7 Reasons Why “50 Most Important LGBT Comics and Characters” is a valid and important journalistic enterprise.
1 — “50 Most Important LGBT Comics and Characters” (now retitled "50 Comics and Characters That Resonate with LGBT Readers") is an opportunity to broaden your experience of reading and that is valid and important. I bet there are characters, comics and creators on this list that you hadn’t heard of. The final list includes lots of characters/comics/creators I personally didn’t know of or haven’t read and I feel educated by the experience. I encourage you to be curious and open-minded and endeavor to track down new stuff to read because of the list and people’s statements about the quality of the work. I shall endeavor to do the same.
2 — A lot of gay-themed comics and gay creators do not get any visibility because of cultural filters against them in gay, comics and mainstream publications. That this article was published in a Huffington Post website is a tremendous act of visibility for these comics and that makes Andrew Wheeler’s efforts particularly valid and important.
3 — What’s good for some gay comics is good for all and that makes this article valid and important. Folks who have limited exposure to LGBT comics will want more and will stumble on other LGBT comics they didn’t expect to want to buy and read when they pick up books from this list. Trust me, I’ve been around long enough to see how assuming that validation is scarce is not an objective truth and how validating a specific group of creators doing work on a subject spills over into validation of creators outside of that specific group.
4 — This list is one of many possible expressions of what’s worth reading and talking about. I don’t know if it’s the first LGBT comics survey article of its nature but it’s probably close; that makes it valid and important. Don’t think of this article as a limitation of the possibilities for LGBT comics and characters or a negation of your own perceptions about them. It’s meant to be enlightening and fun. Not being in it isn’t a put down. Not having a favored character in it isn’t a put down. Taste is inarguable AND it’s worth talking about. As I said earlier, any lists about what’s a work of quality or importance are bound to be incomplete and subjective; let me add that it’s not a personal attack, either.
5 — This list is meant to showcase excellence in LGBT comics and inspire it, and that is supremely valid and important in a culture where validation of excellence and its inspiration are not easily found. If you disagree with its choices, make a comic that addresses what you think is missing. I bet that if you make comics you’d like to read, other people will want to read them, too.
6 — This article is not stopping you from adding to the conversation constructively and in the spirit of sharing knowledge and good things to read. If this list makes you mad, use your queer rage to make your own list of 50 Most Important LGBT Comics Characters, publish it and promote it. I for one would read more LGBT-themed webcomics and if there was a list showcasing the 50 most important LGBT-themed webcomics; I would find it very helpful (not to mention, valid and important). So, please do it for me because I need further edjimacating in this area.
7 — Andrew Wheeler’s committee of nominators and voters for the article is broad and thoughtful. He consulted people who know what they are talking about. Erika Moen has more exposure to indy LGBT comics than I do so I treasure her opinion. If something is recommended by Christopher Butcher, owner and operator of The Beguiling in Toronto, I am going to take his recommendation seriously. I probably have read more LGBT webcomics than I would have had I not connected online with Sam Orchard. And so on. Trust me when I say Andrew made a sincere effort to make this ambitious enterprise work. We nominated characters/comics/creators based on our own criteria for inclusion and then voted on the master list of nominations. He also asked us to write a precis explaining why we voted for them so participants in the project had a voice in the article. We’re not perfect — I am still kicking myself for forgetting Leonard & Larry — but all of us tried our best. So give us credit for nerve, at least. And nerve is important and valid when it comes to articulating a cultural expression that, in my lifetime, was meant to be silent and invisible.
The article “50 Most Important LGBT Comics and Characters” is here, by the way:
Comics Pride: 50 Comics and Characters That Resonate with LGBT Readers - ComicsAlliance | Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews