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Queen Team: The Early Days Of Gay League

Twenty five years ago a small group of comic nerds were posting back and forth on DC Comics’ original message boards that were hosted by AOL in the late 1990s. These nerds were different from the overwhelming majority of nerds posting. Their posts were campy and irreverant in tone, and followed a theme. This small group of men were on the boards to celebrate not just being comic nerds, but also being gay comic nerds and they didn’t care who knew! It won’t come as a surprise to know cishet men had problems with the “Queen Team” posters as they came to call themselves. Flame wars happened, posts were deleted by the admins and the Queen Team persisted and grew from half a dozen to two dozen in several months. Two dozen queer nerds doesn’t sound like much at all today but back in the summer of 1997 when I stumbled across Queen Team posts in the Legion board I thought I was the luckiest person alive! Up to that point I’d met only one other gay comics nerd and we didn’t have much in common when it came to comics because Kevin read only Marvel and I read mostly DC. Stumbling across Queen Team posts back in the long ago days of Internet dialup came at a time when I was trying to put my life back together in the wake of a still fresh new reality thanks to an overwhelming medical diagnosis. But I digress.

The 1997 San Diego Comic Con took place from August 17th – 20th. One of the original members attended Andy Mangels’ Gays In Comics panel and was inspired to come up with a way to bring queer nerds together and our first incredibly informal email list was created shortly afterward. Memory fails on how exactly we decided to start calling ourselves the GayOLeague but I recall we thought it was a bit of a clever riff on Justice League of America. The name morphed to Gay League of America and then simply Gay League when nerds from the UK and Canada joined. Unfortunately we also weren’t very forward thinking with the name choice.

As more new people wanted to join us it became clear we needed a better method of communicating and so Anton Kawasaki took the initiative to create Gay League’s first official email list which eventually came to hosted on Yahoo in its long gone glory days. Kawasaki also had the transformative idea to create the first of its kind dedicated site for queer comics nerds that was hosted on AOL using its “Members” feature. It was an exciting time but the limitations hit fast and hard and by September, 1998 we were already planning to debut a new site on the Internet for all the world to see!

And here we are a quarter of a century later starting off the celebratory occasion with sharing the earliest Queen Team posts (which appeared here first) we have records of as transcribed from the original DC message boards! From the first message it’s easy to tell these comic fans had already been talking back and forth. Sadly, those messages weren’t saved.

Many thanks and a debt of gratitude to the two Scotts, Rocky, Mike, and Thomas for your camp and wit and standing proud!

A big thank you to Sarah Frank for her super fun Queen Team art featured above! More of Frank’s work can be seen at LookMomDraws!

THE QUEEN TEAM MESSAGE BOARD POSTS

4-11-97
from: Biggerscot

OK, what’s going on here? First Pluto accuses me of begging for queens. Then I accuse Mike of being Saturn Queen and seems to have taken that as his screen name. Hey, that gives me an idea! Let’s team up! I’ll be Insect Queen (my favorite), Pluto can be Calorie Queen(I know you don’t want to be a queen, Pluto, but at least you’re the strong one), and Saturn Queen can be Quantum Queen. No, wait, even better: Saturn Queen can be Saturn Queen. Instead of a Legion stripe down the middle, we could all have tiaras. And what a diverse set of powers! And think of the personalities!

Saturn Queen, the sassy one. “Give it up, Mordru! How do expect to conquer the universe when you can’t even conquer your hair!”

Calorie Queen, the strong,silent type. In thought balloon, “I wish I could say something hip like Saturn Queen, but mother said I should never talk with my mouth full.” (chomp chomp!)

Insect Queen, the comic relief. “Wait up, girls, I still have 4 more pumps to put on and my tiara is caught in my antenna! Now everything smells….. SPARKLY!!!”

I’ve plotted an issue already! The girls battle an arch-enemy.

CQ: Look out, girls! It’s that bossy Emerald Empress!
IQ: Being a Queen isn’t good enough for her!
SQ: Insect Queen, you attack her phsically and I’ll attack her mentally! Calorie Queen, you know what to do!

WHILE SQ STRIKES HER ACTION POSE 9 AND FIRES A PSIONIC BLAST- AND IQ DISTRACTS THE EMPRESS, CALORIE QUEEN LEAPS INTO THE AIR AND EATS THE EYE. (WHY DIDN’T TENZIL EVER THINK OF THAT?)

