Comics in Scary Times

Above: Panels from a 1987 Wendel episode

If you were drawing comic strips about everyday gay life during the 1980s, you could only sidestep the subject of AIDS for so long. Whether you were HIV-positive or HIV-negative, it was just too unavoidably, cruelly in the middle of your consciousness.

Epidemics that are busily killing your readers and your readers’ friends by the thousands do not make comfortable subjects for cartoonists — but there the epidemic was, tyrannizing our lives and demanding the best of us while we feared (and often experienced) the worst.

That period of my career, during which my personal demographic — gay males — unwillingly occupied central spots in both the disease’s bullseye and the religious right’s crosshairs, not to mention the general public’s checklist of people who should not be allowed within breathing room of their offspring, is being summoned back to mind by my inclusion in an upcoming panel at MoCCA (the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) that will be assembled in New York City as part of a multi-faceted fundraising effort by GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis).

The panel is tentatively called Out of the Pages: A Look Back at 25 Years of HIV/AIDS in Comics and will blast off at 6:30 PM on October 23. That’s over a month from now, but if you’re going to be in or near the Big Apple that evening and think you might want to come, GMHC suggests that you call 212-367-1176 soon to make a reservation. Seating space at MoCCA, apparently, will be limited.

Not surprisingly (given how tight a community us LGBT cartoonists can be), the panel is shaping up to be a reunion of old friends. Other cartoonists currently scheduled to participate are Allan Neuwirth (Chelsea Boys); Abby Denson (Tough Love); and Chris Companik (HIV + Me). Ken Gale, on whose WBAI longrunning radio show ‘Nuff Said I’ve spouted off in years past, will moderate the panel.

I hope some of you readers of this blog will be able to be there. And if you live too far from Gotham to come, please mention what’s brewing to your NYC-area friends.

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
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One Response to Comics in Scary Times

  1. mthomases says:

    Oooh! Are you bringing Eddie? Will we be able to feed you?