Thursday, June 29, 2017

(120) Expert Advice

The Duchess has lots of experience. Maybe there's a reason he's one of the "Sparkle Spinsters." Sometimes it's wise to listen to the voice of experience -- and do the opposite.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

(119) Finding the Right Question

I think I've stumbled upon the problem with political polls. They don't ask the right questions.  It's not "Should Ben Carson be President?" it should be  "Would you let this man cut your brain open?"

And  for Trump, the question should be "would you value his opinion as a hair stylist?"  Or better yet, "Do you want to have sex with Donald Trump?" (my answer is still no)

What are the burning questions pollsters should be asking your favorite candidates?

[Commentary written in November 2015. Although my answer is still no]

Saturday, June 24, 2017

(118) Meg for Mayor: Meg O'Keefe, Queer People's Choice

I've already commented on use of "gay" as inclusive, and have nothing more to add. Though I don't think the context is going to give offense even today.

It just goes to show that Meg does *not* eat nails for breakfast.

(117) Duchess' Dreamboat

Duchess wants one partner in bed and a different one out. Which will it be, Duchess?

In my mind as writer, he has little success with either.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

(116) Meet the Duchess

"Duchess" Duvall Capet III was one of the "Sparkle Spinster" characters I created for Gay Comix. Eventually I brought him, Vernon, and Lee  into Murphy's Manor as neighbors who lived down the street.

Duchess was a mass of sly inside jokes. The gag for this strip is one I should not have used because it makes non sense outside of Toledo. The very name "Duchess" automatically makes a gay man of my generation think of a Toledoan known as "Baroness." But Duchess is not that person. Duchess quickly developed a personality of his own. 

Then there's his name. Capet. The family name of the Bourbons. Yes, he really *is* a Duchess

And Duchess looks a bit like Ronald Reagan. Don't ask me to explain why.

Duchess is a character I kept returning to over the years. I think I found him attractive because he was totally unapologetic and lived his life strictly by him own terms, quite unconscious of what anybody else thought.

(115) Meg for Mayor: Low-Budget Political Strategy

In my Other Life That I Never Mention in this Blog, I spend my days working for a certain do-gooder cause. Much of the job is centered around motivating the apathetic public and Decision Makers to give a damn. It's an uphill struggle, and my profession sometimes seems like a bunch of people working as amateur publicists who all have degrees in other things (e.g., civil engineering).

Unfortunately we're much too professional to pull the kind of crazy stunts Meg employs for cheap publicity. It sure is tempting sometimes.

Candidates for local elective office, especially those without the support of R or D, must find DIY publicity a lonely road to walk down.

(114) Meg for Mayor: Two Men Make Babies

So it *can* be done - and engineers lead the way!

(113) Breakfast of Champions

With the Olympics continuing to get more commercial, plus all the drug scandals among athletes -- #113 is if anything better-targeted satire than when I actually drew it. Hence a snarky cartoon from me. 

With the  continuing to get more commercial, plus all the drug scandals among athletes -- #113 is if anything better-targeted satire than when I actually drew it.

(112) Liquid Genie

Remember poppers? Remember dancing on the disco dancefloor and suddenly catching a strong whiff of a pungent industrial odor? Poppers were popular in the gay community; Jerry Mills even named his comic strip after them, anticipating "Zits" by several decades.

Maybe I shouldn't speak of them in past tense. I gather they are still made and distributed in the same underground fashion as 30 years ago.

I'm assuming everyone here knows what I'm talking about?

(111) Meg for Mayor: Losing an Election with Style

Meg continues her effort to lose the Mayoral election. Everything she says about the City of Black Swamp Ohio (read: Toledo) is true. Or at least was in 1984.

Since then the City of Toledo has enacted most of the legislation the LGBT community has asked for. Still work to be done on Trans issues, but with the  exception of Bowling Green, none of the suburban communities even has a Human Rights ordinance.

Still waiting for the City of Toledo to take action on Meg's legislative agenda.

Friday, June 16, 2017

(110) A Slightly Tarnished Golden Rule

My #1 tenant was always that Murphy's Manor was a gay comic strip. The subject  matter of every strip should in some way be about being gay. It could be gay in the sexual sense, or cultural, social, or economic aspects of being gay. But the bottom line was that the point of the strip should turn on the gayness of the character(s). You should not be able to plug in heterosexual characters and have the strip still work.

And here I broke that rule. If Jeff were talking about a women as his objet d'lust, the strip would work exactly the same. All it would take would be to change a few pronouns.

One could also conclude that if all that's necessary is to change pronouns, maybe gay and straight relationships aren't that different. 

Except the plumbing, of course.

(109) Bible Bingo

One of my favorite strips. I felt like this was the first that got in-your-face political. In 1984 religion was the cold warrior used against gays, and being gay was equated to being "immoral." The back-and-forth debate over what the bible actually says about homosexuality became so routine that it could be reduced to ...

Well, read the comic strip.

A big thanks to Rev Howard Abst for the citations.

(108) Politically Correct Vowel Movements

The Lesbian Community today doesn't seem so hung up with the "man" in woman, but some people sure were in the 1980s. "Gay and Lesbian" terminology seems here to stay in the mainstream, but I think "womyn" has faded into distant memory. At least within my earshot.

(107) Show us Your Agenda

How quickly Murphy's Manor progresses. After only 107 strips here I am writing political stump speeches. By comparison Meg, running as a self-styled Lesbian crackpot, comes off rather well. When you compare her substance and sincerity who are you going to vote for?

The reporter in panel #1 was based on the Toledo Blade's public affairs reporter, Hank Harvey.

When he retired, I was asked to draw a caricature for his farewell party.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

(106) "and Lesbian," Meg, "and Lesbian!"

In 1984 we still talked about "the Gay Community," and "Gay Men and Women." In hindsight, the handwriting was on the wall. "What's  wrong with 'gay women'? It's an inclusive term," gay men argued. "Inclusive my ass!!" was the Lesbian rejoinder. By 1985-6, the universal term, even in Toledo, was "Gay Men and Lesbians" or "Lesbians and Gay Men." GLBT and finally LGBT came along later.

As to this comic strip.

A woman knows "She Has Arrived" when men dress up like her.

I haven't followed drag much, but are men dressing up like Sarah Palin? She seems like perfect female impersonator material. But maybe 
Carlie Fiorina would be more trendy. 

Hilary goes without saying. It'd be great if her Hubby became the first male First Lady by dressing up as his wife.

[Commentary written in September 2015. Are there lesbians who like to dress up as Donald Trump?]

(105) Little Black Book Review

George, the pain-in-the-ass character I invented isn't gone quite yet.

It seems odd to hear Jeff employing rapier wit, though George doesn't seem to grasp the insult. Or is it just a cartoonist airing a pet peeve?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

(104) Metric Makes a Neater Meter

The metric system comes to gay porn. If we can get used to two liter pop bottles,  why not describe male endowment in metric as well?

One thing I like about this strip is panel #3. The look of wide-eyed innocence on Jeff's face as he refers to something to which only the adjective "monster" can be ascribed.

Welcome to 1984.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

(103) Meg for Mayor Sing-Along

Meg continues her quest to become Mayor with nothing less than a campaign song (sorry, I didn't write any music for it).

I was thinking of Irving Berlin's "I Like Ike" from Call Me Madam. I used the slogan "I Like Dyke" for years...

Then something struck me: wait a minute, did I get that one from Lenny Bruce? Years earlier I'd seen the movie Lenny. Is there where I got it? I could've sworn at the time it was original. Once doubted, I stopped using the slogan. But not before I got some good mileage out of it.

A cursory google search turned up nothing about Lenny Bruce with the phrase.

