Homosexuality in comics

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Homosexuality in Comics - Part I
Welcome to the first installment of CBR's comprehensive look at homosexuality in comics. CBR News spoke with nine comics industry professionals about the portrayal of GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transsexual) characters and themes in comics, past and present. Parts I and II will introduce the nine participants. Part I features Marc Andreyko, Lillian Diaz-Przbyl,Devin Grayson, Terrance Griep and Mark Millar, and part II introduces Allan Heinberg, Scott Lobdell, Alan Moore and Greg Rucka. In addition to biographical materials, each introductory segment will also include the participant's musings on their own comics work that features GLBT characters and themes. Parts III and IV will be the article proper, in which the participants address a wide range oftopics. In part III, the participants discuss the Comics Code, the stigma of comics as a children's medium, whether homosexuality is a lifestyle choice or a genetic predisposition, and the tendency for fictional GLBT characters to be defined by their sexuality. The topics for part IV include the "gay retcon," the participants' picks for well-informed portrayals of GLBT characters in comics, andthe state of the union of homosexuality in comics. MARC ANDREYKO Writer Marc Andreyko was born and raised in Cleveland, but has resided in Los Angeles for the past ten years. As a boy, Andreyko idolized his late cousin Todd Scheetz, so when Scheetz first started getting into comics, it was a foregone conclusion that Andreyko would, too. His earliest comics memory is reading "Spider-Man" #136 on aplane ride to Boston. Andreyko's comics career began in 1994 with his Harvey Award nominated "The Lost." He has since created DC's critically acclaimed "Manhunter," and collaborated with Brian Michael Bendis on Image's "Torso" (which is slated for a movie adaptation with director David Fincher attached). Andreyko has been gay for as long as he can remember, but he didn't learn the term for it untilhe was 12. "I came out in stages," Andreyko said. And the writer always assumed that his parents were aware of his sexuality well before he found the courage to speak about it aloud. "I mean, I was a theatre major, had tons of gay friends, directed lots of gay plays at college. Heck, I even went to the march on Washington in 1993!" But it was the murder of a college student named Matthew Shepardin 1998 that convinced Andreyko to openly come out to his parents. In October of 1998, the 21-yearold Shepard was the victim of a hate crime. The youth was brutally beaten for no other reason than being gay, and he succumbed to his injuries in a hospital several days later. "I realized how lucky I was and felt like a coward not knowing they knew the truth," Andreyko said. "I mean, this young kidgot beaten to death for being gay and what was I doing?" That said, the decision did come with its share of sleepless nights. "I think all gay people have a little trepidation about coming out because you never expect the reaction you get," Andreyko said. "Hell, if Cher -- a patron saint of us 'mo's -- was mad when her daughter came out, how would my parents react?"

But Andreyko's fears turnedout to be unfounded. The writer opted to tell his parents in the form of a letter, and after they'd read it he received phone calls from both of them expressing their unconditional support. "They said I was their son and they loved me and they wanted me to be happy," Andreyko said. "My parents were and are awesome. If it bothered them, I never heard a word of it." Aside from the formal letter tohis parents, Andreyko didn't make much of a fanfare about his sexuality. "It was actually Jill Thompson (artist extraordinaire of 'Sandman,' 'Scary Godmother' and lots more) who was the first person to ask me if I was gay," Andreyko said. "It was funny. I was jarred for a minute when she asked and then I said, 'Yep, I am.' And she laughed and said she always suspected I was a 'fabulous gay man.'"...
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