Scholarly Works

This is where I will post a continually-updated list of scholarly works concerning sexuality in comic books that are published in peer-reviewed journals.  I make no promises about its inclusiveness, but it is a better list than any other I have found.

For a good list of articles in popular periodicals covering queer portrayals in comic books and strips, I recommend John Bullough and Michael Rhode's Comics Research BibliographyFor general scholarly works on comics, check out and the bibliographies list at the UF Comics Studies page.

Aoyama T. 1988. "Male homosexuality as treated by Japanese women writers." In Japanese Trajectory: Modernization and Beyond, eds. McCormack G and Sugimoto Y. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter Extract
Japanese literature has a long history of works on male homosexuality. They range from the tales of chigo (page-boys and children attached to various temples or shrines) in mediaeval times, through works on shudō (the way of male homosexuality) by Ihara Saikaku and others in the Edo Period, to modern novels like Forbidden Colours and Confessions of a Mask by Mishima Yukio. All were written by male authors. It is only recently that female writers began to deal with the topic in literature and in shōjo manga (Japanese girls' comics). This coincided with the rise of the feminist movement, although it was not female but male homosexuality that these writers dealt with. This paper surveys such works by female writers of both creative fields since the early 1960s. Though conventionally shōjo manga is excluded from the category of literature, there are notable similarities and mutual influence, if indirect, between the two fields in their dealing with male homosexuality. The paper discusses why the topic was chosen and how the stream changed its course from pure fantasy toward reality and from pro-paternal to anti-paternal. In the early 1970s there was a notable change of trend in shōjo manga. With writers such as Hagio Moto, Ōshima Yumiko, and Takemiya Keiko contributing their talents, and with the backing of the somewhat more understanding and ‘liberal’ editors, the genre achieved such a great improvement in its themes and techniques that claims were made that shōjo manga had reached its own ‘Renaissance’.

Avery-Natale E. 2013. "An analysis of embodiment among six superheroes in DC Comics." Social Thought and Research. 32: 71-106.

Balassone ML, Baker S, Gillmore MR, Morrison D, and Dickstein D. 1993. "Intervention to decrease the risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among high-risk heterosexual adolescents." Children and Youth Services Review. 15(6): 475-488.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD's), including HIV/AIDS, have become a major health concern for American adolescents, and professionals need to be knowledgeable about the interventions available to help teenagers decrease their risk of contracting these diseases. This paper provides an overview of the development and implementation of two theoretically and empirically grounded interventions intended for heterosexually active adolescents at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs. The interventions were developed using a process of feedback and revision that allowed for the tailoring of content to the specific target population. The steps in this process are reviewed and the specific content of each intervention is outlined. The interventions provide: basic information about HIV/AIDS and other STDs, information to counter negative beliefs about condom use, models that reinforce positive beliefs, examples of adolescents negotiating condom use with potential sexual partners, and a set of four skills steps for talking to partners about using condoms. The interventions are designed to be culturally sensitive, appropriate for both males and females, and relatively short and simple to administer so they can be delivered in a variety of settings. Preliminary data regarding the usefulness, accessibility, and acceptability of the interventions to the target population are reviewed.

Berger AA. 1991. "Of mice and men: An introduction to mouseology, or, anal eroticism and Disney." J Homosexuality. 21(1-2): 155-165.
This essay deals with two important comics, Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse and George Herriman's Krazy Kat, and considers the social, cultural, psychological and symbolic significance of the main characters and their creators. In the discussion of Disney and his work (based, in part on writings about him) it is suggested that he exhibited traits associated with anal eroticism, which raises an interesting question about the popularity of his work with the American public. The two dominant themes found in Krazy Kat are described as "the triumph of illusion over reality" and "anti-authoritarianism." In a comparison of the two characters, it is shown they are polar opposites: Mickey Mouse is sadistic, asexual, and anal while Ignatz Mouse, the hero of Krazy Kat, is playful, sexual, and phallic.

Beritela GF. 2007. "Super-girls and mild mannered men: Gender trouble in Metropolis." In The Amazing Transforming Superhero, ed. TR Wandtke. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Best M. 2005. “Domesticity, homosociality, and male power in superhero comics of the 1950s." Iowa J Cultural Studies. 6: 80-99. Retrieved from

Bolling B. 2012. “The U.S. HIV/AIDS crisis and the negotiation of queer identity in superhero comics, or, is Northstar still a fairy?” In Comic Books and American Cultural History, ed. M Pustz. New York, NY: Continuum.

Bramlett F. 2010. “The confluence of heroism, sissyhood, and camp in The Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather.” ImageTexT. 5(1). Retrieved from

Brooker W. 2011. "Hero of the beach: Flex Mentallo at the end of the worlds." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 2(1): 25-37.
This article explores the four-part mini-series Flex Mentallo, written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quitely, and published by DC Comics in 1996. With reference to queer theory, comic book history and the culture of male bodybuilding, it argues that Flex the series, and Flex the character, are more fascinating, rich and fundamentally 'queer' for their refusal either of an unambiguously straight or gay reading. It celebrates the multiple origins, possible explanations and fluid identities of this narrative in relation to the closure and censorship imposed at various times since the 1950s on the superhero genre, and suggests that the series may have led, in turn, to an opening up of alternate worlds and timelines in mainstream DC Comics continuity.

Brown L. 2006. “Yorick, don’t be a hero: productive motion in Y: The Last Man.” ImageTexT. 3(1).

Chao T. 2013. "Features of hybridization in In These Words." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 4(1): 9-29.
In These Words(ITW;in Chinese) is a comic created through a collaboration between writer Kichiku Neko and illustrator TogaQ, issued by Guilt Pleasure since 2010. The comic presents a Japanese psychiatrist and a Japanese serial killer grappling with their tangled relationship. I argue thatITWsignificantly exemplifies Boys' Love (BL) comics through its hybridization of cultures, national identities, artistic styles and genres. Using textual analyses and interviews, I studyITWas a case of ‘gloBLization’ (in Dru Pagliassotti's words) and hybridization, by exploring issues such as cross-cultural and transnational representations in the work's characterization, plot, visual representation and use of language, as well as its hybridity between BL and gay comics. The findings indicate thatITWachieves a breakthrough in the conventions of gender and genre.ITW's hybridization and ‘in-between-ness’ makes it a rare and significant work in the global BL market.

Crowell E. 2008/2009. "Scarlet carsons, men in masks: The Wildean contexts of V for Vendetta." Neo-Victorian Studies. 2(1): 17-45.
This essay traces Oscar Wilde’s iconic presence in queer comics, beginning with the 1981- 1988 series V for Vendetta and ending with the 2005 film version of the same, exploring in between the varied and surprising ways in which contemporary artists and filmmakers have taken up and transformed the ‘Wilde figure’. I expose an undercurrent in queer activist art that has, since the early 1980s, increasingly imagined Wilde as a physically imposing and ideologically incendiary agent of social transformation. In this progressive refashioning of Wilde from martyred gay saint into aesthetic super-hero, we can observe a long-defanged aspect of the Wilde figure –Aestheticism – being re-imagined by late twentieth-century artists as a potent, even violent force for social change. Therefore, V for Vendetta can be understood as offering a pop-cultural antecedent to more recent critical work within Victorian and Modernist literary studies that challenges the more traditional conception of Aestheticism as politically and socially disengaged.

Dean-Ruzicka R. 2013. "Mourning and melancholia in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic." ImageText. 7(2). Retrieved from

Dennis JP. 2002-2003. "'Veronica and Betty are going steady!': queer spaces in the Archie Comics." J Canadian Lesbian and Gay Studies Assoc. 4-5: 125-42.

Dennis JP. 2009. "'Do you like girls yet?': Heterosexual presumption, homophobia, and pubescence." Advances in Gender Research. 13: 61-79.
The purpose of this chapter is to trace the history of the cultural myth that children, especially boys, experience an abrupt heterosexual awakening during pubescence, from its origin during the 1950s to the present, with particular attention to a decrease in the age posited for such an awakening, from fourteen or fifteen to eight or nine or even earlier, until finally children are presented as heterosexually desiring from birth. Methodology -- The methodology is a content analysis of a sample of mass media texts starring or featuring prepubescent or pubescent boys, including films, television programs, comic books, comic strips, and juvenile novels, appearing in the United States between 1950 and 2007. Findings -- The rapid decrease in the age is correlated with an increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adolescents, leading to the conclusion that it results from an attempt to privilege heterosexuality by making it appear a natural, inevitable outcome of biological maturation that is absent until puberty, whereas at the same time addressing homophobic insistence that no juvenile character be presented as gay by ensuring all characters, regardless of age, express heterosexual desire. Research limitations/implications -- The study is limited to a single causal factor, but it illustrates a complex cultural phenomenon, a shift in the way childhood is constructed, so there are doubtless other factors that should be explored. It is also necessary to explore why the change from presumed pubescent heterosexual awakening to presumed constitutional heterosexuality occurred at different rates depending on the race and social class of the character and the medium presented.

Franklin III ME. 2001. “Coming out in comic books: letter columns, readers, and gay and lesbian characters.” In Comics & Ideology, eds. MP McAllister, EH Sewell, Jr., and I Gordon. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Frasure D. 2013. "V for Valerie: Lesbianism in V for Vendetta." In Cultural Excavation and Formal Expression in the Graphic Novel, eds. JC Evans and T Giddens. Freeland, UK: Inter-Disciplinary Press.
Scholars of Alan Moore and David Lloyd‘s V for Vendetta have correctly pointed out the novel‘s overt political themes, such as negotiating anarchy vs. monarchy and the efficacy and morality of violence and terrorism to achieve anti-totalitarian goals. However, many critics have ignored or misinterpreted the work‘s overt focus on homosexuality. As Alan Sinfield has noted, critics make texts like V for Vendetta safe by making them about everything other than lesbianism. Thus, significant details that drive both plot and idea have been overlooked. V for Vendetta investigates how institutional heterosexism is reified by hegemonic norms, militarism, psychologization, and discursive power expressed and resisted at multiple sites between normal interlocutions, confessions, and V‘s obscure and intertextual speeches. By exploring the way institutional heterosexism is reified by the above-listed elements, Foucauldian power dynamics of expression and simultaneous resistance explain the way heterosexism leads to V‘s sexual and gender revolution.

Frohard-Dourlent H. 2012. “When the heterosexual script goes flexible: public reactions to female heteroflexibility in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books.” Sexualities. 15:718-38.
The phenomenon of heteroflexibility, wherein a heterosexual character engages in same-sex intimacy, provides a good example of how modern narratives of sexuality can contain promises of subversion yet also shore up heteronormative schemas. To fully understand how the notion of heteroflexibility functions to broaden and/or restrict our understandings of (female) sexuality, we need to examine how these narratives are taken up by the audience. This article explores this tension by analysing how readers reacted to a heteroflexible storyline featured in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books. By examining how this story was interpreted, rejected and/or embraced by readers, I show that readers who disliked the heteroflexible storyline as well as those who enjoyed it draw on liberal discourses that obscure how heteronormativity operates. This in turn limits heteroflexibility's potential for disrupting dominant heteronormative discourses.

Gillmore MR, Balassone ML, Richey C, Baker S, and Lowry C. 1992. "The process and pitfalls of developing a culturally relevant curriculum to reduce AIDS among sexually active teenagers: The TAKE 5 Project" [Conference Paper]. Presented at annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
Several studies have shown that adolescents have reasonably high levels of knowledge about Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) transmission and prevention, yet they still engage in risky sexual activities. In response to this dilemma, a theoretically and empirically grounded intervention which went beyond presenting facts and figures was developed and tested. The curriculum provides basic information about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but it also attempts to counter negative beliefs about condom use, reinforce positive ones, and includes skills training for discussing and negotiating condom use with a partner. The materials are intended for hetereosexually active adolescents at high risk of contracting AIDS and other STDs. The curriculum was based on the theory of reasoned action and social learning and cognition theories. The curriculum consists of three components: a comic book which presents basic information; a videotape in which teenage actors model skills for negotiating condom use with a partner; and a group skills training in which skills are modeled by peer facilitators and where participants engage in role playing and receive feedback on their performances. The skills training curriculum is intended for small groups from 6 to 12 adolescents and is led by an adult and two peer facilitators. The curriculum was designed to be appropriate for African American and white hetereosexually active adolescents. Reactions from the earliest study participants have been uniformly positive.

Gillmore MR, Morrison DM, Richey CA, Balassone ML, Gutierrez L, and Farris M. 1997. "Effects of a skill-based intervention to encourage condom use among high risk heterosexually active adolescents." AIDS Education & Prevention. 9(1 Suppl): 22-43.
OBJECTIVES: In this article we describe the development and testing of three behavioral interventions to reduce the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases among heterosexually active adolescents. METHODS: The interventions include a comic book, a videotape, and a group skill training curriculum that emphasize skill development--for communicating and negotiating condom use with partners, in addition to providing basic information. Participants included 228 youths sampled in juvenile detention and 168 youths sampled from public health STD and other similar clinics. The samples included both young men and women, and were comprised of African American and European American adolescents, ages 14-19. RESULTS: Examination of the relative efficacy of the interventions at three and six months following intervention show very few differences among conditions, despite the fact that the interventions contained most of the elements that previously have been defined as essential for effective interventions. CONCLUSIONS: In the discussion, we consider possible reasons for this outcome and make recommendations for future research.

Gregory C. 2012. "In the gutter: Comix theory." Studies in Comics. 3(1): 107-128.
Comix illustrate queerness, literally, both in the comics 'gutter' (the space between panels), and in the 'stutter' of the repeated frame. The gutter in comics makes clear that narrative can continue (in the form of reproductive futurity) only inasmuch as we continue to suture together gaps in narrative (the gaps of queer jouissance) through the 'imperative of figuration' and the compulsion to create meaning. The gutter and repetition stand in relation to deconstructionist ideas about the slippage inherent in meaning, but also have implications for our understanding of Lacanian orders (see David Ault's work on comics and Lacan). The comics medium, with its unique spatial/temporal relation, provides a visual metaphor for time, and in doing so offer ways for readers to envision time and space differently; because queerness is placed in opposition to institutions of linear time (family, heterosexual futurism, reproduction, capitalism), it challenges 'reproductive temporality' and instead posits new temporalities - ones that refuse forward movement through the institutions of generational inheritance and instead fuck with the family tree. Queer/comix temporalities fold back, repeat, stutter, and offer new ways of relating to time that are not driven by a reproductive imperative. In the literal illustration of the gutter/closure, the meaning/nonmeaning relation through the mechanisms of panel, gutter, and frame, comics make visible the queer element in all artistic media, and thus make visible the instability of any symbolic investment.

