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Comics and Harvey Milk

I thought I would pass along this news on the development of a Harvey Milk graphic  comic novel:

Reprinted from email sent by milehighcomics.comNew Harvey Milk Graphic Novel Art – More Scarce Comics ArriveHowdy!

It is already well known that our Jason St. Mega-Store is an amazing Mecca of comics. What is not common knowledge is that we also are offered an unbelievable number of collections at Jason St. on a daily basis. Never, in my entire 47 years of selling comics, have I seen a single location act as a magnet for so much great material! In great measure, that is why our New-In-Stock and Premium New-In-Stock links have been so diverse of late…

Comics in Stock - 1
Array #1 of Comics Instock Now!

I mention these collections for a couple of different reasons. First, I typically travel a great deal during this time of year, and had intended to spend a considerable amount of time this winter buying back issues at comics shops and smaller comics shows on the East Coast. We are receiving so much material at Jason St., however, that we are still trying to catch up on our processing of the semi-trailer filled with comics that I picked up in California and Las Vegas last November. Until we can sort through those 100,000 comics, it makes no sense for me to travel to purchase more.

Nicole the Great
Nicole the Great, Queen Mother of the Americas

The good news is that my not traveling eastward means that I can instead fly to San Diego this weekend, to present a business plan on my proposed Harvey Milk graphic novel to Nicole the Great, Queen Mother of the Americas. In case you missed it in my convention newsletter, as the titular head of our entire 68-chapter International Court System, Nicole met with me at last year’s San Diego Comic-Conabout issues that had arisen with my local organization, the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire. After spending a couple of hours chatting about ICRME issues, Nicole took a walk with me around the convention. She became very excited, and suggested that I try to put together a graphic novel about martyred LGBTQ activist, Harvey Milk. The sketches you see below by the incredibly talented Thomas Haller Buchanan, are the direct result of that conversation.

Harvey Milk Sketch by Thomas Haller Buchanan
Harvey Milk Sketch by Thomas Haller Buchanan

Harvey Milk Sketch - 2 by Thomas Haller Buchanan
Harvey Milk Sketch by Thomas Haller Buchanan

Harvey Milk Sketch - 3 - by Thomas Haller Buchanan
Harvey Milk Sketch by Thomas Haller Buchanan

Harvey Milk Sketch - 4 - by Thomas Haller Buchanan
Harvey Milk Sketch by Thomas Haller Buchanan


Harvey Milk Sketches by Thomas Haller Buchanan

So you know, I have already received about a dozen very encouraging responses to my request for feedback about my Harvey Milk project. I thank each and every one of you who sent me feedback at chuckrozanski@gmail.com. There are quite a few major obstacles that need to be overcome before this project can come to fruition, however, not the least of which is approval by the Harvey Milk Foundation. Before I can even reach that point, however, I first need to gain approval this weekend from Nicole, and the ICS Board of Directors. Wish me luck!


What Thomas Haller Buchanan finished work looks like

As an aside, I think it is time to bring some clarity to my efforts with the ICRME. As a quick glance at ICRME-Denver.org will easily reveal, theImperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire is primarily an LGBTQ organization. It was founded 44 years ago to help validate the benefit to our communities of those who choose to perform in public venues in outfits outside of their birth gender. Simply put, drag queens (men who perform as women) and drag kings (women who perform as men). Our umbrella organization, the International Court System, consists of 30,000 members in the United States, Canada, and MexicoICRME itself is now a registered 501-C3 charity, and contributes upwards of $100,000 per year from our performances to those in need in our Denver community.


Chuck with the officers of ICRME Reign 42

So you know, I am a bit of an odd duck in ICRME, as I am the only straight man in an otherwise primarily gay organization. That having been said, after six years of hard work I have been accepted by most of ICRME’s members, and was allowed to serve last year in the #2 leadership position, as Prince Royale. It was also through my ICRME position that I first became aware of the awesome work being done by Jim Scharper’s “Feeding Denver’s Hungry” charity. That awareness, in turn, has changed my entire life. I now spend a goodly portion if my time each week working with “Feeding Denver’s Hungry,” seeking to help the poor.


