Monday, May 27, 2019

(229) Murphy's Manor - Pill Porn

During the early days of AIDS, many local gay newspapers covered medical developments  closely. It was commonplace to see press releases from CDC as well as researchers. You can grasp the period of this strip by the terminology. HIV had replaced HTLV, and AZT was offering the first glimmer of hope. What I found odd was the level of technical detail ... "Pill Porn" if you like. Being kind of a techie myself (I  am a civil engineer), I can deal with that.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

(228) Murphy's Manor - Playing Doctor

The AIDS crisis motivated gay men to be more vigilant about their health  -- sometimes over the top!

New! Revamped website!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

(227) Murphy's Manor - Drag Tourists

When I came out and moved to Toledo,  it was an ongoing joke whether you/your worldly goods were butch or femme. Some gay people had an expectation that a gay man should do drag sometime or other  -- Hallowe'en  if nothing else (I never did).  It was simply part of the culture.

The Sparkle Spinsters -- L2R Duchess, Lee, and Vernon -- cling to this tradition  -- even as they realize that gay visibility has grown to the point of attracting gay Ghetto  tourism.

The role of gender dressing has  changed greatly. In the 80s my understanding of cross dressing included cultural drag, as The Sparkle Spinsters are doing, and drag shows; transvestite, where dressing was part of a sexual experience; or transsexual, a person headed for a "sex change operation." 

This omits today's view of transgender/gender identity, which is different and more complex. Let's just say that being the 1980s, the Spinsters are doing drag as a put-on of the stereotype. Okay, drag does have more meaning to Vernon than he lets on ..... we still have another 1000 strips before Vernon recognizes it.

It's a lot to cover in a 4-panel comic strip!

Monday, April 15, 2019

(226) Murphy's Manor -- Hallowe'en Demons

Editors of local gay newspapers  -- especially bar guides  -- liked it when I gave them comic strips to celebrate holidays. Helps get the magazine in the holiday spirit. The bars,  advertising customers of the bar guides, liked it too, because they often held theme parties.

Hallowe'en was a special favorite gay holiday-- because it's so focused on parties and fancy dress. And because most Americans don't regard it as a religious holiday. I found an angle -r- by casting Jerry Falwell as a demon.

The downside for the cartoonist was the deadline. Date: October. Some of these bar guides were monthly, so the press deadline would be around September 1. That requires me to draw it in August!! I found these deadlines hard to remember -- who's got  Hallowe'en spirit in August?

The other holidays that sometimes inspired comic strip ideas were Christmas/New Year's  (of course) and Pride (late June, commemorating the Stonewall Riot.

I don't have to explain who Jerry Falwell was, do I?

Saturday, March 30, 2019

(225) Murphy's Manor -- Boys on Parade

What could be finer in life than good looking, scantily clad young men strutting past your house for your edification, while you sit in judgment of masculine pulchritude? [Straights, LBTQ&c feel to substitute your own particular objects of lust]. For Duchess, all's right in the world.

This cartoon came out of an Old West End neighborhood festival. It's as gay a neighborhood as Toledo has. I remember weekend-long parties where gay partiers hung out on the front porch and cheered the passing boys.

What, did you think I made this stuff up? (Admittedly,  I  may occasionally exaggerate just a teeny).

Monday, March 18, 2019

(224) Murphy's Manor - Am I too ... ?

Time was when gay men cared about gender roles. Maybe they still do, but it just escapes my notice. Be what you are,  and look for someone who likes it. Over the next 1,000 comic strips Vernon will gradually get the message. 

Heavens! Did I write that third panel? Yes, it's tacky. I was tempted to edit it.  Finally decided to leave it alone because it's what the character would have said in that time and place. Gay men's and women's groups were pretty separate then. Men held that  "gay" was inclusive, and women countered that they did not appreciate the atmosphere of gay men's social events. This strip is an example of what passed for gay humor. Usually Vernon goes along with it, but this time being  "effeminate" is getting him down. Sometimes even I am surprised at how much gender identity has changed. I'm also a little surprised at the foreshadowing it hints at  nearly  1,200 comic strips hence.