Greyson D. 2007. “GLBTQ content in comics/graphic novels for teens.” Collection Building. 26(4): 130-34.

Harrison, MP. 2009. "Comics as text and comics as culture: Queer Spain through the lens of a marginalized medium" [Dissertation]. University of California, Irvine.

Harrison M. 2009. "The queer spaces and fluid bodies of Nazario's Anarcoma." Postmodern Culture. 19(3).

Harrison MP. 2011. "From panel to page: Queer superhero iconography in the poetry of Álvaro Tato and the narrative of Lluís Fernàndez." J Fantastic in the Arts. 22(3): 347-362.
This article examines the use of the iconography of superhero comics in contemporary queer Spanish poetry and narrative as a means of concisely conveying issues related to identity and gender expression. Álvaro Tato's love sonnet "Robin" uses superhero iconography to question readers' expectations while drawing on many conventions of the genre, such as the dual identity, sidekick, and mask, as signifiers of queer identity. Lluís Fernàndez's camp novel Espejo de amor y lujo similarly draws on superhero comics iconography through references to Superman, Atom Ant, and Wonder Woman to comment on issues of subjectivity and empowered masculinity and femininity.

Harvey J. 1997. "Design of a comic book intervention for gay male youth at risk for HIV." J Biocommunication. 24(2): 16-24.
The prototype of a safer-sex comic book was designed in response to the need for HIV intervention material targetting gay male youth in Toronto. This prototype depicted three separate stories, each based on recorded interviews, and each revolving around the negotiation of condom use between a different pair of characters. The characters were based on observations of respondents. The prototype's plausibility, relevance and attractiveness were assessed through focus groups and an evaluation questionnaire. Results indicated that most readers found the depicted stories pleasing, realistic and personally relevant. Readers found fault with the transitions between the stories and with certain character elements. Suggested solutions and comments about condom use served as directions for further development of the prototype into a finished product.

Howard Y. 2012. "Politically incorrect, visually incorrect: Bitchy Butch's unapologetic discrepancies in lesbian identity and comic art." J Popular Culture. 45(1): 79-98.

Iolagouine (aka Riot Coco). 2009. "It's Raining Dykes (II pleut des gouines): A queer and feminist comix zine." Signs. 35(1): 67-74.
My work consists of installations, videos, drawings, and silk screenings, but I usually privilege drawing. This is a conscious choice: drawing is simple, cheap, sensible, and easy to read. I consider that, as an artist, I have to be part of the building of alternatives. That's why my works are material realizations of DIY values: skill sharing, self-representation, and alternative spaces and moments. I have been making zines for five years. Zines are a political medium; they are created by those who cannot find and speak for themselves in mainstream media. We, queer and feminist, are hungry for communication and expressive media. And zines are easy to make, they travel, they're shared, they're cheap, they're easy to copy, they welcome intimate reading in our bedrooms, they allow us to speak to unknown people, they are beautiful and radical.... They are a form of art that agrees with what I want as a queer person, and I'm not the only one: feminist and queer zines are growing in numbers and richness. I like zines because they give me a space to share my experience and to break some classic art rules, like a piece's oneness, straight aesthetics, high prices, and artist deification.

Jones JW. 2013. "Cartoons and AIDS: Safer sex, HIV, and AIDS in Ralf Konig's comics." J Homosexuality. 60(8): 1096-1116.
Ralf Konig is the best-selling author of comic book novels, and his stories of gay men coming to terms with contemporary society have resonated with hundreds of thousands of German readers and film-goers. Konig's characters, like the author himself, have great difficulty adhering to the demand that condoms be used. The article describes how Konig develops this theme through a variety of works from 1985 through 1999, and analyzes the intertwined relationships among the author, his characters, and the society that is both portrayed in his works and that reads his works. Adapted from the source document.

King D. 2011. "Visual transgressions and queer representations in Gaiman's A Game of You." Int J Comic Art. 13(2): 627-641.
The article explores visual transgressions and queer representations in the comic series "Sandman," by Neil Gaiman. Many of the critical essays focused on Gaiman's stories are reportedly concerned with applying literary theory to graphic novels and comics, neglecting the conflation of images and text. Almost each of the 10 volumes that comprise "The Sandman" is made up of queer characters and foregrounds queer storylines.

Kirk AJ. 2009. "Sometimes you'll feel like an outcast: Using Superman to interrogate the closet." [Dissertation]. Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Kraemer, CH. 2008. "The erotic fringe: Sexual minorities and religion in contemporary American literature and film" [Dissertation]. Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
In the wake of the sexual revolution, the Christian Right has waged a religiously-based campaign for pre-1960s gender norms and against gay rights. This project treats works in which sexual minorities respond by constructing the erotic as a source of sacred experience, one superior to that offered by conservative Protestant Christianity and Mormonism: the novel The Fifth Sacred Thing (Starhawk, 1993), the cult film Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001), the play and film Angels in America (Tony Kushner, 1992/2003), and the graphic novel Blankets (Craig Thompson, 2003). My method is historically contextualized close reading that also considers the formal advantages of hybrid media in communicating a controversial message. I introduce The Fifth Sacred Thing as part of an American tradition of sexually alternative millennial communalism. This communalism, however, is always in dialogue with an individualistic Emersonian religion of the self, as in Hedwig's tale of Gnostic personal transformation. Hedwig (in the tradition of The Rocky Horror Picture Show [1975]) demonstrates this individual/communal dialectic in its fans' media-centered group practices. Next, I turn to Angels as a failed queer utopian vision in which neither its political agenda nor its religious eroticism is fully realized. Finally, I examine individual liberation in Blankets, which demonstrates how strict, religiously-based sexual and gender roles can create closeted sexual minorities even among heterosexuals. Against the Religious Right's focus on the nuclear, blood family, these works privilege individual transformation, chosen families, and utopian communities liberated and then bound together by erotic experience. Engaging the power of religious rhetoric in American culture, they mark a rhetorical shift by sexual minorities to speak of sexual liberation not purely as a secular matter of civil rights and cultural norms, but rather as a sacred mission that promises individual and social transformation. The effectiveness of hybrid media in engaging audiences helps to explain the strong responses---ranging from censorship efforts to the founding of new spiritual communities---that readers and viewers have had to these works.

Lecker MJ. 2007. “Why can’t I be just like everyone else?: a queer reading of the X-Men.” IJOCA. Spring 2007: 679-687.
An academic queer reading of the X-Men has never been attempted, but there are a number of reasons why the comic book superheroes are conducive to such an interpretation. Indeed, the experiences of the fictional characters and queer youth share three commonalities: Firstly, the manifestations of their differences become apparent at similar times and can happen in similar situations. Secondly, the milieu inhabited by the X-Men offers queer youth sight of a world where individuals who are different and oppressed are the ones who have greater physical power. Thirdly, the X-Men narratives describe a world where older mutants watch over younger mutants and guide them into adulthood, a situation that does not exist in the actual world, where there tend to be no accessible openly queer adults in young people's lives.

Lendrum R. 2004. “Queering super-manhood: the gay superhero in contemporary mainstream comic books.” J Arts, Sciences, and Technology. 2(2): 69-73.

Lucena Dalmaso R. 2013. "Queering the gendered body: Performances of masculinity and femininity in Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home." Int J Comic Art. 15(2): 559-578.
The article discusses the use of the concepts of masculinity and femininity in Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir "Fun Home: a Family Tragicomic." In the comic book, the protagonist deals with the processes of coming out and of finding, at the same time, that her father was a closeted homosexual, a discovery which may or may not have led to his suicide.

Lunsing W. 2006. "Yaoi Ronso: Discussing depictions of male homosexuality in Japanese girls' comics, gay Comics and gay pornography." Intersections. 12.
Examines how gay male characters are portrayed in the "BLB" (boy loves boy) genre of shojo manga (girls' comic books)in Japan, & how such depictions compare to images in gay manga written by & for males & in gay pornographic videos & literature. The analysis is placed in the context of the yaoi ronso, ie, the dispute about the politics of depictions of male homosexuality in shojo manja. The history of BLB shojo manga is traced & its leading writers/artists are profiled. Using an anthropological perspective, developments in the BLB shojo manga genre are chronicled & the movement toward the depiction of more realistic & contemporary situations in Japanese society is analyzed. Issues of homophobia, misogyny, rape, & violence across the manga genres & in gay pornography are also addressed & ways that stories & images of male homosexuality are used in shojo manga.

Mandel S. 2003. "Mask and closet; or, 'under the hood': metaphors and representations of homosexuality in American superhero comics after 1985" [Thesis]. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from
An examination of the changing representation of male homosexuality in American superhero comics between the years 1986 and 2003. The thesis gives some theoretical attention to problems of epistemology, and the uses of connotative as opposed to denotative representation and reading. It traces the history of the discourse to the paranoia and anxiety generated by Fredric Wertham's 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, which has led to an anxiety about "the gay-Batman reading" that has affected the shape of the genre's evolution. In Part One, the thesis examines the ways in which superhero comics have historically discussed homosexuality, using metaphors or symbolic "tropes," which variously imagine the superhero as a costume fetishist, as flamboyant, as sadomasochistic, as suspiciously homosocial, or as a pedophile. In Part Two, close readings of contemporary instances of gay characters in superhero texts offers insights into current trends in representation. The close readings examine Northstar, of the Marvel comics Alpha Flight and Uncanny X-Men; Apollo and the Midnighter, of the comics Stormwatch and The Authority, variously published by Wildstorm and DC Comics; and the character Terry Berg in Green Lantern, published by DC Comics.

Manea D. 2012. “A town at war: hybridity and gender in Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man.” [Inter]sections. 5(17).

Matsuuchi A. 2015. "'Happily Ever After': The Tragic Queer and Delany’s Comic Book Fairy Tale." African American Review. 48(3): 271-287.
In this article, I discuss the formulations of queer futurity and normativity in Samuel Delany’s autobiographical graphic novel Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York, drawn by artist Mia Wolff. The love story that is depicted via an interplay of text and imagery resists clichéd homonormative recasting of existing familial templates and questions how expectations queer happiness are bounded by a persistent set of social norms (race, class, education, and income) and their intersections. I also suggest how happy endings can function as a renegotiation of the utopian impulse into something more complex and realistic.

Medhurst A. 1991. "Batman, deviance, and camp." In The Many Lives of Batman: Critical approaches to a Superhero and His Media, ed. RE Pearson. London: Routledge.

McAllister MP. 1992. “Comic Books and AIDS.” J Popular Culture. 26(2): 1-24.

McBean S. 2013. "Seeing in Alison Bechdel's Fun Home." Camera Obscura. 28(84): 102.
Alison Bechdel's autobiographical graphic novel, Fun Home (2006), intricately weaves together the author's coming-out story with her family's history, particularly the story of her father's closeted queer sexuality and possible suicide. In its exploration of family history, queer desires, and larger American historical events, Bechdel's novel deals with themes of trauma, memory, and historical narrative. The novel has been embraced for the queer way in which it approaches her family archive — it refuses to settle on one understanding of the truth of Bechdel's father, his sexuality, and the author's relationship to him, and instead insists on piecing together the past from a variety of angles. This article focuses on how the queer qualities of contingency and partiality that Fun Home produces around sexuality and the Bechdel family's history is an effect of the author's use of the visual possibilities of the graphic genre. Mapping Bechdel's coming-of-age story as a narrative about coming to see, this article traces the importance of vision in young Alison's gender identity, her relationship to her father, and her ability to posthumously “see” her father through family photographs. This article thus draws out the ways in which Bechdel represents the visual field as a source of both restriction and queer pleasure, the family as a site of both normalizing and queer looks, and the inevitable partiality of what she is able to see.

McLelland MJ. 2000. "The love between 'beautiful boys' in Japanese women's comics." J Gender Studies. 9(1): 13-25.
This paper investigates why the love between 'beautiful youths' (bishoonen) should have become one of the most recurrent romantic tropes in comics both written by and aimed at Japanese women. I argue that women writers draw upon mainstream representations of homosexual men as somehow feminine, but treat this stereotype favourably, creating the figure of the 'beautiful youth', an androgynous being who possesses a feminine sensibility and yet experiences all the advantages of a male body.

Merino A. 2010. "Feminine Latin/o American identities on the American alternative landscape: from the women of Love and Rockets to La Perdida." In The Rise of the American Comics Artist, eds P Williams and J Lyons. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press.

Meyer U. 2013. "Drawing from the body – the self, the gaze and the other in Boys’ Love manga." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 4(1): 64-81.
The body and the gaze are of high importance in all erotic visual media, including Boys’ Love (BL) manga. But in contrast to many other visual media, comics and cartoons do not just show the human body as it appears, but as it is experienced or fantasized. Scott McCloud formulated a basic theory of the gaze in comics when he stated that, while gazing at another person, one sustains a constant awareness of one's own face, but that this mind picture is only a sketchy arrangement. Comics reflect that twofold pattern of the gaze by employing different drawing styles for the interior mind picture of the self and the exterior view of the other. This paper addresses how McCloud's model of the gaze plays out on a strictly visual level when it is applied to erotic situations in different types of comics and manga. Within that context, I ask about the form and location of the gaze in BL manga, an erotic medium that is by definition (mostly) drawn by female artists for a (mostly) female audience, but with an almost exclusively male cast, making it a textbook example of the ‘female gaze’ at male erotic objects.

Molesworth J. 2013. "Comics as Remediation: Gilbert Hernandez's Human Diastrophism.” ImageText. 7(1). Retrieved from

Monroe S. 2011. "Sex and power in 'Absent Friends': An essay." Int J Comic Art. 13(2): 714-724.
The article explores sex and power in the second installment of the comic series "Watchmen," titled "Absent Friends." "Absent Friends" reportedly highlights intricate links between sexuality and power in the superhero genre. One character, Eddie Blake, is said to represent a collision of two of the superhero genre's most controversial conventions, the sexual objectification of female superheroes and the homoerotic undercurrents of men.