Chuck, Jim, and some of the volunteers of Feeding Denver’s Hungry

All of the above having been said, the core of my life remains Mile High Comics. Serving your needs by seeking out the very best comics that I can possibly find, and then offering them to you at the least cost, is still why I get up and go to the office each day. I will be turning 62 in a couple of weeks, however, and I am quite aware that the time is upon me when I need to give back to my community. While joining forces with an organization like ICRME may seem rather out of the ordinary, I can assure you that my friends in the drag community are among the nicest and most giving people that I have ever been blessed to meet. I am honored to work with them every day to try to make Denver a better place for us all.

Happy collecting!

Chuck Rozanski,
Prince Royale 42
Imperial Court the Rocky Mountain Empire
January 30, 2017

P.S. Below are some arrays of comics that we were blessed to be able to purchase last Friday. All can be purchased at a full 30% off when you utilize our NEWHOPE! Codeword. Only new issues, a few variants, and our CGC’s are excluded.

Comics in stock - 2
Array #2 of Comics Instock Now!


Array #3 of Comics Instock Now!


Array #4 of Comics Instock Now!


Array #5 of Comics Instock Now!


Array #6 of Comics Instock Now!


Array of some of the MAD Magazines that will be Instock Tomorrow!

http://www.milehighcomics.com

X-men’s Shawn Ashmore would be interested in playing a gay Iceman

This year Iceman, one of the original X-men, came out as gay in Bran Michael Bendis’ superb All-New X-Men #40.

Speaking at the 2015 Game Awards, Shawn Ashmore – who has played Iceman for the last 12 years in the movies – said that it’s one of the most interesting things to happen to the character, and that he’d be interested in playing Iceman again

Shawn told IGN:  “Obviously the comics and movies are separate. I wonder what the transition would be because we’ve sort of established Bobby as having a love interest in Rogue and having a love interest in sort of Kitty Pryde, but I think it’d be really interesting.

“I think it’d probably be the most interesting thing that could happen to Bobby in the films. If they decided to take the story that way, it’d be incredibly dramatic, it’d be an interesting storyline, and it would give Bobby a great character arc. I’d definitely be open to that, but again, I’m not sure if they want to take the character in that direction. I have no idea how they would play that out. I think it’d be very interesting.”

Last month, comic book writer and creator of X-men Stan Lee, discovered that Iceman was gay during a live radio interview.

While appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Stan said: “I wasn’t involved in that, that may have been after I stopped writing the books. I didn’t really have any gay characters. If they were gay I didn’t play up to the fact that they were. I wasn’t aware of my characters sexual proclivities.”

He then admitted: “In fact your telling me that is the first time I’d heard. Is Iceman really gay?

“Wow! I never knew that. I don’t care what happens as long as they tell good stories.”

Five LGBT Comic Books Out Now

 – alliterator

Five LGBT Comic Books Out Now

This week has been somewhat of a weird week for LGBT characters in comic books. First, there was the fact that the Midnighter’s comic is actually really, really good. But then we got acontroversy about James Robsinson’s Airboy and its use of a derogatory word for transgender. (My take on that: Robinson was deliberately writing those characters as assholes. Unfortunately, those characters are fictional versions of him and the artist and he went a bit too far, making the whole thing seem weird, out of place, and in bad taste. Edit: Robinson has written a full apology.)

But the current crop of comics does have a lot of good LGBT characters, especially independent comics. Here are five you really need to start reading:

Five LGBT Comic Books Out Now

8house: Arclight, written by Brandon Graham and art by Marian Churchland

Hey, do you want to read about genderqueer knights in a weird fantasy land involving alien monsters, blood magic, and a goose?

I had you at “genderqueer knights,” didn’t I?

8house: Arclight is a fantastic comic that just came out (only one issue) about Sir Arclight (one of the aforementioned genderqueer knights) and her Lady, who has been magically trapped in an alien root-body. Now they have to protect their world from blood magic and find out what happened to her original body and who is using it. (Seriously, it’s weird and awesome.)


Five LGBT Comic Books Out Now

The Spire, written by Simon Spurrier, pencils by Jeff Stokely, colors by Andre May

The Spire is another brand new comic (also one issue) that takes place in a strange fantasy land. Only this fantasy land is the Spire, “a mountain of metal and stone that rises from the toxic nowherelands; a city of twisting tunnels, grinding elevators, ancient machinery, and over one million human and non-human residents.”

