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No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer…

No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics (2012)

by Justin Hall (Editor)

Other authors: Tim Barela (Contributor), Alison Bechdel (Contributor), Craig Bostick (Contributor), Tom Bouden (Contributor), Paige Braddock (Contributor)79 more, Tony Breed (Contributor), Jennifer Camper (Contributor), Chino (Contributor), Burton Clarke (Contributor), Jamie Cortez (Contributor), Tristan Crane (Contributor), Howard Cruse (Contributor), Diane DiMassa (Contributor), Donelan (Contributor), Kris Dresen (Contributor), Dylan Edwards (Contributor), Kurt Erichsen (Contributor), Sina Evil (Contributor), Leslie Ewing (Contributor), Michael Fahy (Contributor), Edie Fake (Contributor), Joyce Farmer (Contributor), Richard Fiala (Contributor), Tim Fish (Contributor), Ellen Forney (Contributor), Isabel Franc (Contributor), Leanne Franson (Contributor), Carl Vaughn Frick (Contributor), Roberta Gregory (Contributor), Michelle Gruben (Contributor), Justin Hall (Contributor), Glen Hanson (Contributor), Andy Hartzell (Contributor), Joan Hilty (Contributor), Victor Hodge (Contributor), Joe Johnson (Contributor), Gina Kamentsky (Contributor), Ralf König (Contributor), David Kelly (Contributor), Rupert Kinnard (Contributor), Robert Kirby (Contributor), Jeff Krell (Contributor), Ed Luce (Contributor), Steve MacIsaac (Contributor), Jon Macy (Contributor), MariNaomi (Contributor), Lee Marrs (Contributor), Susana Martín (Contributor), Chuck McKinney (Contributor), Carrie McNinch (Contributor), Jerry Mills (Contributor), Erika Moen (Contributor), Annie Murphy (Contributor), Mysh (Contributor), Ted Naifeh (Contributor), Andrea Natalie (Contributor), Nazario (Contributor), Fabrice Neaud (Contributor), Allan Neuwirth (Contributor), Eric Orner (Contributor), Charles Ortlieb (Contributor), François Peneaud (Contributor), Trina Robbins (Contributor), James Romberger (Contributor), Roxxie (Contributor), Dan Savage (Contributor), Joey Alison Sayers (Contributor), Ariel Schrag (Contributor), D. Travers Scott (Contributor), Kevin Seccia (Contributor), Eric Shanower (Contributor), Shawn (Contributor), David Shenton (Contributor), BiL Sherman (Contributor), Christine Smith (Contributor), Robert Triptow (Contributor), Marguerite Van Cook (Contributor), Ivan Velez, Jr. (Contributor), Maurice Vellekoop (Contributor), Mary Wings (Contributor), Matt Wobensmith (Contributor), David Wojnarowicz (Contributor), Rick Worley (Contributor), Roger Zanni (Contributor)

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With announcements coming from big companies like DC and Marvel that they will feature prominent gay stories featured in important books like the gay marriage in Astonishing X-Men 51 it feels like a ripe time to have a collection of comics with a queer focus that paved the way for this. That is what this collection does. While it is obviously not an exhaustive list of the possible queer comics you could pick up that helped make current queer comics possible it is a good starting point. "No Straight Lines" collects shorter works instead of trying to place longer ones like "Stuck Rubber Baby" by Howard Cruse in its pages. In this collection this feels like the right choice because you get exposed to a wider variety of creators as a direct result of Hall's choice.

There is a nice mixture of content here, as well. There are some stories that are heavily sexual in nature, while others are just about the ordinary life of a queer individual. It is nice to see this contrast because as a community we are very much like this. No one size fits all. We are a wide variety of individuals trying to live our best lives and this books showcases multiple facets of our queer identity. It will be easy to find yourself somewhere contained within the pages.

As an individual that does not usually want to read sex in my comics (no I am not a prude just have a preference of where I want my smut hehe) I was shocked by how refreshing I felt the sex was dealt with here Yes, there are some graphic scenes of nudity and sex, but it feels right because any member of the queer community can see the truth in what was projected by these various creators. The sexual aspect doesn't take away from the story or dumb them down. In many cases it makes them seem more intelligent about who their audience was at the time they were created. Also the sex keeps them current, since sex will never go out of style.

