Tagged: Stonewall Inn

Joe Corallo: Control The Conversation

Sound of Hammers

Honestly, it’s been hard for me this past week to think of something to talk about that isn’t the Pulse LGBTQ nightclub massacre that took place on Latin night in Orlando, FL in the early hours of June 12th which was a targeted attack against the queer and Hispanic communities using a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle. This semi-automatic rifle has been the weapon of choice for many a mass shooter. That fact was not lost on the crowd of thousands that we attended the vigil at Stonewall Inn here in Manhattan’s West Village last week.

Despite this fact, no one really expected anything to be done about gun violence. After all, we’ve experienced so many mass shootings these last few years and our government has done next to nothing about it. Certainly on a federal level. And besides, it’s an election year. You know how politicians get during election years.

Swamp ThingThen something unexpected happened. And it’s sad that it was unexpected. Democrats successfully launched a filibuster for gun control legislation. We’ll find out just how successful it was in the weeks and months ahead, but it’s a start.

All of this got me thinking about how this issue has been handled in comics. The comics medium hasn’t shied away from political topics or national tragedy in the past. Marvel Comics have tackled subjects like September 11th, 2001 in The Amazing Spider-Man, and the political climate in the United States for Marvel’s Civil War comic. Spider-Man teamed up with Planned Parenthood once to stop the villainous alien, Prodigy, who was trying to get as many teen women pregnant as he could so he could steal the babies back in the 1976. Hell, Captain America even took on the Tea Party at one point. However, you won’t find much, if any, commentary on gun violence being in and of itself an issue and an appeal for gun control with that.

DC Comics doesn’t fair much better. After the Aurora, CO shooting at a movie theater playing The Dark Knight Rises, quite a few outlets wrote about Batman being against using guns, like this piece in The New Yorker. Though it’s great that Batman and many other superheroes don’t use guns, and many situations involve them defeating villains with guns, that’s different than actually taking on our gun culture and the NRA.

The closest we may have gotten was in Alan Moore’s The Saga of Swamp Thing #45. In that issue, titled Ghost Dance, a small group of people find themselves in a house haunted by all those who have been killed by a Cambridge Repeater Rifle. It’s really wonderful commentary on the issue and if you haven’t read it you should, or at least read up more about it here.

Many smaller comics and graphic novel publishers have not addressed this issue. In fairness to many of them, this is a uniquely American issue and many smaller publishers are based outside the United States or at least publish books written outside the United States. One area of comics you do find gun violence and gun control commentary being addressed is in political cartoons. I know we don’t often think of them in the same way as we do comics, but they are part of this medium and have been around well before Marvel or DC were even being conceived. Even before The Yellow Kid.

There have been some great, some interesting, and some incredibly cynical political cartoons dealing with this topic recently. You can find some of them here. They range from liberal to conservative, from sensible to radical, and from welcoming to xenophobic. Whether you agree with the particular political cartoons you see or not, the important thing is that they are keeping the discussion going.

The comics medium needs to be a part of that discussion, just like every other communications medium. The real danger isn’t the conversation we don’t like to have, but not having that conversation at all.

Trump AR


Mike Gold: The Shoe’s On The Other Foot

Gay Pride 2015 11

My long-time friend and colleague Martha Thomases does not like wearing high heels. This, of course, is her right. I have been sympathetic to her position, even to the point of referring to it as a contemporary form of traditional Chinese foot-binding.

Gay Pride 2015 19That was until this past Sunday. Now, meh, not so much.

I’ve been to many a Gay Pride rally, including – yep, I’m bragging – the very first in New York. I’ve been to such rallies in several different cities; I’ve been to them after terrible tragedies such as the Stonewall Inn riots and, less than ten years later, the discovery and growth of HIV. Yet each and every march and rally has been fantastic fun, each one a deeply meaningful, fun-filled and life-affirming event. I have always walked away from the rallies and parades feeling much better about my fellow humans – even in my most cynical times that account for some six decades of my life.

More to the point, I always had a great time. Always.

So this year’s Gay Pride march and rally in New York City, coincidently held two days after the Supreme Court finally made marriage equality the law of the land, was something I wouldn’t miss even if I had lost my arms and legs and had to be carried in a basket. Thankfully, I was fully able to walk.

If Elon Musk had been there, he would have figured out a way to capture the energy of the event and use it to fuel a battery that would run every car in America for a year.

There’s no question the gay culture that has always affected our mainstream culture no matter how closeted it had been in the past. Several of our ComicMix columnists have commented on this point and several more may yet: right now, it is the perfect topic for a pop culture site such as this one.

The New York City parade, which attracted more than two million onlookers and, it seemed, about as many participants, was fraught with politicians and corporate sponsors. No, Mike Huckabee didn’t march, nor did any of his fellow Republican presidential candidates. That wasn’t a surprise and, besides, the parade route always was crowded. Delta Airlines, NBC/Universal, Master Card, and Coca-Cola were among the many who entered elaborate floats. So did a great many religious organizations – but certainly not all. Parents brought their children, both as onlookers and as participants.

This year’s parade marshals were two British peers: Sir Ian McKellan, also known as Magneto, Sherlock Holmes, Gandalf and others; Sir Derek Jacoby, a.k.a. Emperor Claudius and both Doctor Who’s arch-enemy The Master as well as The Doctor himself; and Ugandan LGBT activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. All around, a class-act. It was sort of like the St. Patrick’s Day parade, but without the – what’s it called again? Oh, yeah. Blatant bigotry.

The parade ran in a light rain from 36th Street and Fifth Avenue to the Stonewall Inn, a distance of nearly two miles. From my vantage points I couldn’t conduct a scientific study, but I believe there were more adults wearing high heels than not. Of course, I’m also counting the dozens (at least) of paraders wearing stilts.

Seeing all those folks marching in their fine footwear, I think I’ve got to backtrack on that foot binding thing. I figure, it must be worth it.

Gay Pride 2015 51Now… you say you don’t like gay marriage? You’re opposed to it? Somehow, it lessens the value of your marriage? Well, congratulations. You’re in luck. There is no more “gay marriage.”

Now… there is only “marriage.”

(Photo notes: At top – PBS’s rolling billboard for Vicious, starring McKellan and Jacoby. Up there on the right – part of the massive Delta Airlines presence, including a flight attendant with an astonishing hat size. Down here on the left – your humble columnist, posing with the newly transgendered crimefighter, The Shadow.)