The main character is Shå, the Commander of the City Watch (and lesbian who has white tendrils that come out of her back), who polices the Spire. However, now that the old Baron is dead, the new Baroness has some problems with her.

Si Spurrior is an awesome writer and Jeff Stokely is an awesome artist. Their previous collaboration, Six-Gun Gorilla, was mind-blowingly good.


 

 

 

 

 

Kaptara, written by Chip Zdarsky and art by Kagan McLeod

So, okay, this book is kind of hard to explain. It’s about a group of astronauts that accidentally crash land into the planet of Kaptara.

Except it’s not really about that. It’s really only about one astronaut, Keith Kanga, who is super lazy (and also gay) and when he finds himself away from the other astronauts in this cool fantasy land (similar to, say, He-Man’s Eternia), he doesn’t want to leave. Not when he hated it back on Earth.

Of course, that’s presupposing that there will be an Earth to go back to, since maybe there won’t be?

Chip Zdarksy is hilarious and Kagan McLeod draws some excellent cat tanks. (Seriously, cat tanks. It’s super weird and awesome.)


Five LGBT Comic Books Out Now

Infinite Loop, written by Pierrick Colinet and art by Elsa Charretier

So if fantasy lands aren’t your thing, how about time travel? Because Infinite Loop is an awesome, time travel romance epic.

Teddy (the redhead on the cover) and her coworker Ulysses have one job to do: find time anomalies and eradicate them. If left alone, these anomalies will build up and eventually result in the end of the world. Teddy is really good at her job, too…until she meets a human anomaly (later named Ano) and falls head over heels for her.

Much time travel and nudity ensues. Seriously, lots of nudity (this is not a book to read on the bus). But there’s also awesome action and art and romance. Oh, and a really neat thing where decisions are mapped out in decision trees. Seriously, get it.


Five LGBT Comic Books Out Now

The Wicked + The Divine, written by Kieron Gillen and art by Jamie McKelvie

Here’s one that you may have heard of — in fact, it’s the only one on this list that has been going on for more than a year and has just completed it’s second storyarc.

But it bears repeating that this comic isawesome. The Wicked + The Divine is about creativity and imagination; it’s about fans and fandoms and how we try to be closer to the creators we love; and it’s about magic and gods. These gods just happen to have a ticking clock: two years of being loved and hated and then they die. Some can deal with the pressure. Others can’t.

It also bears repeating that the cast is filledwith LGBT characters, including Cassandra, a trans woman. Two books are out now, Vol 1: The Faust Act and Vol 2: Fandemonium.

What other LGBT characters are you guys excited out in comics now?

Queer Quest 10 – Superqueeros?

Iceman

reprinted from GLBT News – By Ashley R. Lierman

First of all, I’d like to begin by apologizing to everyone for the title of this column (Queer Quest 10 – Superqueeros?). Sorry. I have no excuse for myself.

With that said, this blog has reported a number of times over the last two years on developments involving queer characters in superhero comics. And with Avengers: Age of Ultron out last week, I think it’s a good time for a review. Last year, in my first column, I noted the 2013 introduction of the first openly transgender character in mainstream superhero comics: Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s roommate at the time in Gail Simone’s run of Batgirl. This past March, this blog reported on a same-sex kiss in issue 39 of the current Catwoman run, written by Genevieve Valentine, that confirmed Selina Kyle as bisexual. And just recently, we reported that Brian Michael Bendis’s All New X-Men #40 outed Robert Drake, or Iceman, as gay. Clearly it’s been a busy few years for LGBT characters in comics, even in the most mainstream (and therefore often most conservative) domain of superhero comics. Surely this should be cause for celebration, right?

Well… yes and no. Of course there’s no question that more representation is a good thing, and it’s always a bit of good news to see part of the world of superhero comics change for the better. The only trouble is, by the very nature of superhero comics, it’s sometimes very difficult – if not impossible – to make those changes stick.

