By Joe Palmer
Fifteen years is a long time and that’s how long ago that events leading up to what would coalesce into Gay League occurred. Well, fifteen years and a two and a half weeks as far as can be told. That I’m bad marking anniversaries should be obvious. The date of the first rescued post on DC’s original message board forums run back in the day by AOL is dated April 11th, 1997 but it alludes to previous posts that are gone.
A lot has happened in these fifteen years…to the world of comics, the inclusion and representation of LGBT themes and characters, creators working openly in mainstream comics and committing their own visions to paper and webcomics, the creation and growth of Prism along with an increase of visibility at cons, Bent Con as the only LGBT comics convention, the sheer number of LGBT comics sites and queer comics Facebook users, and Archie Comics — freakin’ Archie Comics having the wildly popular and successful teenaged Kevin Keller and the company standing up to the self-righteous indignation of “One Million Moms”…All of it amazes me every day still. You see, I’m the oldest of four kids, and like you, my family was really messed up and we were semi nomadic in our houses that centered mostly in two small towns near where my parents’ families lived. I grew up in the 60s and 70s and as I gradually came to terms with being gay it didn’t occur to me that comics could tell stories about LGBT characters or that comics would even appeal to other LGBT people. Those beliefs changed first when I came across a copy of Howard Cruse’s Gay Comix #1 on my way home from work (having moved to Chicago that summer) and learning that a friend of a friend was a Marvel zombie. Our personality clashes killed the possibility of a friendship though. Trust me, it wasn’t a “DC vs Marvel” problem. Years and years went by and then one day in 1996 I read Phil Jimenez’s tribute to Neal Pozner and I cried more times than I remember because my own life had just gone right to the brink of hell. Yes, I can be a drama queen, but not about that. While still piecing my life together I took a chance the following summer and reached out to one of those Queen Team posters, Insect Queen, aka BiggerScot, aka the Mad Scientist, otherwise known as Scott Anderson. I’m glad I did.
That fledgling email group thatw as created out of frustration with the DC message boards happened because of ideas, both singular and communal, that came after Ulu Vakk, one of those early posters, was inspired by Andy Mangels’ Gays In Comics panel that summer. Anton Kawasaki nurtured and grew it, and thankfully, he never listened to me or any of the other nay sayers back then who were afraid making our group public would invite bashers and bigots. The website was also Anton’s idea, along with Drew Moore.
Now let me clarify that in way with what I’ve written here am I trying to take credit for any kind of influence on comics or fandom. I’m simply glad that the 12 year old kid in me is ecstatic that the much older adult me is involved in comics in a way that couldn’t have been imagined!
There will be a number of prize giveaways to commemorate Gayleague’s fifteenth anniversary. As of now there isn’t a set schedule, but they’ll be announced so please be sure to visit often or use your RSS reader to subscribe to our feed.
The first giveaway is a copy of the Batwoman Elegy trade by Greg Rucka and J H Williams III. The trade collects Detective #854 – 860. Quoting DC: ” Batwoman battles a madwoman known only as Alice, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, who sees her life as a fairy tale and everyone around her as expendable! Batwoman must stop Alice from unleashing a toxic death cloud over all of Gotham City — but Alice has more up her sleeve than just poison, and Batwoman’s life will never ever be the same.”
To enter all you have to do is leave a comment here. You could mention what comics mean to you, your favorite (LGBT) character, comic, or creator, a suggestion for site, etc. Yes, you will have to take a couple moments to register and I apologize for the inconvenience. Post your comment before Friday, May 4th 11:00 PM Eastern. You’ll be contacted and asked for your name and mailing address. Please reply within 72 hours of being contacted or another name will be chosen. And because I’ve had mixed experiences mailing outside of the US, this contest is limited to US residents. This may change with future giveaways.
Thanks for reading, happy comics, and good luck!