up and feeling like an outsider. Then coming into her own once she figures out her sexual identity as an adult and bouncing between relationships before meeting a woman named Carol, who actually
I looked up Marrs. Marrs looks a lot like Carol I'm wondering if it's maybe a little bit autobiographical.
Jessika: well a lot of the first issues, , were autobiographical
Jessika: nature. Yeah.
Mike: Yeah. so Susan meets Carol, who looks a lot like [00:25:00] Marrs herself, and then ends up settling down with her as a partner and is generally accepted by Carol's family. It's actually very cute.
Next we get Fallout by Billy Fugate. It is a short, stylized, almost abstract take on life and dating as a gay man in the city. There is an untitled full page illustration by someone named Demian. It's almost like an abstract poem, but he has this really beautiful, kind of pointilized style of illustration. After that we get Reunion by Roberta Gregory. It follows parallel stories of Liz and Marta, who are two women who first meet at a i, I guess it's like a community center's women's studies class. Marta is a single mom raising two kids who realizes she likes women, but none of her girlfriends are interested in a real relationship because of the kids.
Liz meanwhile is in a poly relationship with another woman, but her partners get jealous of each other, and then Liz and Marta run into each other at a concert along with another woman from the class named Nina. The three of them basically reaffirm [00:26:00] their sisterhood and then give each other emotional reassurance while they all allow to be the person that they want to be right at the end, which is, you know, kind of sweet.
Mike: Following that we get Saboteur by Kurt Erickson. It's a cute story that basically uses Spycraft as an allegory for a queer person passing in straight society. It's, it's actually very cute. It's a funny little spy story about a gay man who goes undercover at Straightways Industries and then he has to pass all of their dumb tests based on stereotypes.
Like I think one of 'em is like, where's a woman's G-spot? And it's like, I have no idea you pass. and then he sabotages their projects to out queer people and that's it. the next story is Billy Goes Out by Howard Cruse, which is kind of a slice of life comic about a man named Billy in New York.
I think. But right before he goes out one night, he gets a call from his mom letting him know that his homophobic uncle died. And as a result, he starts flashing back on his life [00:27:00] while he's going out into the clubs. And so we have these memories juxtaposed with him out at the gay bars.
And it's actually really tragic, like we learn. He lost his partner in what may have been a hate crime. It's a little bit vague.
Mike: so he's been using hookups to deal with his grief, but he meets a guy who recently moved out from the Midwest, and it's implied that there may be some future between the two of them.
yeah, after that, there is Found a Reason by Billy Fugate. Uh, it is a one page comic showing an older couple's daily routine. It's very wholesome.
And then and then there is, A visit from Mom by Mary Wings, and it's about a girl struggling with the idea of coming out to her mom. And then as she's telling her girlfriend about her mom and how she's been going through a tough time herself because her best friend died.
And then she realizes that her mom's best friend slash roommate who recently passed [00:28:00] may have been something more.
Mike: Yeah, it's like, oh, okay. Yeah, it was, it was nice. It was actually, it was very wholesome. And then the final story is a one page sort of erotic comic by Theo Bogart, you know, and that's it.
like, it's a big comic. It's like around 48 pages, I think.
Jessika: Yeah, I kind of didn't realize that when I told you to read five of them and I didn't read them before I told you to read five of them. Might I add,
Mike: I had no idea what to expect. Honestly, like I have known of this comic for years. I occasionally am involved with the site Gay League. I'm friendly with the site's owner and I talk with him on Facebook a lot. He has posted about Gay Comix in the past. I have never read this and so this was actually really interesting for me to read, but I also had no idea just how beefy these Comics were.
Jessika: Yeah, same. Same. I was like, oh, a few stories, and then I'm [00:29:00] like, wait a second, I'm number 13, 14. What is going on?
Mike: Oh God. Uh, so issue two, the first story is Cy Ross and the SQ Syndrome by Burton Clarke. It introduced us to Cy a black gay man who overhears another man calling him a snow queen, meaning that he only sleeps with white guys. Cy is upset about it, but his friend Vince goes, well, it's kind of true, isn't it?
So Cy basically is like, that's like calling me racist and I'm gonna prove that I'm not racist. So he starts trying to hook up with other black men, but the results are disastrous.
And then when he goes back to white guys though, the outcomes are all different but equally terrible. And then it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger with Cy and Vince having an argument in a diner where it feels like they're about to admit that they're actually like in love with each other. But then Vince instead like walks out in a huff and that's where it ends.
And I was actually really grumpy about it. I'm like, no, I wanna see you two kiss.
Jessika: I know. [00:30:00] Same. Oh my gosh. There was so much tension on
Mike: Yeah. the next story is She's My Two-Timin' Truck Driving Mama by Jennifer Camper. It's basically, it's one of those country bar songs about a queer female truck driver. And the comic panels are illustrating the lyrics. Essentially, this unnamed truck driver falls in love with a singer at a bar. They have a passionate affair, and then the driver bounces back onto the road.
This is all narrated right before it's revealed that the truck driver is in the singer's audience right now because she's on her way to Nashville and thought she'd stop by
Mike: Yeah. I was pleasantly surprised by how many of these stories I enjoyed,
Jessika: Yeah. And how many, I kind of like low key related to which I know that'll be a question later,
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. The next one is child Labor by Mary Wings. This is supposedly based on a true story that begins in the 1920s. The narrator is an orphan who is adopted to be the quote pet of a rich man's [00:31:00] developmentally disabled daughter, and then is actually raised by the housekeeper, although she does grow up in luxury and she's kind of like adopted into the family. She meets a girl named Sarah, who she eventually develops a relationship with over the many years of their friendship. But when her, in quotes, mother dies, she learns that she is required to get married and have a male child in order to receive her inheritance.
She marries this like awful dude and eventually does get pregnant, and then she finally revolts when she learns that a she'll never actually have control over her finances because, you know, the lawyer's like, well, you can't just be a rich divorcee. And then her husband, it turns out, is also like a Nazi sympathizer.
So she beats up both a lawyer and her husband, and then she and Sarah drive off into the sunset.
Mike: it's, it's good. The next one is Mallory Duck With a Difference by Joe Sonti. Mallory Duck comes home, he makes himself some dinner, tries on a couple of different outfits, and [00:32:00] then goes out to a gay bar.
But it turns out the bar's full of roosters. So, you know, there's Jerry Mac by M Cruise. This one was actually really like this one, hit me. , Jerry Mac is a minister in Iowa who reads an article about Evan Bond, a friend of his from Alabama. The man reflects on their history after that.