Mosse HL. 1966. "The influence of mass media on the sex problems of teenagers." J Sex Research. 2(1): 27-35.
The process of sexual maturation is only partly an unconscious one. It is deeply influenced by soc factors, MM constituting one such factor. Sex conflicts of teenagers center around 3 main areas: (1) what sex activity is permitted, where &with whom, (2) conflicts about masturbation; & (3) doubts about whether they are normal sexually (anatomically & emotionally). This leads to a variety of hypochondriacal preoccupations. Many teenagers fear that they might be homosexual. MM, esp advertisers, exploit these concerns. Historically, comic books were the first mass medium directed exclusively at children. They show erotically stimulating picture stories, most of them dealing with violence & crime. They arouse interest & excitement by a combination of violence with sex. M & F homosexual themes abound, only thinly disguised. F's are witch-like, deceitful, sadistic, castrating. Marriage or fam life do not exist. Masturbation is frequently the type of response provoked, & unhealthy masturbation fantasies are aroused. This may not by itself cause sexual deviation, but it helps to fix & condition sexual reactions. Case examples are given. TV & teenage magazines have been greatly influenced by comic books. Legal efforts for the protection of children from harmful MM content are discussed. It is concluded that this type of MM content makes it unnecessarily difficult for teenagers to achieve healthy sex activity which will not harm them or their partner, to learn to discipline their drives, &to get a decent soc orientation.

Murray R. 2011. "The feminine mystique: feminism, sexuality, motherhood." J Graphic Novels and Comics. 2(1): 55-66.
This article explores the depiction of the Marvel Comics' villain and shapeshifter, Mystique, over her 30 years plus career. The article is devoted to a feminist perspective of Mystique's representation as a 'monstrous' mother who subverts patriarchal authority; the portrayal of her 'unspoken' lesbian relationship with her lover, Destiny; and her depiction as the 'bad' feminist in opposition to the 'good' feminist, Ms Marvel. As a female; lesbian; mutant; and villain, she is alluring, openly sexual, and enigmatic, inciting ambivalence. As a figure without an origin story she is unknown and is continually trying to be 'fixed' by writers and readers alike. As a shapeshifter Mystique evokes ideas of flow, grotesqueness, abjection, and otherness - the classic marginalized female/feminine other.

Nagaike K. 2009. "Elegant Caucasians, amorous Arabs, and invisible others: Signs of foreigners in Japanese BL manga." Intersections. 20.
In contemporary Japanese society, manga (comic magazines and books) generally represent a dominant force in constituting Japanese popular culture. Japanese manga discourse provides various theoretical perspectives from which we can analyze controversial aspects of the Japanese socio/cultural environment, precisely because manga, as products of Japanese popular culture, reflect the political, ideological, and socio/cultural characteristics of contemporary Japanese society. Fredrik L. Schodt says that 'it is no exaggeration to say that one cannot understand modern Japan today without having some understanding of the role that manga play in society.' During the early 1970s, many Japanese women started writing/reading novels and comic books that featured narratives of male-male romance and/or eroticism, and nowadays this genre of male homosexual narrative, commonly called BL, has been widely acknowledged as a significant component of Japanese popular culture. BL, which stands for Boys' Love, is a term coined during the 1990s to characterise female fantasies concerning idealised male homosexual relationships. This genre has also been defined by other terms, such as yaoi (pornographic narratives that disregard traditional narrative structures), bishnen mono (narratives about beautiful boys), tanbi mono (aesthetic narratives), and June mono (named after June magazine, which first emerged during the 1970s as a pioneering venue for female fantasies of male homosexuality). This specific genre of female fantasies of male homosexuality has also been discussed in academic contexts, both in Japan and abroad. Here, my primary focus involves an analysis of the ways in which the concept of foreignness in BL manga has been constructed and abused, in relation to both the privileged and the (supposedly) disempowered other. As well, the fact that the descriptions of foreign characters in BL manga are invariably associated with a female psychological orientation that fantasises these foreign characters will be considered. It will be seen that female BL authors/readers privilege specific races -- ethnic variety in BL foreign characters is very limited -- and disprivilege other races as absent others. Following the insights of post-colonial discourse, I shall demonstrate how the concept of the foreign other in BL manga has been constructed by means of racial stereotyping; in this way, the concept becomes directly associated with the power-knowledge correlation.

Nguyen M. 2003. “Queer cyborgs and new mutants: race, sexuality, and prosthetic sociality in digital space.” In Asian ethnicity, nationalism, and cyberspace, eds. RC Lee and SC Wong.

Palmer-Mehta V and Hay K. 2005. “A superhero for gays?: gay masculinity and Green Lantern.” J American Culture. 28(4): 390-404.

Panuska SM. 2013. "The bulge that dare not speak its name: Camp, clones, and the evolution of the gay superhero" [Thesis]. Michigan State University. Retrieved from
In the last decade, there has been dramatic increase in the number of homosexual superheroes, or hero-characters that proclaim their same-sex status within comic book panels. While there is certainly an impulse to view this trend as step forward for political and social equality for the gay community, there is a need to consider both the compressive effects of commercialization on gay representation and how purportedly gay characters resonate culturally for gays. Cultural gayness, it will be argued, goes beyond a same-sex object of desire. Accordingly, camp, as a gay practice of appropriation, will be examined to demonstrate a how a particular character-type with origins in gay clone pornography has certain similarities to the modern day homosexual superhero.

Pascal TL. 2013. "Girl power gone sour: Issues in discussing romantic love between girls in Japanese comics." Int J Comic Art. 15(2): 734-742.
The article presents information on Japanese comics that depict same-sex relationships between girls. In the 1920s, close female friendships resulting in lesbianism were considered normal among sexologists in Japan. In her book "Passionate Friendship: The Aesthetics of Girls' Culture in Japan," author Deborah Shamoon states that the close bond between two girls should not be confused with homosexuality.

Perez-Sanchez G. 2007. Queer Transitions in Contemporary Spanish Culture: From Franco to La Movida. Albany, NY: State Univ of New York Press.

Peters BM. 2003. “Qu(e)erying comic book culture and representations of sexuality in Wonder Woman.” CLCWeb 5(3): Article 6

Petrovic P. 2011. “Queer resistance, gender performance, and ‘coming out’ of the panel borders in Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman: Elegy.” J Graphic Novels and Comics. 2(1): 67-76.
Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III's Batwoman: Elegy recasts the introductory artistic depiction of Kate Kane (Batwoman) from the limited series 52, resisting the codification of this lesbian character from the former series' heteronormative visual designs by actively queering her character. This paper, drawing from Thierry Groensteen and gender theorists, analyzes how Williams utilizes an ostentatious visual design so that he and Rucka can retrace the censored scenario of Kate's sexual identity. In its experimental deployment of page borders and other artistic elements, Batwoman: Elegy offers a queering of the traditional comics form and radically challenges earlier incarnations of the character's heteronormativity. It is argued that this text and the recent Batwoman #0 allow Kate to fluidly operate against gender norms, and the text's use of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy allows it to both situate Kate's political resistance and to interrogate the abuses caused by this restrictive policy.

Pruitt DC. 2013 "It rhymes with lust?: Matt Baker, Frederic Wertham and the ironic politics of race, sex and gender in the Golden Age." Conference paper presented at The Graphic Novel, 2nd Global Conference. Retrieved from

Raymond J. 2012. "'I love the mayhem more than the love': Homosocial masculinity in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos." Int J Comic Art. 14(1): 463-473.
The article discusses the homosocial relationship seen in the comic series "Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos." The degradation of women such as Corporal Dugan's reference to female relatives in demeaning the Nazis is presented to invoke academic scholar Eve Kosofsky-Sedgwick's characterization of homosocial bonding. The conflation of masculine and feminine in the scene depicting the Howlers preparing for a night out is revealed to contrast homosocial from homosexual.

