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UAL Research Online

Gay male alternative comics

Shamsavari, Sina (2011) Gay male alternative comics. In: Comics Forum 2011: Materiality and Virtuality, 18th November 2011, Leeds Art Gallery. (Unpublished)

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Shamsavari, Sina

Comics set in the “gay community” or “ghetto” began to be published in gay and lesbian magazines in the 1960s, and with the emergence of established and commercialized urban communities throughout the 1970s and 80s, the “gay ghetto” type of comic strip began to appear more often in local and national publications throughout the United States (and to a lesser extent in the UK.) The “Gay ghetto” comics are often set in a recognizably “gay” location such as the Castro, San Francisco. The action tends to take place in and around “gay community” institutions such as gay bars, bookshops and clubs. This talk will discuss the ways in which the gay ghetto comics work to construct a visible and “typical” gayness and a dominant gay habitus, through references to fashions, music, locations, etc. This typification however also serves to reify certain culturally and historically specific gay scenes and identities as exemplary of “what the gay community is really like”, presenting an image of the gay community as relatively unified and stable and erasing internal difference and alterity. In contrast, the queer independent comics that emerged in the 1990s critique this notion of a unified gay community in various ways. In some of these comics the action takes place away from any recognizable “gay community”; in others the gay community is critiqued through parody and caricature in a decidedly unsympathetic way; in yet others a non-mainstream gay habitus and social scene is constructed through references to “alternative” music, fashion and sensibilities.

Official Website: http://comicsforum.org/comics-forum-archives/comics-forum-2011/
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Sina Shamsavari is a cartoonist and academic. He is the creator of the autobiographical comic BoyCrazyBoy, a lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion, and is researching the history of queer alternative comics at Goldsmiths College.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 18 November 2011
Event Location: Leeds Art Gallery
Date Deposited: 14 May 2012 11:36
Last Modified: 14 May 2012 11:36
Item ID: 5286
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/5286

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