Jerry is seven years older than Evan when they meet and they become friends when Jerry starts a local newspaper and Evan draws the cartoons for his evangelical essays. Jerry ended up developing romantic feelings for his friend, but basically buried himself in the Bible to repress his emotions.
After counseling Evan through some girlfriend trouble, Jerry ends up kind of like realizing his feelings. He asks Evan to meet him at a nearby truck stop to talk, but instead, Evan's father arrives and nearly beats the guy the young man to death and then tells him to get out of town because he's a goddamn queer and never speak or write to Evan again.
So Jerry does that. He gets out, he goes to [00:33:00] seminary school, he marries a woman, has a number of kids with her, and then we learn the article about Evan shows that he's a gay cartoonist and Jerry laments the devil getting hold of such a fine young man before worrying that his youngest son Tom might also be gay.
And then it's like, it's really uncomfortable because the final panel implies, I don't know what it's implying, but it's like there's a couple ways it could go. It could be him basically. Like I might have to like, you know, beat the devil out of him. Or it might also be like he has sexual feelings for his son because his son reminds him so much of Evan.
I don't know. It's vague and, and it makes me
Jessika: Yeah. Yes. Yes.
Mike: So then we get some lighter fair with, Casteroids by Robert Triptow. So these were one page comics that were kind of like, you know, kind of the hijinks between these two gay roommates. They keep on showing up throughout the series. This is a one page comic where a man, I don't think [00:34:00] we ever learned their names, do we?
Jessika: I don't believe so. I don't remember any names, but I'm also not a name person. Whoops.
Mike: Yeah, I didn't see it ever. But yeah, so, one of the men is watching Pollyanna and then his roommate brings home what appears to be a pretty rough hookup named Masher. He's this like big dude who's also a mouth breather. He is wearing leather and chains and has nipple rings, and the main guy freaks out because Masher seems like super threatening and the Masher is like, oh, are you watching Pollyanna?
That's one of my favorite movies. And it surprises both the guys I, you know, it was cute. Following that, we get Unnatural Desires by Roberta Gregory. This one is about two high school friends, Laura and Carol, who run into each other at the grocery store. Laura is in a monogamous relationship with a woman while Carol is married to a man and has a daughter.
When they reconnect, each woman is shocked and angry at how the other sexuality turned out, and then they both end up having sexual encounters that the reveal, they were both wrong to get angry with each other, and then they hug it out. Honestly, like this was my least [00:35:00] favorite story. I kind of hated it.
Jessika: Yeah, I didn't love it either.
Mike: Like it,
Jessika: It was kind of weird,
Mike: I don't know it. I was sitting there and I was like, this feels like something that a straight dude would write. Like, I don't know.
Jessika: right? Oh, that's how it felt. I was trying to figure out why he
Mike: Yeah. Yeah. it
just, it, it rubbed me the wrong way. Then we get Getting Domestic by Howard Cruse. It's a one page comic about a couple living together, trying to figure out how to split up the chores for their house.
It, you know, it feels like kinda like one of those, like one page filler Comics you'd see in Mad Magazine or something. It's whatever. and then the final one of the issue in it ends going onto the back cover, which was actually really interesting because the entire comic is all black and white. And then the final page is in full color.
So it's called For Keeps and Forever by Lee Marrs. This seems like a send up to one of those old romance comics, you know, where there's like the classic love triangle. It's [00:36:00] starring a young black woman named Tina, who is in a love triangle with a Hollywood stunt woman named Shauna, and then an older corporate attorney named Fran.
We see how Tina met Fran on the set of one of Shauna's movies. Where Tina caught her girlfriend hooking up with another woman, and then Fran basically love bombed her after she learned what was going on, trying to kind of steal her away. It's not great. eventually Tina realizes that Shauna and the other woman were actually rehearsing a stunt sequence for the movie she was in.
And then she tries to win Shauna back. She breaks up with Fran over voicemail, tries to get Shauna back. But Shauna says, I need someone I can love for keeps forever not a weathervane. And then Shauna leaves Tina crying and that's it. And I was like, yeah, well, you kind of suck. Sorry.
Mike: I have dated that person who was very jealous and it was not fun.
Jessika: yeah, exactly
Mike: was exhausting. There's a reason why it didn't work out.
Jessika: right. Exactly.
Mike: All right. That brings us to issue [00:37:00] three, which starts off with my most embarrassing childhood experience by Theo Bogart. I loved this. It is a one page comic that reveals how a teacher, took a young Theo Bart and his class on a nature expedition to do some drawing, and then we get a big illustration of the teacher walking up the hill to see where Theo is, because he always gets some, like really interesting perspectives and stuff like that.
And Theo and his friend are fooling around with each other, you know, while they were supposed to be drawing. And so you just, you know that the teacher is like, like two seconds away from catching them, and it's gonna be like horrifically embarrassing for them both.
Jessika: Oh my gosh. Yeah,
Jessika: yeah, exactly. You can like feel it. You can like, you're like, oh, here it is.
Mike: You're like, oh, that's gonna be some trauma that stays with you into adulthood. All
Jessika: Yeah. Ugh.
Mike: Oh, all right. After that, We get my Deadly Darling Dyke by Lee Marrs. This is like a pastiche on Brams Stoker's Dracula. [00:38:00] It's narrated by a journalist named Ms. Timid, who is sent out to cover Morning, M O U R N I N G, fog Manor in Carmel, California. It's basically kind of implied that this is supposed to be like Hearst Castle.
Mike: she meets, Lariat Baron last of the Boston Barons. As Timid stays at the estate, she gradually falls into the Baron's spell and enters into a sexual relationship with a woman. However, the death of the Baron's previous partner is the shroud kind of hanging over the story, where like the help mentions it and they're like, why are you still here?
The Baron will kill you too. Eventually the Baron reveals that her ex was going to use the Marvin versus Marvin ruling to turn the manner into condos, which caused her in the Baron to fight. And then, the Enix fell off the estate's bell Tower. The Barron reveals that she's already written up her will, so that timid will inherit the manner when she dies.
And Timid is like, you seem like a loose cannon. Absolutely not. And then we see a figure fall off the tower to her death,[00:39:00] and then we learn that timid, threw the baron off and has now turned the entire mansion into condominiums, which chef's kiss?
Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, that was definitely an interesting twist. I was like, what? Oh, oh, oh, oh.