If you are looking for something outside of your reading comfort this would be an excellent choice, especially if you love comic books. This book shows you that history of a community and how it got to the place where it is now. It is important, in my opinion, to have collections like this so we can recognize that comics did not always allow for the queer community to play in the same sandbox and a result people took to publishing their own stories about themselves. It is in those stories that one finds themselves reflected back not in mainstream books that feel they have to be PG for the wider audience. PG is okay to have (sex does not have to always happen in a Queer book), but the PG must be the choice of the creator of the book and serve the greater purpose. Queer comics sure has come a long way from the days of underground books published in basements and we are still only now coming out into the light. I hope we stay there and make some great comics for the next 40 years that will show how we came together as a community to show our real lives. ( )
  SoulFlower1981 | Jan 20, 2016 |
Rating: 3* of five

The Publisher Says: No Straight Lines showcases major names such as Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, and Ralf Koenig (one of Europe's most popular cartoonists), as well as high-profile, crossover 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. 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. 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 has been heralded by people interested in comics history, and people invested in LGBT culture will embrace it as a unique and invaluable collection.

My Review: I don't like comics, comix, graphic novels, or whatever the hell you call them. It's too much work for too little story to my text-adapted eyes. But, in a quest not to ossify into one of Those People, I continue to expose myself to stuff I hate to see if I hate it, or merely don't understand it.

Nope. Hate it.

At least there were no superheroes. Those just grate on my last nerve with a fine-toothed wood rasp.

So why three stars in the ratings, since I hate the damn stuff? Because this is My People talking! I would give an identical collection featuring straight people doing straight people stuff *pause for bad memories to pass* negative stars.

As an aside to the squeamishly homophobic (read: normal heterosexual male), the amount of gay-male sex in here will make you *intensely* uncomfortable, but there's a goodly dose of lesbian sex to make it better.

As this is a history of LGBTQ subjects treated graphically, it is very very interesting when considered in that light, and shows the increasing sophistication of the audience as material becomes available in greater quantity. The subject matter is, well, pretty much what you'd expect it to be, and pretty much what all fiction is about: Ourselves.

At $35, it's a big investment that I don't see making if you're not GLBTQ or very interested in the history of social-issue artistry.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. ( )
  richardderus | Sep 17, 2013 |
I don’t think there could possibly be a faster or more entertaining way to learn the rapidly-changing history of queer culture and politics (in America and Europe anyway) than to flip through this fantastic anthology. It’s funny, angry, smart, raunchy, tragic, and hopeful, sometimes all on the same page. Keep a pencil handy to mark down the names of all the fantastic contributors you’ll want to look up later. ( )
  circumspice | Jun 12, 2013 |
I was just completely won over by this collection. ( )
  usefuljack | May 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hall, JustinEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barela, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bechdel, AlisonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bostick, CraigContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bouden, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Braddock, PaigeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Breed, TonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Camper, JenniferContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
ChinoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clarke, BurtonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cortez, JamieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crane, TristanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cruse, HowardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DiMassa, DianeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
DonelanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dresen, KrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edwards, DylanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Erichsen, KurtContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evil, SinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ewing, LeslieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fahy, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fake, EdieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Farmer, JoyceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fiala, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fish, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forney, EllenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franc, IsabelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franson, LeanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frick, Carl VaughnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gregory, RobertaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gruben, MichelleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hall, JustinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hanson, GlenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hartzell, AndyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hilty, JoanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hodge, VictorContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Johnson, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kamentsky, GinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
König, RalfContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kelly, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kinnard, RupertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kirby, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krell, JeffContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Luce, EdContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MacIsaac, SteveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Macy, JonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MariNaomiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marrs, LeeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martín, SusanaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKinney, ChuckContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McNinch, CarrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mills, JerryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moen, ErikaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Murphy, AnnieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
MyshContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Naifeh, TedContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Natalie, AndreaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
NazarioContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neaud, FabriceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neuwirth, AllanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orner, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ortlieb, CharlesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peneaud, FrançoisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robbins, TrinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Romberger, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
RoxxieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Savage, DanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sayers, Joey AlisonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schrag, ArielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scott, D. TraversContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Seccia, KevinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shanower, EricContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
ShawnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shenton, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sherman, BiLContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, ChristineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Triptow, RobertContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Cook, MargueriteContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Velez, Ivan, Jr.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vellekoop, MauriceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wings, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wobensmith, MattContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wojnarowicz, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Worley, RickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zanni, RogerContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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A collection of underground comics created over the past forty years that feature gay men and lesbians and deal with issues of importance to the gay and lesbian community, including stories by Alison Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Ralf König, and David Wojnaraowicz.… (more)

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