In this unique collection, originally produced as a pre-sale Kickstarter campaign, 33 queer comics creators offer samples of their work, their stories, and their voices as both a statement of the existence of contemporary LGBTQ comics and a preview of what the future may hold for the often-overlooked world of queer comics. As editor, Rob Kirby, explains in his Introduction, Qu33r is “a snapshot of life as we see it, as only we can see it, here at the dawn of the two thousand and teens.” The pieces included in this collection are short, but that makes them no less evocative or provocative.
Diversity is perhaps the most clearly defined theme of this collection – diversity of issues, experiences, styles, approaches, and of voices. Expected issues like coming out and dealing with family reactions are included, but so too are the politics and realities of gender identity in the story of Chelsea/Bradley Manning, the dangerous realities of drugs in queer communities, dealing with HIV, and more. The stories span the range of human emotions, by turns heart-breaking, hilarious, touching, thought-provoking, and even confusing. Each piece is a literary appetizer, allowing readers to sample the possibilities of a creator’s work and seek out those creators whose work most delights.
Qu33r is an unapologetically adult collection, though many of the included stories include teenage or younger protagonists. Nudity, drug use, sexual situations, and adult language make the anthology one that would be challenging to include in teen collections. It is important to note though, that despite the adult nature of the work, this is not a collection that is designed to titillate. Instead, Qu33r attempts to shine a spotlight on voices and stories that are often unheard; as he notes, the publishing venues for queer comics are still limited, and it is a challenge to connect creators and audiences. As with any anthology, the quality and appeal of the included pieces varies, but Qu33r is a valuable and important volume because of its place in recognizing and highlighting the work of queer comics creators in the contemporary graphic novel scene.
edited by Rob Kirby
Northwest Press, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: Adult