Since 2006, the Comic Book Queers team has been delighting listeners with their unique perspective on, what else, comic books. For no other reason than my own curiosity, I sent the group over a few questions about their origin and what's piquing their interest at the moment. The results are below, presented with a flair we've all come to know and love. After you're done, check out their new podcast and meet some of the hosts at our January GeeksOUT: Chicago event!
Q: What got you interested in comics?
Steele: Well...I was not into comics at all prior to 2010. But since I was a fan of the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon was my gateway drug (so to speak)
Scavenger: That, and cocaine.
Steele: I started reading BtVS season 8 and as Scavenger and StevieD said..."Gerrrrrl, that's a slippery slope!"
Scavenger: We actually said that in unison…because we're gay.
TonyL: Also said about their backsides.
Steele: Next thing I know I am all geeked about the new DC52 which actually worked for me
StevieD: It had to work for SOMEone.
Steele: coming in on the ground floor in a lot of comics (Aquaman, Flash, Wonder Woman etc.) was really cool for me. Granted I ended up ditching some (WW, Batgirl, Super-everything, Bat-everything), but the introduction to these universes (univii?) was really fun for me. Now I look forward to Wednesday. I'm still the guy that gets the comics and folds them and puts them in my back pocket
Scavenger: I hate that guy.
TonyL: Collective gasp
StevieD: Pearl clutch!
TonyL: I think it's really interesting to hear that the New52 worked for you and it makes a lot sense. I think a new person coming in would find a lot of things to like about the New52 that older fans might struggle with due to nostalgia
Scavenger: Steele, I seem to remember you being interested in the X-Men at the very beginning. Is Marvel NOW working for you the way DC-New52 did?
Steele: Marvel Now is not working (for me). It's sad and dumb and makes me hate life.
Scavenger: Like my backside.
TonyL: Is it because you had more familiarity with the Marvel properties?
Steele: I think because I jumped into Marvels in the long run - like Amazing Spider-man #600 and X-whatever Issue #9000 that I started to get into the existing universes. Then they spin-off/kill-off/reboot and suddenly I am where all the longtime DC people were a year ago.
TonyL: But the universe didn't reboot. But I understand.
Sarospice: Gee! Now my intro to comics sounds lame. Like most trans fans, I had a neighborhood kid (who grew up to be an alligator wrestler) that would let me sift through his collection if he could borrow my bike. Seemed like a fair trade back then cause really, what girl wants to spend all day on a boy's huffy dirt bike when she can spend it with The Scarlet Witch?! And that's been my life ever since: Everything in TRADE! Thanks comics!
Q: How did the podcast come together?
Scavenger: TonyL's mouth.
TonyL: You all wish it were in my mouth!
Sarospice: Tony's sure got a pretty mouth...
PattyBoom: Wasn't it the basement of the Jackhammer?
Sarospice: There's no basement at The Alamo!
StevieD: It started like all beautiful romances...an ad on Craig's List.
Scavenger: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Sarospice: If six monkeys had six microphones and chattered and threw feces for six months, something good has to come of that, right?
StevieD: I was conducting a small comic discussion group on my own, when a friend sent me a link to a Craig's List ad asking for queer geeks to come together and form a podcast. We met up and hung out for a few months developing the idea for the podcast, what we wanted it to be, how we wanted it presented...and then threw it all out the window, got drunk, turned on a mic and just started. Along the way people joined the show, people left the show, but I stayed. I'm a glutton for punishment, I guess.
Steele: You’re an insatiable bottom
PattyBoom: Put your clothes on
Sarospice: Insatiable bottoms make the bitterest queens. And the best podcasters!
Q: In your opinion, who are some of the queerest comic book heroes and villains of all time?
Scavenger: Well, Northstar, obviously.
Steele: Dick Semencatcher? Isn't he a comic book hero?
StevieD: Little Lulu is the butchest lez on the block!
TonyL: Northstar is gay but not very queer.
StevieD: Oh my God....semantics!!
Steele: Answering as Saro "DAKEN!"
Sarospice: Answering as Steele “Joss Whedon!”
