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UAL Research Online

Gay Comics and Queer Male Comics in America: History, Conventions and Challenges

Shamsavari, Sina (2015) Gay Comics and Queer Male Comics in America: History, Conventions and Challenges. PhD thesis, King's College London.

Type of Research: Thesis
Creators: Shamsavari, Sina

This thesis is focused on American gay male comics and queer alternative comics. I argue that the field of gay male comics' production is dominated by two key genres: gay porno comics and gay ghetto comics. The conventions and characteristics of these genres help to construct and reinforce a dominant gay male habitus that is both sexual and social. Drawing on interviews as well as close readings of a number of case studies, I discuss the ways in which alternative queer cartoonists respond to the conventions of these genres, and create alternative representations of gay identity, community, and sex. I argue ultimately that the field of gay male comics production is not entirely homogenous, and that the queer male alternative comics that appear from roughly 1990 onwards are distinctive. The gay male comics of the First Wave (from the 1970s to 1990) are concerned with constructing and consolidating a sense of gay identity and community as relatively unified and stable. While sometimes critical of gay culture, as a whole they ultimately affirm the ideal of a unified gay community. In contrast, the queer male alternative comics that emerged as part of the Second Wave (starting around 1990) are far more concerned with questioning the normative, dominant values of mainstream gay culture, and challenging the identities, tastes and practices associated with the dominant gay habitus. Nevertheless because the gay ghetto and gay porno genres have been so dominant, queer alternative cartoonists position themselves in various different relationships to one or other genre. While some do abandon the genre conventions of gay porno and gay ghetto comics, more often queer alternative cartoonists take up some of these genre conventions and adapt, challenge, or subvert them in subtle ways.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: queer, LGBT, comics, graphic novels
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: February 2015
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2015 10:48
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2015 10:48
Item ID: 8051
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/8051

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