Mike: No, I dug it. The next story is Weekend Revolutionaries by Kurt Erickson. It shows a group of gay men hanging out and trying to figure out how to change the legal climate in their town. So it's more friendly towards queer people, but none of them really want to do anything that inconveniences them.
Hence why they're weekend revolutionaries. But George is hardcore though, and he tries to rile up his friends by calling in a police raid on a local gay disco in his neighborhood. And then when the police raid the bar, he pulls down his friend Paul's shorts and shoves him into a cop's arms. The other revolutionaries see this, and then they end up playing drugs on George when he makes it out the back exit.
And the cops pull down George's pants to search him after they discover him, stumbling outta the back alley. Like, all right, whatever.
Jessika: Yeah. Oh well.
Mike: we get another [00:40:00] Castroids by Robert Triptow. The two roommates go to a gay bar, but the one who really wanted to go keeps on striking out with all of his pickup lines while the other hits a home run when he just says, hi there, you want to go fuck? And, and the guy's like, oh, yeah, sure. Sounds great. this one was really interesting though. So following the Castroids comic, this is actually one of the most interesting comics out of all the ones that I read. It's called I'm Me by David Kotler and Tom MC Nulty nte. This appears to be an autobiographical comic from David explaining how he transitioned from female to male and is still with the man he married before transitioning.
It's actually this very short, sweet comic explaining how David realized that he was trans and how his husband supported him along the way,
this one, I actually looked up a bit and I couldn't find much documentation on it, but there are some articles and blog entries talking about how they think that this is actually the first time that like [00:41:00] an actually trans person appeared in comic books.
Jessika: mm Okay. That makes sense. That
Jessika: on the timeframe.
Mike: Yeah. we then get bone for sorrow. I couldn't find who this was by. It equates the loss of a partner to having one's arm torn off and it's, you know, interesting. there is. Then I always cry at movies by Howard Cruse, which is about how a man crying at sad endings in movies, is actually crying about a real life breakup with his long-term partner.
Following that, there is Necropolitan by Billy Fugate. It is a stylish little comic with a, a zombie, a mummy, I don't know, some sort of undead ghoul kind of showing off his new home to the reader.
Mike: We then get the Tale of Cha-Lee and Sat-yah by Demian. This is kind of like an epic fairytale about two boys named Cha-Lee and Sat-yah, who grow up as best friends and then become, and this is a quote, an ideal couple, but Sat-yah's [00:42:00] parents don't realize what's going on.
They promise him a marriage to a woman. So Cha-Lee leaves home and he goes on a long journey across the sea so that he doesn't have to see his love get married to someone else, but when he makes it to the other shore, Sat-yah is waiting for him. They travel for years and eventually return home. And it turns out Sat-yah has been in a coma ever since Cha-lee left. Sat-yah then wakes up and merges with the other Sat-yah, who is on the boat with Cha-Lee, and then Sat-yah and Cha-Lee live as mates until they die 45 years later.
Mike: Yeah. Next there is, as the world grinds to a halt by Sheila Smith, a woman named Jackie is working at a Berkeley shout out to the Bay Area, at a Berkeley Deli and is fired for giving away a bowl of potato salad. But apparently it was really because she wouldn't sleep with the owner.
The local newspaper reports on what really happened. Some feminist activists decide to organize a benefit to raise some money for the woman to hold her over until she gets another job. Meanwhile, it turns out that deli's [00:43:00] bank account is overdrawn like by 40 grand.
I don't know how that happens, but, okay.
Mike: Jackie keeps on striking out looking for a new job, but she ends up going to the rally in her honor and then hooks up with the organizer. The next morning, the organizer tells Jackie that the rally raised $700 for her, Jackie and her new girlfriend.
Because, you know, they move fast. Um, they go out for breakfast and then they run into the deli owner who is now out on the street. So Jackie gives her a dollar, and then the final panel reveals that this has all been a part of an episode of the soap opera As The World Grinds To A Halt. I, I don't think I would've liked the story if it hadn't been for that panel to be honest.
Cause I was like, yeah,
Jessika: Right, right. It exactly.
Mike: Okay. So following that, there is Another Coming Out Story by Roberta Gregory, 18 year old Sarah is at a Christmas party with her family and reveals she doesn't have any interest in drinking like so many of her relatives do. However, her friend April gets her a fake ID [00:44:00] as a going away to college present, and then gets her interested in drinking via a tequila sunrise and kisses her.
And then flash forward several years to when Sarah is dating a woman named Jane and is also a full fledged alcoholic, like there is. No illusions about this. so Jane eventually leaves Sarah, which makes Sarah's drinking worse. She spirals, eventually she runs into Jane again, who offers to help her work on herself.
Now that she acknowledges that she's got a problem, but the way that it ends doesn't really feel like things are gonna get better because she says something about like, like when I turn 30, things are gonna be really different.
Jessika: Right. Like it's just gonna switch and it's like, oh, you need to work on yourself though.
Mike: Yeah. Then there is Dirty Old Lovers by Howard Cruse. This is the story of Clark Stober and Luke Tuba to very accomplished older men who are partners and highly involved in the gay community, but they're also kind of like dirty old men when they [00:45:00] go out at night and make all sorts of loud commentary and they end up picking up a young dude at a bar.
And then it turns out the comic's been narrated by the Gays for Righteous, the gays for righteous image management, aka grim, uh, which explains why the captions have been so judgey about their behavior. It's actually pretty cute and funny.
Mike: and then there's Watch Out by Vaughn. it's a one page comic.
Two men go into a leather gear store on a lark, but everyone inside is staring at them. It turns out the men are wearing red socks on a Tuesday, which apparently is gay secret code for wanting to get gay fist fucked. Uh, and then one of the men ends up waking up and it turns out it was all a bad dream.
Whatever. And finally we get one more Castroids comic on the back cover by Robert Triptow. One of the roommates has a postcard from the other's mother. And it's like this weird joke about eating the boyfriend for breakfast. I'm gonna be honest, I didn't get it.
Jessika: I didn't really either. Good. I thought I was missing something.
Mike: yeah, it, um, [00:46:00] like most of the Castroids comics I actually kind of enjoyed Cause I was like, oh, they're a little like, kind of funny slice of life gags. But this one just, I was like, I, I don't understand it. Okay.
Mike: All right. And that is the first
Mike: Gay Comix with an x.
Jessika: Yeah. And issue number four was published in November of 1983. Store number one was titled Poppers by Jerry Mills. It's about a couple who are trying to decide where to go out for the night. One of them suggests multiple different venues, like cowboy clubs, alternative clubs, and leather clubs, and he is just changing outfits with each new suggestion, and in the end, he has to go take a shower again because the stress of changing clothes has just made him all sweaty.