We’ve all heard people call comics “graphic novels” when they’re trying to make it sound like comics are actually worth serious consideration and study. Not only does that reveal a lot about the speaker’s personal prejudices when it comes to media, it’s technically incorrect (a graphic novel is its own thing, quite distinct from a serial comic book; I assume I’m preaching to the choir in this column, but if you’re confused, you can read more about the distinction here) – and, I’d argue, very misleading. Although comics constitute a print medium, comics in general and superhero comics in particular are most closely analogous not to novels, but to television series. Even leaving the visual piece aside, like a TV show, comics often run over a span of years or decades (indeed, depending on the title, often much longer than many TV shows), and tend over the course of their lives to be written by many different people, either as a team or consecutively. In fact, superhero comics tend to get even less consistency in this area than TV shows. While television writing is generally guided by a head writer and at least tends to retain some of the original creative talent from beginning to end, superhero comics writers and teams tend to swap out entirely on a fairly regular basis, and while they do also generally have management from a head writer at the label level, even within individual titles authors can branch off in pretty dramatically different directions.

And that can be a real issue (so to speak), because there are other characteristics of superhero comics that just exacerbate this creative splintering. Between spin-offs, reboots, competing canons, alternate timelines, and more, there’s kind of no such thing as a single, sole “canon” for a superhero comic in their current form. What’s done in one issue of one title can just as easily be undone, or redone in different contradictory ways, in half a dozen others. Indeed, at least within the Big Two of Marvel and DC, this seems to be used as a vital failsafe that can keep equilibrium even through the illusion of major, shocking, hype-worthy change: perhaps the most famous (and formative) case being the 1992 “Death of Superman” storyline. (For a hilarious and also insightful recap of that narrative arc and how it “broke death” in superhero comics, see Max Landis’s Death and Return of Superman, although be warned of plenty of not-safe-for-work language.) A revelation about a character that may seem huge – like, for example, their sexual or gender identity – can end up absent from the overarching story like it never happened, a mere hundred or twenty or two issues later.

With some of these developments I’ve listed, in fact, we can already see this happening. This past December, less than two years from the exciting news of a groundbreaking trans character, Batgirl’s new writing team faced outrage over their offensive, transphobic depiction of a villain in the comic. Almost as troubling, though, it was pointed out, was the fact that in their run, Alysia Yeoh herself seemed to have been reduced to little more than a footnote. In many ways, the title’s total progress in the direction of representation looks like one step forward, two steps back. Similarly, even outside of the accomplishments listed here, back in 2013 excitement about Kate Kane/Batwoman’s proposal to her girlfriend Maggie Sawyer was quickly squashed when DC refused to allow the same-sex wedding to occur on-panel. This decision was partly responsible for the creative team’s eventual departure, and in December 2014 the title – much valued for featuring what was at the time DC’s most prominent gay superhero – was cancelled altogether.

“Oh, come on,” some of you may be starting to think by this point, and not unfairly so, “at least it still happened! Isn’t any representation ever good enough for her?” And I’ll admit, I can be pretty demanding, especially in a media culture where it’s rare enough to see any queer characters at all. I’m not trying to burst into Iceman’s (or anyone else’s) coming out party yelling “JUST WAIT UNTIL THE OTHER SHOE DROPS!” (For one thing, at the very least, the other shoe is unlikely to be on Bendis’s foot, and bless him for that.) Of course it’s a good thing, and an important thing, to see queer characters of all kinds appearing increasingly in these mainstream, popular titles, no matter what may happen later down the road. Future writers may be able to rewrite the current story of what’s going on with a superhero, but they can’t erase the old issues, or turn back the tide of mounting acceptance and even welcome for diversity in the industry these new developments represent. As long as we still have Simones, Valentines, Bendises, and others like them out there in the industry, and more on the way, there’ll still be people pushing to make positive changes, and to support those with marginalized voices who are trying to break their way in and tell stories of their own.

So make no mistake, iffy track record aside, it’s still going to put a smile on my face every time I see a story about another queer character or same-sex kiss in mainstream superhero comics, and I’ll keep sharing them with you on this blog when they come along, for as long as I’m able. They do mean something, even if only as a barometer reading the current weather in popular geek culture. But I hope you’ll understand if, at the same time, my cheerleading may be a little muted when it comes to any one new development or another, at least as far as this particular genre of comics goes. I’m still reserving my enthusiasm for when the Big Two can show by their actions that they really are ready to be agents of change… and to actually make those changes last.