I just got a check in the mail as payment for the inclusion of my-and-Dale-Lazarov‘s “Everybody’s Doin’ It” in Cleis Press‘ Best Gay Erotica 2014.* This isn’t the first payment I’ve received for publication of my work, nor is it the first story to actually go to press (those were the Anything That Loves story), but this was my first contracted exchange of rights for money … just with a longer lead time.
You know, it’s colder than Hell outside tonight, and I was really looking forward to Kraft Dinner with leftover Christmas turkey stirred in, and a quiet evening curled up with a warm drawing tablet. But I think tonight the Baxter Street Home for Wayward Boys will be having an outing instead: dinner at the Green Carnation, followed by drinks at the Subversion Lounge downtown.
*Available any day now in better … are there any brick-and-mortar gay bookstores left anywhere? Anyway, available to order for shipping any day now from better web retailers everywhere.
Thanks to resetting the numbering on all of their ongoing titles, DC is about to publish another Detective Comics #27. The first one was the first appearance of Batman, so this one is a special oversize, overpriced issue with multiple covers to choose from (or buy them all). One of them is by former Batman legend Frank Miller.
My friend Richard Pace responded with a parody of it:
Inspired, I responded with a couple of my own.
The first is a reaction to the fact that Catwoman has nothing to do with the landmark issue. She wasn’t in it. Batman was. So was Commissioner Gordon:
The second refers to the issue about a year later that introduced Robin. Since DC started over with #1, they have yet to reintroduce Stephanie Brown, a character with a strong fan following, who briefly had the role of Robin, before being killed for cheap shock value. (as happens far too often these days in superhero comics). So I figured they should bring her back in the same issue:
Today is the official launch of The Nude 52!
It’s exactly what you think it is: DC superheroes without their clothes on. It’s a silly pun, a creative exercise, a celebration of the human form, and just something fun to do. These pin-ups will range from innocent to a little raunchy, with the main focus on artistic expression and creativity.
I’ll be doing a lot of them myself, but to make it more fun for everyone I’ve also opened it up for other artists to contribute, and I’ve already received a few great pieces, the first of which is posted today. (There are instructions on the web site for artists who want to participate.) I’ll be posting one new drawing each week … for a year.
So far we have drawings of the Flash, Superman, and Wonder Woman. Coming up in the next couple weeks are Robin and Lobo. Other characters on the drawing table include Power Girl, Kamandi, Green Lantern John Stewart, the Doom Patrol, and the Legion of Super Heroes!
Pardon me while I rant a bit.
One of the things I disliked about Warren Ellis’ “The Engine” forum, and his later “Whitechapel” forum (while he was running it) was the fact that anyone participating had to deal with his carefully crafted online persona as an asshole. It was intended to be a benevolent dictatorship, and a good way of dealing with trolls: Warren’s word was law, and objections would get you banned.
But it tended to get pretty elementary-school. Like the time I had the nerve to disagree with a popular artist about something, and one of the moderators (Warren only hired women for that, supposedly because they had better social skills, but seemed more to appeal to men who enjoy being dominated by assertive women) changed my password to “asshole” as punishment.
Which brings us to a certain remake/remodel challenge that Warren issued, to imagine what punk impresario Malcolm McLaren might have come up with if he’d been given a license to the Justice League. I posted what I considered a legitimate fulfillment of that. Warren deleted it as “a two-minute Photoshop job” … apparently missing the point that looking like a sloppy photocopy collage was part of the punk aesthetic (and that I’d spent about an hour on developing it).
And in his haste to delete what he didn’t understand, he missed the little reference I included to one of McLaren’s other projects: the one-hit wonder Jimmy the Hoover.
In response to yet another cheesecakey fuck-me representation of Wonder Woman, and in the spirit of the parodies that followed, Bleeding Cool ran a challenge for visitors to cosplay in the same pose. I don’t post photos of myself online (so my self-portraits are the closest people can get to identifying me in public), but I wanted to play along.
So I did a drawing of Captain Miracle in the same pose …
… and asked my partner Zlatan to draw me in that pose.
There was a short-lived but fun creative challenge on Whitechapel, in which a short-short story was posted, and artists were invited to create a spot illustration for it. This one was a story called “The Indecisive Backpacker”. (Go ahead and read it: it’s freakin’ short.)
Some of the most fun creative challenges can be the ones where I don’t give a fuck about the subject. Case in point: to remake / remodel Rom the Spaceknight, the star of a comic I never read, based on a toy I never played with.
I can’t find the place this was originally posted (probably Warren Ellis’ The Engine), so I can’t quote the specific instructions. For some reason, I decided that this artificial entity should be hermaphroditic.
Puff, Puff, Pass is a popular ritual among those who smoke pot. You take a hit off a joint, you take another hit, and you pass it along to the next person.
This piece was part of a creative challenge based on that: each contributor’s page begins with a joint being passed into the frame, and ends with it being passed on. In between was to be a story told without any words, pictograms only. The forum that the other entries were posted in is gone now, so I only have access to my own page:
Back when DC was launching their “New 52″ line, sorta-overhauling most of the DC Universe, they did an online survey to gauge reader interest. To flag bogus responses, they included a fake title in the list: Nerak. I decided to have a little fun and designed a character and cover art to go along with it.
The character’s name was totally made-up. One theory was that it was “Karen” (as in “Karen Berger”, increasingly marginalized editor of Vertigo) spelled backwards, so I gave her a sidekick named “Nad” (as in “Dan DiDio”, increasingly powerful co-publisher of the company). I made her a science-fictiony space knight, because it seemed like a genre that DC ought to be doing more of. You may notice a species resemblance to Starfire, who is notorious for wearing exactly the opposite amount of clothing that Nerak wears.
The cover copy is entirely tongue-in-cheek. DC’s “new” characters were almost entirely rehashes of existing ones, sometimes being “updated” to look more like older versions. The new titles were noticeably short on female leads, and DC was in the middle of a typical PR trainwreck because they’d published a redesign of Wonder Woman’s costume which included pants – which was promptly “fixed” to put her back in panties.
One of my writer friends (I won’t drag him into this by saying who) posted a challenge to his artist friends, to draw a homoerotic pin-up of a deity. He received a bunch of great responses (homoerotic Zeus, homoerotic Osirus, etc), but declined to post mine. Which I expected, and respect, because – me being the trouble-maker I am, I’d picked a deity which is totally off-limits for drawing.
Part of the challenge of drawing this particular god comes from the fact that drawing him is so absolutely taboo. Unlike Mohammed, Jesus, and even יהוה, who’ve been depicted countless times, this one has no established likeness. Just a name. So I homoeroticized … just the name.
Please don’t kill me.