Rerick M. 2012. "Queering the museum: Challenging heteronormative space in Bechdel's Fun Home." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 3(2): 223-230.
In this paper I argue that Allison Bechdel's memoir/graphic novel Fun Home challenges heteronormative notions of sexuality by using the graphic novel genre as a museum-like space to present gay and lesbian culture. Bechdel uses the subjectivity of memoir to subjectify the museum-like space of her book, which challenges Frederic Jameson's heteronormative notion that postmodern space is highly objectified and without subjective possibilities. I use queer theorists, notably Judith Halberstam, to counter Jameson's notions of heteronormative, objective postmodern theory and offer a critique that postmodern space can also be a site for queer counterpublics, or a place for counter-cultural and subjective activity that challenges hetero-norms, or ingrained cultural norms aligned along patriarchic dictation. Finally, I argue that Bechdel's national bestseller gives voice to the usually suppressed gay and lesbian cultural experience, and that through the graphic novel and memoir genres, a large and popular audience hears this voice. Hence, Fun Home becomes a site where suppressed and dominant cultures collide.

Richards G. 2012. “Everybody’s graphic protest novel: Stuck Rubber Baby and the anxieties of racial difference.” In Comics and the U.S. South, eds. B Costello and QJ Whitted. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

Rifas L. 1991. "AIDS educational comics." Reference Services Review. 19(2): 81-87.
Cartooning is an industry, a subculture, and a field. Educational cartooning is none of these. It is a flexible, popular art that is constantly being reinvented by diverse people working in isolation from each other. As an educational cartoonist, I have been aware of this lack of communication for years. Recently, Michigan State University's Randy Scott, the world's preeminent comic book librarian, sent me a list of the comic books about AIDS that are included in the Educational Materials Database of the National AIDS Information Clearinghouse. (For addresses of materials discussed in this article, see sidebar 1.) I was astounded. As of June 1990, their list included 46 titles from almost three dozen sources. After years of keeping an eye out for AIDS education comics, I had found out about only 15 of these titles.

Risner J. 2010. “’Authentic’ Latinas/os and queer characters in mainstream and alternative comics.” In Multicultural Comics: From Zap to Blue Beetle, ed. FL Aldama. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Royal DP. 2013. "The Worlds of the Hernandez Brothers." ImageTexT. 7(1). Retrieved from

Saxey E. 2006. "Desire without closure in Jaime Hernandez' Love and Rockets." ImageTexT. 3(1). Retrieved from

Sanders JS. 2010. "Theorizing sexuality in comics." In The Rise of the American Comics Artist, eds P Williams and J Lyons. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press.

Schneider CW. 2010. "Young daughter, old artificer: Constructing the Gothic Fun Home." Studies in Comics. 1(2): 337-358.
Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (2006), an account of Bechdel's life with her father, is one of the most renowned contemporary autobiographical comics. Despite its relatively recent publication, it has already attracted much scholarly attention. Critics have highlighted the text's complexity, focussing particularly on Bechdel's diligent graphic attempt to reconstruct her family life, as well as her recurrent intertextual references, and the examination of gender roles entailed by her and her father's respective homosexuality. This article will propose another point of access to Bechdel's intricately constructed family story: putting it in the context of the Gothic mode. At first glance, connecting the perceived authenticity of the autobiographic mode with the obvious artifice of Gothic fiction seems counter-intuitive. However, Fun Home offers more than one way of reading it as a Gothic narrative: not only are there distinctly Gothic elements in Bechdel's description of her family life and home, its basic structure circles around themes of death, trauma, Otherness and the past, ideas central to the Gothic. In addition to analysing these parallels, the article will demonstrate how the very act of autobiographical remembrance and reconstruction can be perceived as Gothic. Here, special attention will be paid to notions of construction, artifice and art, which become important in a threefold way: as self-conscious thematic instances in Bechdel's narrative, as prevalent elements of understanding the self in postmodern autobiography theory, and as inherent traits of the Gothic mode. On this theoretical background, it will be suggested that the Gothic can be used as a valuable concept for investigating complex and self-aware life narratives, taking the formation, ambiguities and limits of their representation into account. This reading is especially relevant for the unique ways of self-portrayal within the medium of comics and applicable to other prominent graphic autobiographies, interpreting their multi-faceted representation of past traumata.

Schott G. 2010. "From fan appropriation to industry re-appropriation: the sexual identity of comic superheroes." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 1(1): 17-29.
In his controversial text Seduction of the Innocent, Fredric Wertham's (1954) description of Batman and Robin as a 'wish dream of two homosexuals living together' (Lendrum 2004, p. 70) represents one of the first published queer readings of superhero characters. This text signalled the commencement of, and subsequent intense interest in, the way superhero characters often portray a 'camp' sensibility (Medhurst 1991) representative of a queer performative identity (Butler 1993). This is most evident in online fan-communities where the sexual identity of popular superheroes are continuously explored and debated in discussion forums and expressed through the production of slash fiction and queer-themed fan art. The ambiguity inherent in superhero comics has traditionally allowed and encouraged fans to operate as 'textual poachers' (Jenkins 1992) appropriating these texts for their own means. Today, however, there exist a new generation of comic book superheroes, in the form of established industry-penned 'out' gay characters. This paper examines the impact and meaning of the shift from the 'implied' to 'actual' in terms of fans' acceptance, resistance and desire to further appropriate comic texts.

Sewell Jr. EH. 2001. “Queer characters in comic strips.” In Comics & Ideology, eds. MP McAllister, EH Sewell, Jr., and I Gordon. New York, NY: Peter Lang.

Shyminsky N. 2011. “’Gay’ sidekicks: queer anxiety and the narrative straightening of the superhero.” Men and Masculinities. 14: 288- 308.
In comic book and movie narratives that are dominated by figures of heroic masculinity, the male superhero sidekick is typically a sexually ambiguous character who performs alternative modes of masculinity. This article argues that these alternative masculinities serve primarily to obscure the anxiety that is endemic to the superhero's own problematic identity and sexuality, effectively 'straightening' the central narrative and preserving the superhero as a beacon of heteronormativity by projecting queer desire or fear entirely on to the 'gay' sidekick. Ironically, the seemingly straightened primary narrative-and hero-remains beholden to the same 'gay' sidekick that it marginalizes. The efficacy of these sidekicks is further discussed and detailed with specific reference to the popular superhero sidekicks Robin (sidekick to Batman) and Jimmy Olsen (sidekick to Superman).

Singer M. 2002. "'Black Skins' and White Masks: Comic Books and the Secret of Race." African American Review. 36(1): 107-119.
Nor is this psychological split unique to racial groups. In his book Disidentifications (1999), Jose Esteban Munoz offers a theory of identity which is not limited to race, but also considers other distinctions such as sexuality and gender. Attempting to both refute and balance essentialist and social-constructivist narratives of identity formation, Munoz regards identity as "a site of struggle where fixed dispositions clash against socially constituted definitions" (6), a conflict and interaction between the internal and external visions of the self. In a sense, Munoz offers a more poststructurally savvy but equally dialectical version of Du Bois's account of minority identity formation; Fanon, too, refuses to relegate race to either an "essence" or a social construction and attempts to balance both in his existential phenomenology. All three writers structure identity as a conflict between or emergence from the individual and social conceptions of the self. This dual or dialectical origin leads easily to divided identities, especially when the conflict between the individual and social constructions is extreme-as it is when racial, sexual, and other minorities encounter prejudiced, hateful, ignorant, or overdetermining social constitutions of their identity.