And while he is in the shower, they get invited to a come as you are party, which he takes to mean fresh from the shower with merely a towel to cover his partially exposed genitalia.
Mike: Oh, to have the confidence of a young
gay guy in the eighties.
Jessika: Oh my goodness. Right. [00:47:00] Story number two was titled Scrapbook and is a young man reminiscing about his relationship with a good looking man who took to going out to the bars and was fawned over by others. He eventually left the narrator to pine over the only thing he had left of his former lover. A scrapbook.
Mike: Yeah, there was like a lot of self-loathing in that one too.
Jessika: It was sad.
he was like calling himself like ugly and stuff. I was like, no.
Mike: Yeah. And it's like very stylized images of like, kind of like, you know, ape-like features. It was, it was
Mike: it just made me sad.
Jessika: Mm-hmm. Next was networking by Lee Marrs. This story is showing the connection between different people around town, and it seems like all of the queer people seem to know each other. Surprise, surprise, or have dated each other. There's all these little connections of this person knows this person, and then these , two people were in a relationship and
Mike: I mean,
Mike: you know, it's funny cause I was reading that and I was like, that is [00:48:00] very much what the queer community was like when I was going to school in Walla Walla, Washington.
Jessika: it's still kind of that way.
Jessika: I literally had a conversation the other day where I was like, wait, who's your other partner? Oh, this person I've known forever. Yeah, that tracks perfect.
Jessika: So our next story was Ode to Phyllis Ann by Joe Sinardi. This story is told through the diary of a teenage boy who has unrequited feelings for his friend. , his friend asks out a girl he likes and encourages him to ask out a girl who likes him. He does ask her out, but clearly does not like her back in that way, and internally decides that he is not going to ask her out another time his friend doesn't like, does not get any of this obviously, and encourages him to call once again and call me when you hang out with her again kind of a thing and report back and he just goes to sleep thinking about his friend.
Mike: yeah. That was, [00:49:00] uh, that was also kind of tragic, but you know, it was also very, you know, it was a very real story. Like I
Jessika: there were some really tragic
ones. So our next story was Walls by Rick Campbell. This is the story of a young man who had always been interested in other men, but he had built, you know, internal walls to insulate himself from the small town that was not accepting of who he was. And in college, he finally gets up the courage to break down his walls after he meets another guy in his classes and becomes interested in him.
Jessika: Our next story is called A Word from our sponsor by j Ivanovic and Bird. And this is shown as a TV ad about a product called De-Dyke, which promises to be able to remove the queer from your surroundings, goddess poster spray on the De-dyke. And you'll see a hetero couple instead. The same went for book [00:50:00] titles and quote unquote offensive lesbian art, which was just like the female body,
Mike: Yeah, it was great. I, I actually laughed. I cackled a little bit when I was reading that.
Jessika: I did too. I did too. So our next story was called Murphy's Manor by Kurt Erickson. And these were excerpts from the syndicated comic strip. So each line was a different comic strip dealing with different topics like STIs, being in groups for protection when going to public places.
And one about a man confessing his love for the man at his dinner table, only to have the man state that , if he loved him that much, he could pay the bill
Mike: Which, I mean,
Jessika: I am a little obsessed with Disney these days. If somebody wanted to just like pay for me to go to Disney all the time, that'd be fine.
That's all I'm saying. Just
Mike: pr, I'm pretty sure Sarah would let me do that. I like, you know, , every now and then we have that discussion where it's like, no, if someone wants to pay off the house for you to sleep with them, you get that money.
Jessika: [00:51:00] right? Justin? It Our next story is titled Safe Sex by Howard Cruse, and it shows images of the fear people have of age, kind of pictured also they called it the Kiss of Death in that which was, you know, telling, uh, very topical and speculating how different folks' reactions would be if the AIDS virus were caused by Bibles, which I thought was a funny take.
Jessika: And it also shows society spiraling in its hate against the community as a result of the misinformation about the disease.
Mike: Do you remember kind of just what it was like during that era when there was just so much misinformation going on about AIDS and H I V?
Jessika: You know, I was a little too young.
I was a little bit too young. I mean, I did, I caught the tail end of it, like in the very early nineties. But it was, it was getting better at that point in time, and I, it wasn't as stigmatized,
Mike: Yeah. so I was there in the early [00:52:00] nineties in San Francisco, and so it was just, it was kind of like part of the news cycle there.
Mike: it was very interesting, , to sit there and be like a nine year old who was aware of this, this disease that is, you know, decimating a community.
Even though I'm like, well, I don't think I'm at risk for it because I went to really good schools. And so they were like, yeah, like they talked about, how you could get it. And then actually comic books at that point in time started doing like full page in-house ads where they, they actually had characters talking about the disease and like how you could get it from a blood transfer, things like that.
There was an incredible Hulk issue where a character had gotten it from a blood transfusion and it was like this whole single story. It was, you know, I don't know. So
anyway, sorry. It just kind of made me
Jessika: Yeah, no, yeah, for sure, for sure. So our next story was etiquette. By Jennifer Camper and it's about a woman who is bringing her female partner home for the first time. The partner advises her to [00:53:00] let her handle it as she's an old hand at introducing herself to parents and then proceeds to tell the middle-aged couple that she's their daughter's current fuck.
To which the dad asks his wife to call the police.
Mike: I read that and first of all I cackled and then I was just like, no notes
Jessika: did too,
Mike: a plus work there.
Jessika: Oh my gosh. That's the kind of way that I like to like come out to my parents about stuff. I just like dry. Just like drop it. Because here's the thing, like I've already, like if I'm saying something about this, like I've already reckoned with this fact, like I've already processed this.
Like the only reason you are hearing about it is because it's been fully processed.
Like, I don't need your processing. I'm gonna drop it on you. You could deal with that shit and like close the door, deal with your shit like.
Mike: man, I remember I was dating a dude in college and I stayed at his house one night cuz he picked me up from the airport after a holiday and his folks weren't home. But then met them the next day when they [00:54:00] came home from like a camping trip , it just felt weird cuz like I couldn't sit there and say who I was because they were like pretty uptight and like conservative.
Mike: Yeah. It was weird.
Jessika: God, man.
