No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics

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Collecting the world's greatest LGBT comics under one cover.Queer cartooning encompasses some of the best and most interesting comics of the last four decades, with creators tackling complex issues of identity and a changing society with intelligence, humor, and imagination. This book celebrates this vibrant artistic underground by gathering together a collection of excellent stories that can be enjoyed by all.No Straight Lines showcases major names such as Alison Bechdel (whose book Fun Home was named Time ...

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Overview

Collecting the world's greatest LGBT comics under one cover.Queer cartooning encompasses some of the best and most interesting comics of the last four decades, with creators tackling complex issues of identity and a changing society with intelligence, humor, and imagination. This book celebrates this vibrant artistic underground by gathering together a collection of excellent stories that can be enjoyed by all.No Straight Lines showcases major names such as Alison Bechdel (whose book Fun Home was named Time Magazine’s 2006 Book of the Year), Howard Cruse (whose groundbreaking Stuck Rubber Baby is now back in print), and Ralf Koenig (one of Europe’s most popular cartoonists), as well as high-profile, cross-over creators who have dabbled in LGBT cartooning, like legendary NYC artist David Wojnarowicz and media darling and advice columnist Dan Savage. No Straight Lines also spotlights many talented creators who never made it out of the queer comics ghetto, but produced amazing work that deserves wider attention.Until recently, queer cartooning existed in a parallel universe to the rest of comics, appearing only in gay newspapers and gay bookstores and not in comic book stores, mainstream bookstores or newspapers. The insular nature of the world of queer cartooning, however, created a fascinating artistic scene. LGBT comics have been an uncensored, internal conversation within the queer community, and thus provide a unique window into the hopes, fears, and fantasies of queer people for the last four decades.These comics have forged their aesthetics from the influences of underground comix, gay erotic art, punk zines, and the biting commentaries of drag queens, bull dykes, and other marginalized queers. They have analyzed their own communities, and their relationship with the broader society. They are smart, funny, and profound. No Straight Lines will be heralded by people interested in comics history, and people invested in LGBT culture will embrace it as a unique and invaluable collection.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
…offers an impressively diverse sample of…funny, fractious, occasionally outrageous comics…with No Straight Lines [Hall] has produced a useful, combative and frequently moving chronicle of a culture in perpetual transition; to read it is to watch as an insular demimonde transforms itself, in painful fits and joyful starts, and steps out into a wider monde.
—Glen Weldon
Publishers Weekly
The challenge for any editor compiling an anthology of representative works from queer comics over a 40-year period rests on deciding who the volume is aimed at—the LGBT audience or a much wider one? Editor Hall guns for the latter, but without softening the edges that define the genre, and he’s quite successful. The majority of the works are autobiographical and lean toward humor, though serious topics are addressed—AIDS, coming-out trauma, discrimination—it’s all in here, as well as some cultural info less known outside the gay community, like Robert Kirby and D. Travis Scott’s explanation of the codes and etiquette for sex cruising at a porn shop. Among the stand-outs are Mary Wings’s tale of a lesbian in the 1920s; Howard Cruse’s story about a young gay man remembering the homophobia of his recently deceased uncle; Eric Orner’s memoir of a night in Tel Aviv; Dan Savage’s remembrance of his first time in drag as a child; and Eric Shanower’s eerie fable of teenage experimentation. All of these hit on concerns and experiences that cut to the heart of the human soul, not just the gay one. The section of Allison Bechdel’s work presents the standard for queer comics nowadays, offering humor and observations that draw an outside audience right into the culture. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606995068
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
  • Publication date: 8/6/2012
  • Pages: 314
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Justin Hall is an award-winning cartoonist and sits on the board of Prism Comics, a non-profit supporting LGBT comics. He teaches comics at the California College of Art.

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