Do you want to write queer characters into your tv show, movie, novel, comic, or other piece of creative media? Are you worried about it feeling forced or like “token diversity”? Do you just want to write good characters and have any diversity happen naturally in the course of writing or casting or what have you? Are you very certain that diversity will just happen and that you will create queer (and other diverse) characters in your fictive world, just when it happens naturally?
If so, I have a bridge to sell you. I also do have advice (oh do I ever have advice, so you may want to get a snack and a drink and a comfy place to sit and read because this is not going to be a short post), but let me make it clear in case my article title and the above paragraph haven’t –
Even if you are totally, 100% genuine and earnest in your desire and intent to include or introduce queer characters into a piece of fiction you are involved with and not just trying to fob us off with excuses and smokescreens so we will (and/or so our good-intentioned non-queer fellow fans will) keep reading, watching, and otherwise consuming … that inclusion is NOT just going to happen on its own. Spoilers for everything else I’m going to say, but it’s not. And we know it or we learn it, because you’re not the first person with good intentions (or, again, blowing smoke to cover a lack of intentions) who ends up not including us at all, or who throws us one tiny trampled bone after the fact.
A wizard is never late, neither is he early, and neither is he revealed to be gay until the entire seven novel series and five out of eight film adaptations are released. And the wizard himself is dead.
When they had all drunk, the king went down the hall to the doors. There the guards awaited him, and heralds stood, and all the lords and chiefs were gathered together that remained in Edoras or dwelt nearby.
‘Behold! I go forth, and it seems like to be my last riding,’ said Théoden. ‘I have no child. Théodred my son is slain. I name Éomer my sister-son to be my heir. If neither of us return, then choose a new lord as you will. But to some one I must now entrust my people that I leave behind, to rule them in my place. Which of you will stay?’
No man spoke.
‘Is there none whom you would name? In whom do my people trust?’
‘In the House of Eorl,’ answered Háma.
‘But Éomer I cannot spare, nor would he stay,’ said the king; ‘and he is the last of that House.’
‘I said not Éomer,’ answered Háma. ‘And he is not the last. There is Éowyn, daughter of Éomund, his sister. She is fearless and high-hearted. All love her. Let her be as lord to the Eorlingas, while we are gone.’
‘It shall be so,’ said Théoden. ‘Let the heralds announce to the folk that the Lady Éowyn shall lead them!’
Then the king sat upon a seat before his doors, and Éowyn knelt before him and received from him a sword and a fair corslet. ‘Farewell sister-daughter!’ he said. ‘Dark is the hour, yet maybe we shall return to the Golden Hall. But in Dunharrow the people may long defend themselves, and if the battle go ill, thither will come all who escape.’
What does a queer person look like? How do we act? Do we all have laser eyes and love our mothers and listen to musicals while knitting? Do we weep while clutching skulls and enacting a gay version of the death of Hamlet? How do you, questioning, questing writer or other creator (or approver) of fictional media, actually end up including queer characters and how do you shape them so that they feel “real” to you and so that the queer people wanting representation do not fall upon you like a flock of laser-eyed, mother-loving, knitting-needle-clutching vampires of vengeance?
If I can manage to stop laughing and find a “read more” image, I will try to give you a place to start, because, oh gentle content creator with good, pure, genuine intent, I know you are tripping on, getting tangled in, and even, all unbeknownst to you, drowning in swamps full of mental blockades you may not even be aware are there.
And unlike the name for this ship full of queers, you are not really going to get answers writ large for you in the sky.
Dumbledore? What does Dumbledore have to do writing (or not writing) queer characters into fictional worlds? Isn’t Dumbledore canonically gay? Why don’t you look particularly happy? Are you …. cry-laughing into your drink? Should you really be writing as an imaginary person you are talking to?
Those are all excellent questions (and not just because I came up with all of them) and short answer is, besides telling you all to head below the “read more” cut, that Dumbledore is a familiar, well-known, and thus easy to use example who also encapsulates a lot of the problems with leaving queer existence to after-the-fact author confirmation and the imaginations and creative outputs of fandom.