Mike: Yeah. Yeah, it was, uh, oh man. Anyway, sorry
Jessika: so no, you're fine. So our next story is called Stan Stone, the little writer that nobody loves. This is about a man named Stan. Surprising, uh, who ventures out to the Castro to find a good time. And he goes to use the urinal, but gets beamed into an alien spaceship in the midst of this activity, uh, which he ends up peeing on some of this stuff and it like ends up shorting something, which is really funny too, cause he's literally midstream
and the ship is full of men within 10 a and aliens we assume who want to keep him as their pet, but then name him [00:55:00] their king when they mistakenly think that he's killed their current monarch because of the whole peeing on things and blowing things up accidentally.
So then Ronald Reagan shoots them down at the behest of screaming Nancy. That
was pretty funny and that was very enjoyable for me. And Stan swims away while the aliens come across the gay beach. So the next time Stan wanders out, he's surrounded by the new fad of men in the castor wearing antennae like his prior captors. And by the way, the captors think that he is like, I don't know if he went into the wrong bathroom or what, because they think that he is a dyke and they
Mike: Yeah. Yep.
Jessika: so, you know, that was a little that
that happened. So next up is called The Unicorn Tapestry by Roberta Gregory. This is [00:56:00] a trans story about a woman coming to terms with her identity after being mocked and almost succeeding and ending her own life.
Uh, a woman works to better understand and be herself in the world
Jessika: Yeah. Story number 12. Next up, Billie by Jim Yost. This is about an androgynous gay man who is both reveling in and cursing his identity as himself, having found community only to be beaten up for being himself by two members of his same community as he's having this thought.
Mike: Yeah, they're kind of like leather daddies and they're just like, oh, whatever. You know? Uh, they, I can't remember the name that they use, but it's, you know,
it, it's one of
Mike: it, yeah.
Jessika: you know,
Mike: I, you know, it's funny cuz like, I was sitting there and I was like, oh yeah, that's kind of relatable because I don't, I don't know like what your experience has been and have been in the community, but like, I have definitely [00:57:00] gotten a lot of shit for being bi because,
Jessika: Oh yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. Like you always have to watch it. Like when I was doing online dating and I, I would like look at, you know, women's profiles or non-binary people's profiles. Even sometimes it was
like they didn't wanna date people who were bi, they would say like, no buys. Or like, literally sometimes they would
say, no buys in the, Ugh.
Gross, gross. I was
Jessika: be with you anyway.
Mike: I. I remember I had like a, like, so the weird thing is like in the area that I live in, it's like, and it's the same with where you are, it gets rural real fast. And so it's like, oh, right. Like, yes, I am in the queer friendly Bay area, but at the same time, not everybody thinks the way that we do.
And I got hit on by like a couple of dudes who realized I was bi and they got real hostile, like kind of like angry and I didn't understand it. And yeah it's always a little bit [00:58:00] disheartening and it's one of
those things that has kept me from fully feeling like I'm a part of the community at times.
Jessika: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, especially cause I'm very much like a very fem presenting non-binary person and a very fem presenting queer person in general. So it's like I, I'm very straight passing.
Mike: Oh, and then, yeah, like, I mean, I am extremely
Mike: Sarah is extremely straight passing, you know, especially because like we have kids and we literally live in a house with a white fence like
Jessika: Yeah, you look like the picture of the Heteros.
You look like them. Yeah.
Mike: and then you realize that we're a couple of queer weirdos.
Jessika: Yep, yep. That's true. Wouldn't have it any other way, friend.
Mike: Yeah, likewise.
Jessika: So our next story is called The Last Time I Fell In Love by Patrick Marcel. And this is a page long comic about a [00:59:00] man meeting another man on the train. They talk, they have a bunch of interests, but the man zips off after a woman showing that they had less in common than the first man had hoped.
Mike: Yeah, it was, it was actually pretty cute.
Mike: And that one was like the, the back cover, like comic too. And it was in full color. It was really cute. I liked it.
Jessika: yeah. All right. And that was it for. That issue,
that was number four
and number 22, hopping up to the one that I actually had in person,
Mike: Yeah, I remember, uh, we posted about this last year when I was posting a bunch of queer content from Comics on our, on our socials. It was, uh,
Jessika: So we did,
Jessika: yeah. All right. So number 22. This issue was published in 1993 and focuses on the furry community. So all of the stories are in that same spirit. So while I myself, am not [01:00:00] part of that particular community, I think it's really important to recognize those members of our community and their shared identity.
So I think
Jessika: that they did a whole issue focusing on this part.
Mike: I'm not a furry, that has never been my thing, but I have a few friends who are, and it's, um, you know, it makes me sad, kind of how they are often mocked by people that aren't a part of that community.
Mike: I was actually really pleasantly surprised to see this issue.
Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, me too. I'm glad it was the one I picked up.
Jessika: So our first story is titled Omaha and it's our, our cover story. It's where our cover is taken from, and it's by Reed Walker and Kate Worley. And this story is focused on two anthropomorphized dogs who agree to , meet up to go dancing. But one of them is super nervous, as he has never quite gotten the hang of dancing and is afraid of embarrassing himself in front of his date.
So they end up [01:01:00] going, he's able to learn and do the moves to the line dances that they were doing. And while he wasn't perfect, they both still had a great time. And they agreed to go out again.
So our next story was titled Toaster, A Story of Unplanned Parenthood by Leanne Fransen. And this was the story of a lesbian cat just trying to provide for her adopted litter after they're abandoned by a breeder. One of the kittens was cold to the touch and presumed dead, but she held the kitten in a towel over the toaster, and he miraculously warmed up and was able to recover, animating seemingly back to life, which, oh my God, I almost cried in honor of this.
She named the kitten Toaster.
Jessika: I'm not crying. You are.
Jessika: it was very wholesome. Our next story was titled, Swishy Fishy Rave and Return by Michael Goldberg and the Fish Police show up.
Mike: Uh, [01:02:00] I don't know, man, like, okay.
Jessika: So when previous episodes collide, I did a whole episode about the fish police in episode 47. I went and checked back at the beginning of December last year.
that was uh, that was a fun episode.
Jessika: it was, if you wanna hear more fish tastic action, go check out that episode. So anyway, back to the story where Swishy fishy goes with his friend Timmy Tuna.
For a night on the town, Timmy Tuna, they go to a rave where they take illicit drugs, illegal drugs, and are busted by none other than the motherfucking fish police. Uh, the two friends end up hiding from the police and the next day notice that the club is no longer in business. Womp Womp.
Jessika: All right. Our next story was titled Fear of a Dino Nation, or Why The Dinosaurs Became Extinct by JD March. [01:03:00] So this comic shows a two page spread of dinosaurs with just incredibly bad takes. We're talking like all of the phobias, like biphobia, internalized transphobia and homophobia, fad phobia.
They were a fucking mess. And honestly, if Dinos be acting like that, good riddens and happy extinction.
Mike: it's like this seems like a self solving problem. I don't know.
Jessika: Really, truly. So our next story was called Portland Bird Jay's in the military by Von Frick and discusses the don't hatch, don't shell rules in the bird army. That's all you need to know about that.
Mike: No notes.
Jessika: Our next story is titled Hothead. Peon A Day With Chicken by Diane De Masa, and it narrates a day in the life of a lesbian's cat. That one was pretty cute. our next story is titled The Pet Shop Boys' Rent [01:04:00] by Howard Stage Room and Steven Lother. This one is a really sweet story about a guy who is reminiscing about getting picked up by a gorgeous, rich guy.
He thinks he's being picked up to do something sexual, but the rich dude just wants comfort.
So Rich Guy leaves the other guy a blank check, which he uses to open the gay bar that he now owns.
Mike: I really liked this one. It was really cute. And, and then at the very end, cuz originally he's like, well it was like, you know, it was a huge check and I thought it was a joke. And then the guy that he's telling who's his employee is like, so did you have cash? The check? He's like, yeah, the fucking course I did.
Jessika: Fucking course
Mike: buy this place?
Jessika: exactly. Love that.
Mike: It was good.
Jessika: Next up is a story called The Family Dog by Joan Hilty. This story shows the family discussing the family dog and speculating his sexual orientation. Hands down, everybody thinks that Ripley is gay. Everyone, he only likes women and gay guys. He has an active social life, quote unquote, i e. He is the bottom of the
group. And then [01:05:00] they go on to speculate further as to what he will be. Will it be a social activist? Or maybe he will go back in the closet and become a Scientologist, which lawl
Mike: I was like, okay, that's actually really funny, especially given like all the news that we've had about Scientology in the last couple of
Jessika: Ugh, yuck.
Jessika: know, gives me the big ick? Scientology.
Mike: It's up there.
Jessika: Next up, this is called Honeymoon by Kurt Erickson and is about rats, Pat and Jerry, who are out trying to revamp their relationship. They come across a stray human and decide to adopt him, calling him honeymoon as a reminder of the relationship they were trying to salvage. They get him all of the things he would need, like cable TV on, which played Rush Limbaugh but Pat seems to be a bit too enthusiastic about his new pet, however, and Jerry has to drag him off to bed for the night. Later that night, pat sneaks off and Jerry catches him, quote [01:06:00] unquote, playing with his new pet, but convinces Jerry that they could share the pet and all be one happy family.
Mike: Yeah, it's weird.
Jessika: was a little
Mike: Which also, uh, Rush Limbaugh: roast in hell.
Jessika: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
All the way down there.
Jessika: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, you've, you've bypassed the therapy levels and you're just straight into the burning side.
Jessika: So next up is called Doggy Styling by Chris Coic, and it's exactly what it sounds like. It's dogs dressed up in different styles. So one's in a bra, which of course consists of six cups. Another one is dressed in bondage, and another one has like a leather jacket and a crop, and one's dressed like a nurse. It's given like dogs go to Folsom,
Mike: Oh, totally. It very much is. It was have, have you seen the meme where it's like, which way would a dog wear pants if they had pants? And it's like,
Jessika: my [01:07:00] God. Yes. It's this, it's, it's like
the horse thing. Yeah. Ugh. Yes. I, yes I have, obviously it's just on the back half. Right.
Mike: Yes. That's, that
Jessika: Okay. I, because the bottom half does not make any sense.
Mike: Iggy has a Santa suit and it's, you know, the back half and then the jacket is on the front half. It's perfect.
Jessika: Listen, Did I buy my dog, three shirts at Disney.
Mike: I Do you need to ask, I, I know the answer.
Jessika: Yeah. One is stitch and it has the ears.
Mike: We have a lot of headwear for our dogs too.
Jessika: We like to accessorize our animals as well. So this really hit home, this whole doggy styling. All right, and then, Our penultimate story is titled Chanda the Panda, by Mike Curtis, Terry Smith and Mark Barnard. And this one took an unexpected [01:08:00] turn. It's about a couple reminiscing about how they first met, how they moved in together, and how one of them was given a leukemia Diagnosis. And as the reminiscing continues, the reader has shown that only one of these two is reminiscing in the end. And there are tears spilling from her eyes. Oh,
Jessika: Why you gotta make me cry on all these? oh my God. This one was the best one, though. The absolute best one. So the back cover was called Finicky Eaters, and it shows a family of three cats having dinner seated at a table, and they're like, shooing off a small, naked human from the table, like one would a cat.
Mike: It was good.
Jessika: So funny. All right, so Mike, a couple questions for you.
Jessika: Yeah. What, what was your favorite story?
Mike: Ooh. Okay. Um, favorite story? Uh, I love the Tale of Chee-La Sat-yah the art in it. It, it's just this really [01:09:00] beautiful pointalism that's very surreal and, and it compliments the fairytale style of the narrative. Like perfectly. It felt kind of like a gay version of an episode of the Storyteller at the Jim Henson Show from the eighties, if you ever saw that.
Mike: Yeah. I also really, really liked My Deadly Darling Dyke because it was such a weird, genuinely funny satire, riffing on like got the horror tropes.
Mike: Yeah. you?
Jessika: I really liked, , saboteur and that's the my favorite art moment too. I just thought it was really fun. The art was really cool.
It was genuinely funny,
Jessika: Yeah. Yeah, it was, I mean I also kinda resonated with it though, cause I do a lot of that in, in society. Not just like with my queerness, but like with like everything, like I'm pretty sure I'm autistic and I've just been like masking my whole damn life. Like I'm holding up a mirror to everyone
else. So it definitely felt like [01:10:00] blending in and doing the thing
Jessika: felt appropriate.
Mike: Yeah. It's a very clever story. It's uh, it's
Mike: I liked it.
Jessika: there a particular story that you resonated with most?
Mike: Ooh. Um, yeah, like I actually, I keep thinking about Billy Goes out by Howard Cruse. It, it left me with a number of questions, , mainly I wanted to know what happened to his partner. Cuz it sounds like he died when they were at a Pride parade where he's like trying to find his partner and then there's some sort of commotion up at the front.
And then after that it's like he's sitting with his friends and they're, they're like, oh, that's really fucked up that I think the guy's name is Brad, that Brad's family won't talk to you afterwards and
Mike: but, you know, it also feels like a, a very human story about how we deal with grief when a relationship ends for whatever reason.
Like, , when I got divorced, it was not my decision. and like, you know, with hindsight it was a pretty [01:11:00] emotionally verbally abusive marriage. But I was really devastated with one of my ex split, and it left me with some pretty major emotional trauma that, I definitely dealt with for a while by just kind of not really sitting down and, and, you know, trying to work through what was going on.
Instead, I was just busy doing everything, including, I just had a hookup phase where I, uh, I made some questionable choices, but, um, but I also really liked the hopeful note that it ended on.
Jessika: can see that.
Mike: I'm, so, I'm curious if, if it was a happy one or kind of a, a bittersweet sad one that resonated most with you.
Jessika: Well, yeah, I mean for me, I, Reunion was really interesting, just like
Jessika: the par, just the parallels of like realizing like, oh, oh, I don't have to be this thing that like society told me I have to be. [01:12:00] And like I didn't even realize that, like for me, I didn't realize that like I could be bisexual. I always knew that, I had feelings for guys, but I always, I had feelings for women too, but I was like, well, that's not a thing.
You can't have both. Like that's not a thing
Mike: It wasn't something that we were really raised with any cultural
Mike: like when we were kids or teenagers.
So I just assumed that everybody, like, thought all girls were pretty and stuff.
Jessika: Apparently not.
Mike: Yeah. I, I really didn't get exposed to bisexuality until I was working at Disneyland, which actually has a
Mike: queer population.
Mike: Hmm. Yeah.
Jessika: Did I buy rainbow ears at Disney? Yes.
Mike: these questions that we all know the answers to
Jessika: Just affirming my queerness, that's all.
Jessika: Like I needed to, like, I needed to. On this queer episode that we're doing currently,
Jessika: I legit, when I tell people about our podcast, I say it's [01:13:00] queer and feminist because
Mike: yeah, yeah. No, I talk about that all the time. I'm like, yeah, , I don't quite lead with that most of the time. Usually I'm like, , we just kinda look at old interesting comics and talk about the history of it. But we also examined things from a queer feminist perspective.
Jessika: Yeah. art-wise, what was your favorite comic? What did you like about it?
Mike: Yeah. You know, it's, again, going back to that Chee-La and Sat-yah, comic that I talked about a minute ago,
Mike: demeans Pointalism is really good and it's really different than anything else that appeared in the series. It is like, it's, it is genuine art in a comic book. And I really dug it and it's interesting because the main characters, when you actually see them, they're naked, they're nude. Um, which kind of gives it this like timeless quality almost.
Mike: But yeah,
Mike: I like, I am so curious as to what your favorite art moment was, because you and I always differentiate on like what the
like the big, the big art moments were.[01:14:00]
Jessika: I liked the gum shoe styling of the saboteur.
Mike: Oh, okay.
Jessika: Yeah. I liked that style. It's, I liked, it was, it was a tie, honestly, between that and the other comic the reunion, Because I like kind of the whimsical, kind of scratchy style of Roberta Gregory's, like
the way that she, she puts things on paper.
but I did really like kind of the classic clean gum shoe vibe too. So I mean,
I'm, you know, I'm a Gemini. I like all the things,
but those two really stuck out to me.
Jessika: All right, well that about ties up our main topic. What do you say we moss on over to our brain wrinkles.
Mike: Yeah, let's Sasha away.
Jessika: All right, so we have reached brain wrinkles, which is that one thing comics or comics adjacent that's just sticking in our noggins that we haven't been able to eject from our brain since the last time we spoke. So Mike, [01:15:00] what is it?
Mike: Uh, queer body types, actually. Well, body types in general. Sarah and I recently came across a video on TikTok with a journalist who was talking about how he'd been working on a feature regarding the AIDS epidemic and how that is actually what gave rise to the gay body in quotes. he was telling the story about how one of the older gay men he interviewed explained that the incredibly fit body type that's often associated with gay men can actually be like directly tied to that era, basically.
As that disease was ripping through the queer community, there wasn't any way to prove you were actually healthy. And so a sculpted body became kind of visual shorthand for indicating that you weren't sick, even if you had the virus, because it would sit dormant at you. but yeah, you know, and as a result, it's something that's become synonymous with being gay, at least in terms of societal expectations.
and I feel like society now is becoming a bit more accepting of [01:16:00] different body types in terms of media representation, but that's really only in the last decade or so, maybe. but I mean, like, you know, that also extends to comic books. Like back in the eighties and nineties you only had a couple of body types really represented in mainstream books.
And, and it's not something that, it hasn't really changed a lot with Marvel in dc although it's certainly better than it used to be. But I. I feel like other body types and queer people in general are getting more visibility via books from indie publishers. So it's just, it's been something that's been bouncing around my noggin the last couple of days because, you know, I, I struggled with body dysmorphia.
was a fat kid and then I had about a decade where I was very fit, but in hindsight, I was very fit because I was extremely calorie deficit, um, while I was doing
Mike: fucked ton of exercise.
Jessika: that sounds like me when I lost 65 pounds and I was like, I want 65. And I looked like [01:17:00] a fucking skeleton with biceps. It was a little
Mike: Yeah. And, and, and the thing is, is like I also, basically, I was reading comic books all the time, and so I was like, that was the body type that I was always exposed to.
Mike: And like, I really wanna do an episode at one point talking about superhero bodies and, and how it's possibly messed with us on a societal level.
I don't know if it'll
Mike: but it's one I keep on thinking about. But it's also a very ambitious project.
Jessika: absolutely. Yeah, I get that. But I've, I've have heard similar things from my male friends in the gay community,
you know, saying that, you know, they, there are guys who won't date guys who have any ounce of body fat on them. You
Mike: Oh yeah. Like I
Jessika: it's kind of wild. Yeah.
Mike: one of, one of the moments that is gonna live in my head rent free was a guy who got my shirt off and then completely lost interest and I was in fantastic shape. But the thing is, is that like I was not chiseled and this was when [01:18:00] I was lifting weights. This is when I was running dozens of miles a week. I was refereeing roller derby. I was very physically fit. But, you know, I've just never had a body that would be sculpted.
Jessika: It's amazing how, yeah, what I mean, I, I had a similar situation and like, you know, one of the people that I was dating when I was like probably at my most fit,
Jessika: told me that I definitely wasn't like the skinniest person he'd ever dated. And I look really nice when I'm laying
Mike: Fuck that, that dude.