CQ: That’s one less accessory you’ll need to worry about matching. (burp) Now surrender, or I’ll start snacking on that fabulous cape!
SQ: Wait, Calorie Queen, I sense that she’s returned to normal.
VI: You Queens saved me from the influence of the Eye, but what will I do now? I can’t go back to the Legion after…..
SQ: You can join the Queen Team with us. You can change your name to Tiny Queeny and come back to us to our Pleasue Palace. It’s much better than that stuffy old Legion hq.
IQ: Right. We have a glitter ball
CQ: And a gym.
VI,SQ, and IQ together: She’s so butch!

EVERYONE LAUGHS AND WE FADE TO THE LETTER PAGE…..

Dear Queen Team,
I’ve been looking everywhere for the Brainwave Barbie/Saturn Queen doll, but all I can find are those icky Bismoll Barbie/Calorie Queen dolls and tons of those nasty Buggy Barbie/Insect Queen dolls. What’s up?

It’s true, we underestimated how popular Saturn Queen with PSIchedelic Saturn Ring hoop skirt (batteries not included) would be. Eat and Wipe Calorie Queen, and Insect Queen Barbie with removable head and special bodies (Fleamale with bloodsucking action, Tapeworm Teen with gripping intestinal hooks, and Shemale Snail with lubricated slime trail) were bought much less. But don’t worry! A new Saturn Queen doll is coming out soon with special exploding head victim!

4-12-97
from: SPluto88

Well, I think it’s time for a membership drive…. we have Calorie Queen, Insect Queen and Saturn Queen…… (who is Quantum Queen, Scott?) any applicants? State name, power, and shoe size….. and I think Tiny Queenie should be Teenie Queenie?
IQ?
SQ?

PLUTO

4-12-97
from: Rocky69188

Disco Queen…… with mesmerizing mirror ball magic and high pitched sonic disco blasts!

4-12-97
from SaturnMike

Queens,
First we need to figure out who our mysterious benefactress is. You know, she only goes by “Queen Mother” when she sends us credits for our stunning wardrobe. From what info I’ve gathered, she may be Durlan. I sense a lot of chaos in her head….. although that could be me because of my hangover. Gotta run. Clairol Queen dyed my hair wrong, so I look like Bonnie Raitt, with white streak and all. Of course, I’ll see you at the play tonight, starring Rokk Krin, Drama Queen.

Saturn Queen

4-13-97
from: SaturnMike

Everyone to the meeting room!
AROOGA! AROOGA! AROOGA!
(we really need to ask for a new alarm system in the headquarters. Wouldn’t it be great to be summoned by a nice Donna Summer re-mix, instead of Arooga!?)

Anyway, the SP called with a case only we can solve. A tour guide named Oli Queen was kidnaped right outside our doors! Damn my new hairdo, we’ve got a kidnapper to catch! Battle cruisers, girls!

Awp! I look like hell! Who has an extra headband I can borrow?

Saturn Queen

4-13-97
from: SPluto88

So, as of now, the roster is Calorie Queen, Insect Queen, Saturn Queen, Disco Queen, (I think she can help with that Donna Summer re-mix request) Queen Mother, Quantum Queen, Teenie Queenie and Drama Queen?

PLUTO
who cannot believe he is partaking in this insanity!!!!

4-13-97
from: SaturnMike

Calorie Queen:

The roster looks good, except you forgot Clairol Queen. She divides her time between us and the Substitute Queens. Two items of business:

1-Queen Mother and Disco Queen reworked our alarm: should you hear “McCarthur’s Park”, shimmy into your battle-togs, because it means T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

2-I received a list of potential members. There’s one I urge you all to vote for, on my say so. You don’t know him, but Jan Arrah, Closet Queen, has every reason to join us. Please keep this an open vote, girls. By the way, Comet Queen broke a nail before try-outs, so we’re in a dilemma. Do we let her past round two with a yucky manicure? I sense a disaster waiting to happen….)

And before I forget, we really need a leader election set up. Remember, no cat-fighting. I must rinse out my skirt. Dripped Kono juice during the reading of our Constitution…..