(102) Meg for Mayor: Vote for Meg's Lesbian Nirvana

Meanwhile, Meg is still running for Mayor. Expecting to lose, she plans to do so spectacularly. In this strip she jerks the chain of the media and the public in general to paint a vision of her own unique lesbian nirvana.

(101) Does Saying it in Verse Make it that Much Worse?

I love writing verse for a comic strip. It adds such depth of human feeling to the narrative.

Or else reveals it as silly nonsense.

With so many gay florists, I always thought tacky bouquets were a missed business opportunity.

Also -- even Jeff,  for all his good looks and outgoing personality,  doesn't always get what he wants. 

(100) What Should Jeff Do for a Living?

Strip #100. Now there's no turning back.

I viewed it as part of my mission: that every strip was about some aspect of being gay or gay sensibility. It's what made  Murphy's Manor fundamentally different from Garfield. What Jeff did for a living was part of his character, but didn't seem like a gay topic, really. In the end I managed to twist it in that direction.

In hindsight, I think I could've done better than make him a waiter (eventually I did). I could've given him a gay porn fantasy job. Like testing underwear at a department store, or running a nude car wash service. It could even have become  a running joke, with each new job sounding like it came out of progressively contrived and bizarre porn films.

Ah well, there's always next time.

2017. Maybe now is the time.  Somebody remind me to put this in my idea file. 

(99) Culturally-Insensitive Stupidity

Politics is wonderful. It doesn't just allow you to be stupid -- it opens whole worlds of new stupidities you never dreamed possible. Here we see Stupidity #79a, Culturally-Insensitive Stupidity.

With this strip, I don't think we see George for a long time, if ever. He had his purpose and he served it.

(98) Not Exactly Lex Luther or Doctor Doom

On the other hand, here's a supporting character I intended to become a regular, but I ended up forgetting about him. He was modeled after some putz I met at a party or something. He was to be a foil to Meg from within the community -- someone who thought he had all the answers, and always had something asinine to say.

Can't remember who he's modeled after.

Just as well.

(97) Living up to Our Stereotypes

More fun with "living up to our stereotypes." 

About this time I saw the video production of Quentin Crisp's The Naked Civil Servant. His comment that after four years the dust in one's home doesn't get any worse is an influence.

Except it's not true. The dirt and grime do continue to worsen after four years, Considerably. Just don't ask how I know. Not within these walls, luckily.

You notice the oh-so-innocent look Jeff takes on whenever someone mentions porn? He does that all by himself.

(96) Being Gay in Style

I was always a kludge for style, a characteristic that rubbed off on Murf

(95) Meg for Mayor: Meet the Press

Meg finds pursuing elective office more difficult than she expected -- but for entirely different reasons. Apathy and ignorance are even stronger opponents than homophobia.

To my mind, this is one of the most memorable strips of the early days of Murf --- I would say it was one of the defining strips of the whole series. But perhaps I am a little biased, because I used this strip over and over again in publicity and presentations.

(94) Meg for Mayor: the Political Base Wears a Bath Towel

Up through the 90s at least, and even some today -- the gay community had a mania for never giving full names in print Newsletter articles always read "Kurt E. made a motion that," and "the party will be at Chris F.'s house" (no address given in print). So a petition that could be traced to show a gay man was at a place of sex business doesn't stand much of a chance.

How many signatures do you think Jeff got in six hours? What a come-on line!

The names of the bars were all parodies of Toledo hangouts. Trés Jolies= Scaramouche, Cowboy Closet=Rustler/Open Closet, The Pits=The Scenic, The Flaming Pumps=Caesar's.

My parody name for the Baths was The Tub Club. Jeff canvassed for signatures wearing nothing but a bath towel. Yes, he was at one of THOSE places. 

(93) Have a Merry Christmas this Hallowe'en

Newspapers liked seasonal cartoons. I always tried to do a Christmas and/or new year's cartoon. I didn't always succeed. Because of deadlines, a Christmas cartoon had to be drawn in September or October.