Smith P and Wright E. 2011. "A glimpse behind the screen: Tijuana bibles and the pornographic re-imagining of Hollywood" [Conference Paper]. Given at "Scandal in Culture. Taboo – Trend – Transgression, " University of Wroclaw, Poland. Retrieved from

Soles CM. 2008. "Falling out of the closet: Kevin Smith, queerness, and independent film" [Dissertation]. University of Oregon. Retrieved from
My dissertation argues that the film comedies of Kevin Smith, through their willingness to depict and verbalize gender-bending, queer desire, and deviant sexual practices, exemplify the role independent "slacker" cinema played in the 1990s explosion of American queer media visibility. Couched in witty verbal comedy, Smith's films depict the tensions and dangers Generation-X males face as they negotiate the culturally enforced gap separating male homosociality (intense friendship, male bonding) from explicit male-male homoerotic desire in contemporary U.S. culture. The project takes Smith's career as a metonym for independent slacker cinema (which includes films by Smith, Richard Linklater, Jim Jarmusch, and Judd Apatow) and argues that Smith's films have been successful because they tap into and exploit both the 1990s boom in independent queer media production and the particular interests and needs of actual young white slackers, including how these young men navigate tensions related not only to gender and sexuality but also to race and class (all of which are evident in their taste for mainstream superhero comics and the Star Wars films). Chapter II argues that Smith's debut feature, Clerks (1994), exemplifies, through its plot and formal elements, the homosocial buddy relation that suppresses male-male homoerotic desire by channeling it into men's rivalries over women. The chapter exposes the misogyny inherent to the slacker's homosocial group and discusses his fear/fascination with masculine women such as domineering mothers, bossy girlfriends, and (in later Smith films) lesbians. Chapter III argues that Mallrats (1995) shares key narrative properties and subject matter with superhero comic books, thereby addressing the comic book fans who largely constitute Smith's fan base. Chapter IV offers a bisexual reading of Smith's third feature film, Chasing Amy (1997). Chapter V examines Smith's later films Dogma (1999), and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), arguing that they function generically as queer road movies. Chapter VI analyzes Smith's public persona as an indie cinema icon who uses ironic, ambiguous modes of self-presentation to "have it both ways," maintaining an appeal for both homophobic and queer-friendly audiences, thereby demonstrating Smith's keen understanding of self-promotion and the economic structures of independent cinema.

Somers E. 2012. "New halves, old selves: Reincarnation and transgender identification in Ōshima Yumiko's Tsurubara-tsurubara." Mechademia. 7: 222-246.
An essay on gender-variant conflicts and tension in Japanese anime is presented. It focuses on Ōshima's Japanese manga "Tsurubara-tsurubara" (TS). It elaborates on how TS utilized manga's imagination to visualize transgender phenomena, emphasizes the metaphysical nature of gender diversity based on reincarnation, and pursued a more psycho-spiritual perspective in the medicalization of gender reassignment.

Spieldenner AR. 2013. "Altered egos: Gay men reading across gender difference in Wonder Woman." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 4(2): 235.
Arguments about representation in comics and other media have largely consisted of simple and direct identity presentation, yet there is growing evidence that audiences construct identification moments in a myriad of ways. Gender identification, for instance, with protagonists in comics may seem straightforward, yet there is ongoing evidence that audience members cross the male–female divide to find themselves within protagonists of another gender. Wonder Woman, for instance, has a considerable gay male fan base. This project approaches Wonder Woman with a semiotic and cultural studies analysis to see how the character is made up of several syntagms that encourage this kind of identification, including same-sex society, fighting intolerance, finding one’s place and thriving in transformation. Rather than a secret identity for the hero, the project calls this relationship an ‘altered ego’ for the reader.

Spiers MB. 2010. "Daddy's little girl: Multigenerational queer relationships in Bechdel's Fun Home." Studies in Comics. 1(2): 315-335.
In this article I will examine an unusual queer relationship, as represented by comics artist Alison Bechdel, best known for her strip Dykes to Watch Out For. While the father-daughter relationship is a common literary theme, it becomes more complicated in Bechdel's graphic memoir Fun Home, which depicts two generations simultaneously struggling with issues of gender identity. Alison's ability to lead a queer lifestyle exists in sharp contrast to the way that her father, Bruce, has handled his homosexuality. Rather than reacting to her father's example, either positively or negatively, Alison must create her own narrative, relying primarily on literature to guide the way. Yet, by identifying as queer, Alison opens the door for her father to discuss his sexuality, leading Alison to wonder, 'Which of us was the father?' (Bechdel 2006: 221). Because of the history of queerness across generations in America, it is Alison who is in a position to set a positive, open example in a queer father-daughter relationship. Adding to the intricate ways in which Alison and Bruce explore their identities and relationship is the fascinating style in which Bechdel draws both herself and her father. As characters on the page, they look remarkably similar to one another, a coincidence that is reinforced by Bechdel's use of the pose method to draw her memoir - that is, she dresses up as the character, takes photos and bases her drawings on those photos. However, there is more than that at stake: in some panels, Bechdel draws an explicit physical comparison between Alison and Bruce at various stages in their lives. As a comics artist, Bechdel is able to make use of a variety of visual cues that play an important role in her representation of queer identity. These visual cues extend to include visual adaptations of texts, from love letters between her parents to excerpts from her father's noted and underlined novels. Using these 'real' documents as evidence, she describes her parents as literary figures rather than people. This is most noticeable in her extended comparison of herself and her father to Stephen Dedalus and Leo Bloom in Joyce's Ulysses. Such a comparison simultaneously distances the reader and reaffirms the legitimacy of the relationship. The presence of those references serves to remind us that Alison's relationship to her father is part of a larger literary pattern, something that can be comfortably understood and examined. Not only is Bechdel able to naturalize and familiarize that relationship, the comparison even canonizes it. Bechdel combines familiar, cartoonish characters with careful textual detail in both her narration and her frequent use of literary citation. Using her own relationship to literature as a way of exploring her relationship with her father, Bechdel is able to tackle the complexity of a multigenerational narrative that is simultaneously empowering and disempowering, that requires that she both embrace and fear her own queer identity.

Stanley M. 2010. "Drawn out: identity politics and the queer comics of Leanne Franson and Ariel Schrag." Canadian Literature. 205: 53-69.
Franson concludes the strip with the ominous: "stay tuned for the 'more-radical-than-thou' wars!!" Her conclusion is that these identity positions are deliberately divisive, even competitive and combative - certainly not designed to build community. Because she positions Liliane as introducing the subject, but then not speaking to it in one of the testimonials, Franson appears reluctant to take a specific position on sexual identity.

Stauffer SM. 2013. “Taking a dip in the crazy pool: the evolution of X-Women from heroic subject to sexual object.” J Research on Libraries and Young Adults. Vol 3.

Thalheimer A. 2002. "Terrorists, bitches, and dykes: Gender, violence, and heteroideology in late 20th-century lesbian comix" [Dissertation]. University of Delaware.

Tilley CL. 2012. “Seducing the innocent: Fredric Wertham and the falsifications that helped condemn comics.” Information & Culture. 47(4): 383-413.

