In this early-1930s Mickey Mouse comic, our hero seeks out a "tough bird" by the name of "Mr. Nipp", only to discover - to his disgust - his swishy, lisping "baker's boy":
As homophobic as it is, it may be surprising to contemporary readers that a strip like "Mickey Mouse" represented gay characters at all. But in fact, as blogger Jeet Heer points out, it was far from the only comic strip to do so. Take, for instance, this insightful depiction of interior decorators, from the (still-running!) "Gasoline Alley":
As historian George Chauncey documents in his terrific Gay New York, such depictions came in the midst of a "Pansy Craze" emerging from early-Thirties Manhattan, where the city's gay subcultures briefly gained prominence on the mainstream stage.
The Pansy Craze faded later in the 1930s. Police crackdowns on pansy performers became rampant, and censorship boards in New York and across the country moved to block any representation of homosexuality on the stage and screen. Nonetheless, the media of the time stands as a fascinating reminder of a very unusual moment in gay history.