Comics are one of the most popular mediums for storytelling in the literary world, and contain some of the most imaginative landscapes and possibilities for new worlds in their pages. In No Straight Lines,we meet some of the queer comic artists who brilliantly paved the way for future generations of writers and illustrators.
Comics and zines have been an important part of queer culture and communities since Tom of Finland, to Dykes to Watch Out For. Beginning in the 1930’s which started the “golden age” of comics, through to the modern and noted work of comic artists like Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Rupert Kinnard and Mary Wings, director Vivian Kleiman charts an undersung history of queer artists, many who shifted representation ahead of their time. Comics were as heavily censored in the united states as film, and marginalization of queer artists was common even in underground publications. But these inventive and persistent creatives never gave up on their stories, pushing for authenticity in their art and their lives. Creating work that reflected their experiences of the AIDS crisis, first sexual experiences and familial relationships, heartbreaks and protests, these remarkable artists created windows into queer worlds in each panel; a lifeline to many isolated queer people. Through that window, we can see both a reflection of ourselves, and the endless potential for adventure, connection, and healing.