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Riddle me this
Two new comics from well known and unknown illustrators
What do Three #1 and Homobody #6 have in common?
Well, come on! It�s hardly the Riddle of the Sphinx. Of course, without the proper context, it might be even more difficult than that storied brain-teaser.
All right. Three is the latest project from comic artist-writer Robert Kirby, whose Curbside entertained untold throngs of people for many years in the back of LGBT newspapers, including the Gay People�s Chronicle. The #1 refers to its first issue, featuring a trio of stories, each by a different creator.
Homobody, on the other hand, is a queer �zine, a DIY magazine for queer audiences by someone named Rio. With the tagline �Where queer is the new qool,� you know it�s got to be nifty.
�Zines are not a new phenomenon. They grew out of the photocopier boom, when there was a Kinko�s on every corner and the streets were lined with 8� � 11-inch sheets of plain white paper. People began typing up stories, drawing pictures, whatever, and photocopying, stapling and distributing them.
Soon, a thriving underground economy was in existence, with creative minds sending their artistic offspring into the world. One of the most infamous of the queer �zines was filmmaker Bruce LaBruce�s J.D.s, co-edited by G.B. Jones, which stood for �juvenile delinquents,� but also encompassed youth/rebel icons like James Dean and J.D. Salinger. It was thanks to this publication that the Homocore queer-punk movement really got underway.
With the joys of the internet having main-lined directly into the arteries of today�s youth, �zines have become less common, but instant access to sex and information lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. That is why, in the cooler record stores and the more dangerous bookstores, there are still �zines lurking in the darkest of corners.
Homobody, coming out of Portland, Oregon, is a labor of love for the creator Rio, who writes in the introduction, �I actually spent time on Homobody #6. Not to say that I cared less about 1-5 or the dozens of other �zines I�ve barfed up, only that I took my time and saw it through.�
And he did. In addition to his own comics, he has a few submitted pieces, as well as an interview with the creators of a digital archive of queer �zines, which seems such a clash of cultures, one might expect Bronski Beat to reunite and tour with Lady Gaga at any moment.
Perhaps the most clever piece, however, is �Whaddya mean, Queer?� The single-page strip has six people musing on what they mean when they identify as queer, and it�s sublime. For youngsters, it should be a very liberating page; for oldsters, it might be an interesting glimpse into a generation for whom the word �gay� is as often an insult as an identifier, who have reclaimed queer and stuffed it down their oppressors� throats.
Homobody #6, and presumably other fun publications, are available from Rio�s website, www.movedancecreate.com.
Three #1, while still in that same punk-rock-at-heart vein as �zines, is the effort of queer comics industry professionals, featuring a trio of stories by the aforementioned Kirby, Eric Orner of �Ethan Green� fame, and the ever-adorable Joey Alison Sayers. Self-portraits on the front cover, three-legged cover-dog Lucas on the back, and creamy goodness in between is one of the least insane ways to describe the comic.
The first story is �Weekends Abroad� by Orner, the tale of a typically lax American Jew working in Israel who comes across cryptic graffiti that reads, �You are cute. I am mute.�
Who left the message he keeps seeing around Tel Aviv? Why are Israeli men online such losers? Will he and his boss enjoy their trip to the hottest gay dance club on the Mediterranean?
Next up is Joey Alison Sayers� urological ruminations on strange homeowners and the even stranger questions they ask when the people working in their yards need to use the restroom. After reading this story, the seemingly innocent question �Did you flush?� will never fail to elicit gales of laughter. Or at least a warmly reminiscent chuckle.
Kirby�s �Freedom Flight� features the return of Drew, one of the main characters of Curbside, in a tale of his escape from, and return to, an old boyfriend. When Drew was 20, he was involved with his former film studies professor. At one point, he just wanders out of the apartment, and the sudden sense of freedom keeps him walking away from his home. He can go anywhere, be anyone, do anything. Going to the park, he meets the cover-dog, thinking him a stray, until his owner finds him. Then the molecules of the universe rearrange themselves, and Drew turns left instead of right, or right instead of left, and slowly fades away.
Well, you couldn�t really expect a review of it to make much sense, but the story itself does.
Three is available www.robkirbycomics.com. Buy many copies. Share it with all your friends, and then wait with bated breath for issue two, which will have six creators putting out three stories--Michael Fahy and Jennifer Camper, David Kelly and Craig Bostick, and Sina Shamsavari and Jon Macy. That�s a lot of talent.
Oh, to answer the riddle: Both Homobodies #6 and Three #1 have submissions by Robert Kirby.
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