Saturn Queen

4-14-97
from:Biggerscot

  1. As for Comet Queen, if that girl can’t figure out Lee Press On nails how is she going to figure out a flight ring?
  2. Do we get flight rings? Will it clash with my bio-ring? How big is the diamond? Th-th-there is a diamond….. isn’t there? Please say there’s a diamond or I’ll have to turn into Sister Stinkbug and no one will be happy.
  3. When we write the constitution, let’s be sure to leave out the clause that says members can’t be married. It would not be pretty if Queer Nation picketed our Pleasure Palace…. er….. I mean our Counter-Crime Castle. And I think everything should be pretty. Especially me. Well, when I’m not Worm Woman or Potato Bug Princess or Louse Lass or Dung Beetle Dame or….. actually, forget I mentioned that.
  4. Doesn’t Disco Queen have a twin sister with the same powers called Dancing Queen? Young and sweet? Only 17? Tambourine?
  5. Casey, my “roommate” wants to join as Speed Queen. He claims that he has powers like XS, but I strongly suspect it’s closer to XTC. Hmm. Now I think I know where all my money is going. Let me rethink that marriage clause.
  6. I would like to turn into a roach (hey, no cracks) so I can better resist Radiation Roy (or is he Radiator now?) but I can’t think of a female title that starts with “r”? What’s the feminine form of “rajah”?
  7. Surely there’s a Drag Queen out there somewhere?

Hugs and kisses,

Insect Queen (aka Damselfly Damsel, Bedbug Babe, Mther Moth, Honey Bee Honey, Mommy Daddy-Longlegs, Lady Ladybug, You Stupid Cow, Womantis, Ms. Mite…..)

4-15-97
From:Biggerscot

It looks like I’ll have to amend some of my earlier postings.

Casey tells me the new code name is Recovering Speed Queen who can still run fast, but only for 12 steps.
I’m afraid I’m past the stage where I can use Tapeworm Teen as a code name, so I’ve decided on TAPEWOrMAN.
Now on to new business. I’ve been considering my roach problem. No not that roach problem, the one about the name for my roach form. I think I’ve decided to make it a tribute to Coco Chanel,world famous perfume and jewelry designer and really classy dame. The new name is Cocoroach. (Unless someone can come up with something better.) I’m sure she’s honored. In this tradition, I’m also considering doing a tribute to our girl, The Nanny, and naming one of my forms FranTick. What do you think? I think they’d both be proud to be associated with these helpful vermin.

Further, I think it’s important that we start a school for up-and-coming queens, kind of like Legion Academy crossed with to Wong Fu. I know when I was starting out, I made all sorts of errors. The main ones were the things I kept saying like “You mean I have to barf up honey? Gross!” and “You mean the web is going to come out of my butt? Gross!” and “All those little things are my eggs? Gross!” Now I just say “Gross!” and saves me alot of time. Then there were all those plague scares I caused when I used to say things like “Let’s see you sleep off the bite of Tsetse Tootsie!” and the unfortunate choice of “If you think having your life’s blood sucked out of you is bad, wait until you’ve shivered your way into the claws of a horrible death when you feel the power of the malaria-filled bite of Miss Quito!” That was a little over the top. More like the Spectre’s style than mine.

I think I’m also getting better at the code names. I used to have such trouble coming up with a name for my black widow form. Nothing good went with widow, so I tried Venomous Virgin. I think the venomous part scared people so I stopped using it. Well, that and thanks to Mr. Henry “Let-Me-Be-Your-Drone” Pym, the name doesn’t really fit anymore. (If I ever get my hands on that cyber control helmet, we’ll be doing some pretty selective shrinking, Pym!)

Anyway, the Queen Team School of Beauty, Charm, and Crime-Busting would bring a real advancement to the world. Hmmm. Maybe busting isn’t the best choice of words.

All my love,
Insect Queen (aka Belle Weevil, Millie the Mod Pede, Bombadier Beetle Broad, Scorpion Skirt, the Wigged Earwig….)

