Monday, October 7, 2019

(231) Murphy's Manor - Book Burning

Our opponents for LGBTQ rights are still the same types as in the mid 80s, but the battle lines have sure moved! Today we readily find gay books in book stores and libraries, instead of smoldering ash heaps of burned books.

(230) Murphy's Manor - the Wisdom of Vernon

Remind me not to take sex advice from Vernon!

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.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

(222) Murphy's Manor - Safe Porn

Hey, it could happen.

(221) Murphy's Manor - Jeff Answers a Classified Ad

In the eighties, sex ads were part of almost every local gay newspaper. What has changed?

 Most gay men were closeted, As a matter of practice, they were secretive about sex. If you wanted to meet someone, what option did you have but going to the baths, going to the bars, or answering ads?

 I think we were easier to shock in the 1980s. Today we all know the sort of thing exists, but we just ignore it. Or is it just that I have aged by 35 years?

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

(220) Murphy's Manor-Close Only Counts for Hand Grenades and Sex

The AIDS crisis called for gay men to rethink sexual activity. For my part, it was just as well -- I spent Saturday nights drawing cartoons rather than cruising.

BTW, yes the character's name was inspired by the Damon Runyon character,  Harry the Horse. There's no particular point to it -- just an extra giggle for me.

Monday, March 4, 2019

(219) Murphy's Manor - Life During AIDS

In a time when we were understandably obsessed with AIDS, we still found ways to enjoy life. 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

(218) Murphy's Manor-Meet the Revered Doctor Doom

In '86 I got an unsolicited mailing from an extreme right wing organization, from Oberlin, I  think. Why in the world they put me on the mailing list for their homophobic rantings is still  a mystery to me. Murf received the same newsletter,  and the resulting comic strip contains very little fiction. I wonder if I kept a copy?

Little did I  realize where this would lead -- Murf's foil, and the strip's equivalent to Doctor Doom.

Excuse me.  Make that Reverend Doctor Doom.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

(217) Murphy's Manor - Cruising Medical Research

In the mid 1980s AIDS terrified the gay community.  The disease itself was ill-understood, let alone how to cure it. Many researchers generated press releases  on the latest (rapidly changing) theories and therapies. Local gay newspapers eagerly ran them as news items. I cribbed all the lingo below from such newspaper articles.

It's all Jeff needed to start taking an interest in his health. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

(216) Murphy's Manor: Imaginary AIDS

By 1986 AIDS was striking the gay community throughout the entire country. Every member of the gay community either had it or had close friends who died of it. And what did the right wing have to offer except "Got AIDS Yet?" What rich subject matter for a comic strip!

Gay newspapers added a new feature: obituary columns. The latest clinical info was carried widely in local papers, and eventually, testing and safe sex tips.

If these circumstances lead Vernon to become just a little bit of a hypochondriac, who can blame him? 

Editorial note: after a long hiatus, I hope to resume frequent postings of Murf strips. There are just barely a thousand comic strips to go! Till now, my first posting of these strips have been on Facebook, then shared here. I am now reversing that order. With Facebook's new censorship policies, I'll start on Blogspot and post the link in FB.