Considering how relevant the things people latch on as Signs of Queerness are to actually being queer, I think I’m justified in throwing in some Rankin-Bass dwarves in bags here as the “read more” image.
To celebrate my spruced up site (and prettied up Patreon), fill it up with some new content (including the post of all posts, the post so big it really needs to be probably four posts!), and to try to raise enough money ($373, not accounting for processing fees) by Friday to prevent eviction and car repossession (oh the double whammy of job loss for one person and a turning out to be quite terrible and not paying at all for a month new job for the other), I am having a Pride Month post party!
What does this mean? I’m glad you asked! It means I’m sketching out, in humorous and temporary (or not) title fashion the major post idea I’ve been percolating for a few weeks into individual components and also brainstorming and throwing in other goodies so you, lovely viewers (readers?) can a) see what kind of content I produce when the sky isn’t falling down on my head b) can, if you want, and you’re able to donate, include a little “Hey, this post sounds extra cool or I like this bonus idea. I hope you do that one and maybe do it first?” message along with your donation.
I would like to emphasize that none of this is a guarantee that I will write any or all of this (I might get writer’s block or my health might disagree, for example, and I’ve already had delays in finishing all the site, Patreon, and social media updates and in writing this for both of those reasons), but I wanted to do something more than just ask for help again and the big idea and its sub posts are pretty darn likely to get written and I can always fill in with fun stuff that’s potentially a little easier to complete.
So, without further ado, you can donate to me (and my partner, unsung hero of comics studies conferences and my image and video needs) using PayPal and ittousagi AT hotmail DOT com as the e-mail address. And you can check out my upcoming writing ideas and bonus brainstorms below. 🙂
Catwoman trying to kill the hitmen trying to kill her after she was sold out/not sold out by her new business partner from the She-cats storyline is … surprisingly pretty enjoyable. It’s still the quality level of the other Moench penned stories but the cover put me in a good mood. Or something.
Horror homage and no weird suit boobs. This cover is a win.
And so we reach our fiery conclusion and what would be a better cover if not for what’s going on with the bodies on it.
Seriously. I got so excited by the flames and the signs of an actual expression and posing and then my eyes focused properly. Balent, what happened to you? Seriously, what happened. Because I know he can do good work, and work where the poses are only pushed a little (and in largely gender neutral ways) for the sake of a good action shot and this … isn’t that kind of reason or situation.
Sadly, I think this issue could have actually had a pretty cool cover (or at least a pretty decent one) if She-Cat’s “come at me” fighting pose hadn’t been turned into an “oh gosh I think I broke all the bones in my lower body” pose. Not that that would have really enhanced the story, but an improvement’s an improvement.
Even though her villain name is literally She-Cat, I think this is still a case of wasted potential hurt by lower quality art than the artist’s previous output. It’s also interesting that the dynamic underpinning Cyber-Cat’s interactions with and antagonism towards Catwoman are later reflected (in broad strokes, of course) by the plotline with Sylvia in Ed Brubaker’s run on Catwoman.
I’m back from the hiatus with, well, a story that has this as its first page. Oh for the early days of Catwoman’s comic and butterfly themed villains with slightly pushed poses and high cut slits in their dresses.
In case it’s not clear, I’m cracking wise about the title and subtitle on this page, not the artwork. The cover itself more than takes care of the quota for … whatever words there are to describe this.
I’m just going to call this case of the oversized exposition and peculiar buttshots. Same writer as the previous story arc so … the quality can already be guessed at. But if you want to watch a macho guy talk into a tape recorder about Catwoman for most of a comic issue, this is your story.
Seriously. With everyone else roaming Gotham, why is Gordon suddenly a man possessed about the Batman antagonist who doesn’t kill. He still delegates though, so we just get page after page of miffed ex-marine talking into a tape recorder. Intercut with butt shots of Catwoman with her cats.