4-16-97
from:SaturnMike

Fellow Queens:

Sorry I was away for a day or two, but I was accepting the most FABULOUS award for our trophy room on Planet Yxklipkwu XII (who NAMES these planets anyway?!? Can’t we stick with easy ones like Mars and Earth? I have trouble with the long names, like Matter-Eater Lad–he’s a mouthful. Don’t even go there.) Anyway, it’s the cutest hair dryer/mission leader selector. You sit under, get blown, and whoever doesn’t frizz, gets to be leader! Even if we never use it, it’s the same caramel-brown color as the cappuchino maker/storage tesseract. They look STUNNING side-by-side!

I also met that planet’s champion. She was quite powerfu; had it ALL: speed, strength, looks, fashion-sense (the CUTEST half-cape this side of Mary Marvel!) and stamina…. only, it wore off after the demonstration she gave. She sobbed and choked, and I had to reject her for membership. No wonder her code-name was Queen For A Day.

Queen Mother is sending me on a goodwill tour, and I need a team of volunteers. Let me know who wants to party with me. I’ll be at the spa letting Gunther work out these, um, knots. I sense I’ll be at the spa a LONG time–very tight.

Ta,
Saturn Queen

Personal aside to Insect Queen: could you please refrain from crawling into my bed at night and biting me? Stop using Bedbite Beauty identity, or you’ll short out your bio-ring!

4-18-97
from:NNancyDrew

Dear charter members:

Saturn Queen flew over to my home planet of River Heights, and requested I try out. Boy, did she make me work hard. I thought I’d never get my titian hair to smooth back into my signature flip. Fortunately, after grueling hours of trying to match my belt with my boots, and several odd hours of an old Earth custom called “spin the bottle” Saturn Queen thought I might be eligible for membership.

After deciding to go with eggplant thigh-high boots (no one else in Legion is wearing them), I settled down to figure out my code name. The first thing that popped into my head was Screaming Queen–sonic blasts and able to automatically become the center of attention in a fight. But then I thought of Clutch Queen–the ability to pull any weapon, acccessory, or styling product from her hand-held pocket universe, which changes colors to coordinate with her revolving wardrobe. Trained in martial arts at the Charles Townsend Academy.

And finally, Queen Bee–the ability to control the density of a honey-like substance she can produce. The more solid the object, the smaller the size–i.e. shards and knives. The larger the size, the softer the object–i.e. pillows or some such to catch falling comrades in, or a clump of goo to trap a villian.

Personally, I like Queen Bee, but I thought Insect Queen might get her panties in a bunch. So, I’ll wait to hear how those secret ballots come out.

Although not a full-fledged member of the Queen Team yet, I cast my membership vote for Jan Arrah… too cute, and just my type!

A lady in waiting for membership,
thomas/Nancy/Queen Bee

4-19-97
from:Biggerscot

Your panties would be in a bunch, too, if you were trying to fit an extra set of legs in them, but that wouldn’t keep me from voting for a queen with such obvious grace and style. And ,of course, any matriarch of Saturn Queen’s is a matriarch of mine. BTW do you have to barf up that honey like I do?

Jan (aka Closet Queen) gets my vote,too. Someone has to be in the closet if only to take care of my gowns. And if you ever wanted real ruby slippers, I can’t think of a better Queen to have in there. I can’t say she’s my type at all, but she does have a sparkly, new crystal look. If I look closely, I can see myself. Bleech! Hmmm. Maybe he was better off before!

Love from the bottom of all seven of my Grasshopper Girl heart,
Insect Queen (aka Fly Girl, Monarch Monarch, Gypsy Tramp and Thieves Moth, Ms. Maggot, Too Many Code Names Lass, Chigger Chick, Yellowjacket with Matching Slacks Girl…)

4-19-97
from:NNancyDrew

Insect Queen:

Thanks for your vote. I can’t wait for our first mission. Actually, the honey just sort of seeps out of my fingertips, but I’m sure Brainy can come up with two darling bangles that can channel my honey flow. Obviously with my new code name, I’ll have to be trading those eggplant boots for something a little more in my costume’s color scheme. Maybe a bright dandelion shade….. or an amber…..

Any word on those flight bracelets?

Sometimes it’s fun being a girl,
Queen Bee

4-19-97
from:SPluto88

Got my vote, too, Queen Bee.

Calorie Queen
who has to eat at least 3600 a day with 260 grams of protein–you think it’s easy, girls, give it a shot!

The posts on this page were originally seen on the DC Online AOL message boards.

The second installment of the Queen Team Adventures is up for you to read now!

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