Jessika: Yeah, no, a hundred percent.
When I read his, I like read his chart and like literally his chart was like, you're gonna have issues, like you have issues performing in bed. I was like, that's funny. Yeah, you do. He didn't like that feedback. I didn't give him that feedback, but I said that that's what the chart said
Mike: yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And the other thing is that like, you know, it's always easier to like sit there and be a cheerleader for other people rather than yourself. So,
Mike: [01:19:00] yeah. But yeah, so that, that was my brain wrinkle. Um, I, I'm hoping that you have a better one. Or at least a more uplifting one. You don't have, you don't have enough, more uplifting one that look on your face.
Jessika: I do not, I, I, I don't, I don't.
Mike: All right.
Jessika: So it's pride month? Yep. It's pride month and so there is appropriately a ton of rainbow merch everywhere.
Jessika: And it's both wonderful and awful at the same time. Mostly because I have to remember that these corporations that are making all of these things really only care about equality as far as their bottom line goes.
I know how Jaden and cynical this sounds. I do, I promise, but legitimately, these companies could absolutely care less about equality itself as long as they're able to get their profit margins up.
So it really did take companies a long ass time to figure out what an untapped market the queer community is.
But now that they have our number, we can expect to be able to feel represented in capitalism [01:20:00] at least once a year. It could be worse, I guess, but it's just something that I can't help but remember as I merely consume all of the gay shit because again, don't think I'm not out here doing so. I did buy those Rainbow Mickey ears at Disney.
I'm not innocent.
the Pride jersey.
Mike: Oh, Sarah and I are going to the van store tomorrow to pick up the pride shoes.
Jessika: Oh yeah. I need a new pair of rainbow shoes. I'm also headed there.
Yes. Yep. I, my dog and I now have a matching, pride. Rainbow Jersey.
Jessika: Yep, we do.
Mike: Nice. I love it. No notes. Yeah. I mean,
like, it'd be nice if we had that representation the other 11 months of the year.
Jessika: It would be real cool.
Mike: queer merchandise available whenever I fucking want it, as opposed to just June.
Jessika: It would also be really cool if the other state that contains a Disney Park weren't a complete hell hole [01:21:00] trash fire of a
Mike: Oh man.
Jessika: for any queer person to be.
Mike: Okay, but can we talk about the fact that like, Disney has taken Ron DeSantis
to the fucking, like, oh, it's, it's like I, oh, that dude is such a doofus. Like
Jessika: beat that guy out like a bad rug, like, honestly.
Mike: like, it's so wild to me because Florida has a large queer population and,
Mike: and they fucking reelected him. like he was very blatant telling them about what he was and what he was gonna do, and they elected him by a landslide.
And it's just wild to me. But I mean, on the other hand, Disney, I remember Sarah actually interviewed with Disney for a job and they were like, well, you know, we're relocating to Florida soon and blah, blah blah. And I'm like, well that's not great. And now Disney is like, nah, that's not happening. I'm like,
Jessika: right. Exactly.
Jessika: You done fucked yourself over there, Ron?
Mike: Yeah. Um, it sucks. Um, I, I don't know. It's, [01:22:00] it's weird to be recording a Pride episode when it feels like our community is under siege.
Jessika: Oh yeah. Absolutely.
Mike: very strange.
Jessika: more so than ever,
Mike: this year has been weird. I don't understand how this all got started, but suddenly they are just really going after the queer community from all fronts. Um,
Mike: that they're really focusing on trans people right now, but it is, it is just bizarre.
Jessika: yeah. But hey, just remember that if you choose not to let people have gender affirming care, you're choosing not to let people have gender affirming
care. And I'd like to remind you that gender affirming care can look like a woman getting a boob job because
she doesn't like the size of her boobs because she has dysmorphia about the size of them. A straight cis woman, or you know, somebody who's getting a nose job because they
don't like the,
that's, yeah. That is also gender affirming care.
Mike: I do take solace in the knowledge that [01:23:00] our listeners are, are, are either part of the community or they're allies. So that's always nice to know. But,
Jessika: they would've been long gone by. Now,
Mike: I was gonna say, like, I, I don't know, I, I keep on waiting for
Jessika: is your first episode, welcome.
Jessika: picked the gay one.
Mike: I mean, like, pretty much every one of our episodes is a gay
Mike: it, it sneaks in there.
Jessika: It sneaks stomps.
Mike: I just, I remember Lance from Comic Bookkeepers being like, I want a dollar bin discovery where you talk about straight superheroes wearing gay costumes. And I was like, oh, son of a bitch. I was like,
Jessika: Son of a bitch. I'm in.
Mike: yeah. So, uh, get ready for that one at some point.
Jessika: Well, that is it for this week. We will have an additional dollar bin discovery next week, and then the week after, We'll be coming at you with another full length episode about,
Mike: I dunno.
Jessika: do we have a, [01:24:00] well, we don't know yet.
Mike: No, we're so, like we are coming back, uh, after taking a month off, we had built up a buffer and then we just took a break. I don't know, cuz it's gonna be one of my episodes, so I need to figure
Jessika: it is.
Mike: I guess I need to write the script for that.
Jessika: Mike, you're starting to sound like me.
Mike: It'll just, uh, God, it'll just be us watching Drag Race or something. I don't know.
Jessika: Our fans are like, oh, no,
Mike: No, we're not gonna do that. It's fine.
Jessika: no, no, no.
Mike: yeah, I don't know. We'll figure it out. It'll happen. It'll be great.
Jessika: Well, I'll tell you what everyone, until then, we'll see you in the stacks.
Mike: Thanks for listening to Tencent Takes. Accessibility is important to us, so text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website.
Jessika: This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazer and Mike Thompson, written by Jessika Frazer and edited by Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson [01:25:00] Johnson of Bay Area Sound. Our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from Premium Beat.
Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who's at Look Mom draws.com.
Mike: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions, or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to tencent takes.com or shoot an email to Tencent takes gmail.com. You can also find us on Twitter. For now, the official podcast account is Tencent, takes all one word. Jessika is Jessikawitha, and Jessika is spelled with a K, and Mike is Vansau, v A n s A U.
You can also find us on Instagram, Mastodon, Facebook, TikTok, and Blue Sky. A full list of our socials will be listed in the show notes.
Jessika: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen
Mike: Stay safe out there.
Jessika: and support your local comic shop