Usoz M. 2013. "Sex and the City: Urban Eroticism in Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester’s Manuel series." Hispanic Research Journal. 14(5): 394-408.
This essay focuses on the treatment of urban space in the comic Manuel by Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester, first published in serialized form in the Spanish monthly arts magazine La Luna de Madrid in 1983–1984 and re-published in book format in 2005. My analysis suggests that within Manuel the urban, the creative, and the erotic-experiential become entangled and confused: the city of Madrid is not just a setting for the comic, but a site that allows for the transferences between lived experience (the love story between an unnamed protagonist and the eponymous Manuel) and creative activity (the protagonist’s creation of a statue of Manuel) that structure and articulate the comic. Additionally, the comic’s focus on urban heterotopic spaces such as parks, clubs, and Madrid’s metro, as well as its destabilization of well-known landmarks (Gran Vía, Plaza Dos de Mayo, the Metrópolis building), suggest a view of the city constantly in the process of making and unmaking itself, rather than as a stable, graspable physical entity. Finally, this notion of urban space as dynamic flux can be seen to infiltrate the comic, as its narrative and structural coherence become undermined by frequent discontinuities and the collapse of different spatial and temporal planes within one single frame — features that invite a reading of the comic itself as a heterotopic site.

Vincent K. 2007. "A Japanese Electra and her queer progeny." Mechademia. 2: 64-79.
Mori Mari's 1961 novella "Koibitotachi no mori" ("A Lovers' Forest") is the first story of a trilogy she wrote about passionate and doomed love affairs between older men and beautiful young boys.1 Mari's work is invariably cited by Japanese scholars as the antecedent of a genre of manga and popular novels written by women for women about male-male love that began to emerge in the 1970s and remains extremely popular today.2 While there are many terms to refer to the manga and fiction that followed Mari's lead (and many debates over generic classifications), for brevity's sake I use the term yaoi here to refer to the whole genre. Yaoi is an ironically self-deprecating acronym that is said to mean "no climax" (yama nashi), "no punch line" (ochi nashi), and "no meaning" (imi nashi).3 Crucially, the term is used interchangeably as a signifier both for the genre of male-male comics written by and for women, and for the women themselves. Thus to write or read yaoi is also to be "a yaoi girl." In the early 1990s, the slippage this suggests between what you read and who you are sparked an intense and still ongoing debate over sexuality and identity that I discuss in the latter half of this essay. But first I would like to turn to Mari's early work to make some preliminary observations about the kind of psychic function this genre may be serving and how it is related to the question of literary style.

Wells JA. 1994. "Readability of HIV/AIDS educational material: The role of the medium of communication, target audience, and producer characteristics." Patient Education and Counseling. 24(3): 249-259.
The reading difficulty of many HIV/AIDS brochures and pamphlets limits their effectiveness. This analysis addresses correlates of readability in 136 HIV/AIDS educational items. Readability is measured using the SMOG Index. The medium of communication is significantly related to readability: comic books and brochures are, on average, more readable than books and pamphlets (10.9 versus 11.9). The target audience also differentiates readability. Materials for HIV antibody test seekers, the general community, and sexually active adults have a more difficult reading grade, averaging 12.1, whereas materials for ethnic minorities average a more readable 9.2. The producer organization's type and location are unrelated to readability, but an AIDS-specific organizational focus correlates with better readability (grade 10.8 vs. 11.8). These findings remain significant in multivariate analysis. The results indicate that brochures and comics are more likely to be comprehended by low-literacy populations, that an understanding of the literacy of target audiences is needed to produce materials with appropriate reading levels, and that policies to influence producer organizations may result in the creation of more readable materials.

Williams J. 1998. Homosexuality and political activism in Latin American culture: An arena for popular culture and comix. Other Voices. 1(2). Retrieved from
Abstract not available

Williams P. 2010. "Questions of 'contemporary women's comics.'" In The Rise of the American Comics Artist, eds P Williams and J Lyons. Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press.

Wood A. 2013. "Boys' Love anime and queer desires in convergence culture: transnational fandom, censorship and resistance." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 4(1): 44-63.
Despite its ever-growing international popularity, Japanese anime and the industries that support it are in the middle of a crisis. In an era of media convergence, popularity has not translated into consistent profits as anime producers continue to lose money at home and overseas to rampant file sharing and ubiquitous streaming video sites illegally hosting copyrighted content that can be viewed for free. As a result, convergence is simultaneously fuelling the current anime industry crisis while also opening up new opportunities to make participatory culture work for both fans and producers – especially for niche markets like Boys' Love. This article explores how Boys' Love fans in Japan and other countries often operate in contradictory tension with and against anime industries and socio-cultural values as they access, consume and create around a form of homoerotic media that they do not want to be assimilated into mainstream culture and its norms. As more transnational publishers and distributors are licensing and selling Boys' Love manga and anime, the boundaries between margin and centre have begun to blur, producing intersecting and divergent desires among fans and producers around the commodification and adaptation of queer texts. The first part of this article focuses on how convergence is shaping the dynamic between anime producers and fan consumers, where niche markets have begun to figure into this situation, and what is politically at stake in the consumption and circulation of Boys' Love texts. The second part of the article examines several examples of Boys' Love television anime and Original Video Animation (OVA), with particular attention to Youka Nitta'sEmbracing Loveand Shungiku Nakamura'sJunjo Romantica, to assess how deliberate censorship in anime adaptations can sometimes efface important queer meaning in a text while in other instances it can open up new fantasies and ways of reading for viewers that are in keeping with the queerness the author ascribes to the genre.

Wood A. 2015. "Making the Invisible Visible: Lesbian Romance Comics for Women." Feminist Studies. 41(2): 293-334.
In 2012, romance novels generated $1.35 billion in sales, making romance the top-grossing genre in the North American publishing industry. While clearly among the most successful of popular genres, it still remains one of the most reviled forms of literature. Feminist critics in the 1980s made significant strides in establishing the validity of the genre as a subject of academic inquiry while skillfully repudiating the historically masculine tendency to denigrate romance and its readership as silly and frivolous, part of a longer patriarchal tradition of dismissing women’s writing as lacking literary value and being unworthy of critical inquiry. However, despite their efforts to recoup romance as having something meaningful to say about women’s experiences in culture, early feminist studies nonetheless codified the genre and its readers as exclusively heterosexual. Although research on lesbian romance novels has emerged over the years, often attempting to redress the normativizing tendencies of previous scholars, broader studies of the genre have yet to integrate critical engagement with lesbian or other GBTQ romance texts.

Xu Y and Yang L. 2013. "Forbidden love: incest, generational conflict, and the erotics of power in Chinese BL fiction." J Graphic Novels & Comics. 4(1): 30-43.
This article focuses on father–son incest stories, a distinct subgenre of Chinese Boys' Love (BL) fiction, to examine the cultural and political implications of BL in China. We start with an overview of the development of BL fiction in China, followed by a discussion of some representative texts. Situating our textual analysis within the context of traditional Confucian ethics and contemporary Chinese society, we argue that father–son stories showcase a feminine attempt to re-order the power structure in the family by means of eros. Since the family is conflated with the state in Chinese social organization, the restructuring at the family level will have significant political consequences. We conclude that BL is not only ‘better than romance’ but also more than romance. It is, first of all, an inclusive and powerful mental tool that enables Chinese youth, both male and female, to think out of the box.