TonyL: Superior Spider-Man
Sarospice: Honestly in most comics I make up my own queer characters, probably from a long history of having to make them up, I mean.... Nightwing is probably the queerest character in comics in everyone's imagination anyway....
Scavenger: From the villain side... and I get that this is a little out there... but tiny, runty, weird Mole Man.
StevieD: Mole Man?!?!?!
Scavenger: Mole Man is a great analogy for being queer. Picked on for being different, but with a gift that no one understands...
TonyL: What's Mole Man's gift?
PattyBoom: Digging around in dark holes. Makes sense
Steele: Mole Man - you mean Richard Gere?
Scavenger: Christian Bale.
TonyL: Pied Piper!
Steele: But preNew52 Pied Piper
Scavenger: Hmm. Pied Piper is "gay, but not very queer."
Steele: Post relaunch Pied Piper has been in 2 issues and barely!
PattyBoom: Dr. Doom’s weird competition/obsession with Reed Richards is all sorts of gay
Scavenger: Dr. Doom. All the way.
TonyL: Apollo and Midnighter. You're right. Pied Piper no not very queer…except for his outfit.
StevieD: DDDDDOOOOMMMMM for the win!!
PattyBoom: Also, Tom Cruise
Steele: Anytime a villain is obsessed with a hero it's kind of gay
TonyL: Lex Luthor is the ultimate gay. Ultimate "Evil Gay" that is
Sarospice: You just know Lex Luthor sleeps with a kryptonite dildo. The evil part is: Which color kryptonite?
Scavenger: We have a long-running gag amongst ourselves about Lex and Clark being adolescent lovers. And Lex Luthor shaves his red hair every morning just to spite Superman.
StevieD: He's such the jilted lover.
PattyBoom: Luthor's a service bottom. No reflex.
Sarospice: Patty's right. He's speaking from experience!
Q: What are your favorite moments in queer comic book history?
TonyL: The obvious answer is Northstar coming out but I think the existence of queer comics themselves is amazing. Dykes to Watch Out For was a revelation. Things like Leonard and Larry, The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green where so great for me as I came out. When I read Justin Hall's book, No Straight Lines, I was amazed at how many of the comics he listed were things I had read. Now we have Alan Scott, Batwoman, Northstar getting married. KEVIN KELLER!
Scavenger: Peter Milligan's "Enigma". Hell, even the gay subtext in "Watchman" was very powerful for me as a young homogeek.
TonyL: Yeah, I could go on about things like Enigma.
Sarospice: I think for me the first book that had QUEER characters that drew me in without making in an “issue” was LOVE AND ROCKETS. Hopey and Maggie. It's not superhero but it was very influential for the queer kids I ran with and definitely made me start to see comics as more than tights. Mmmmmm tights.
StevieD: Oh, Kevin Keller is one of my FAVORITES!
TonyL: From a history standpoint, Kevin probably represents the most mainstreaming of queer culture in America in a lot of ways.
PattyBoom: I love KK, but there's something so domesticated about his gayness. He's the least queer of them all.
Sarospice: Kevin Keller is to comics what Modern Family is to T.V.
TonyL: Archie is so "safe" and "family/kid friendly" that to have one of the Riverdale kids be out and gay is remarkable.
Sarospice: Why do you think I review every issue? Underneath all that Riverdale nice-ness you just know there some seamy back alley glory hole action going on between K. Kellz and the football team.
StevieD: Sure he is, he has to be, he's for pre-teen consumption. But you have to admit he's going into the annals of comics history.
PattyBoom: Deep in the anals.
Sarospice: And let's not forget to note the role Veronica Lodge is playing as an OUT Fag Hag! We haven't seen this type of unrequited devotion since Peppermint Patty and Marcie, sirs!
Scavenger: Judd Winick's run on Green Lantern. Terry. The bashing issue.
TonyL: But for all the positives, we also have a lot of negatives. Extrano unfortunately being one of them. Someone who was queer but not allowed to just come out.
Sarospice: I love Extrano! He could totally have his own title in the New 52: Extrano, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., girl!
StevieD: And then died of the AIDS.
PattyBoom: SPACE AIDS
TonyL: We also have the worst trans portrayal courtesy of Legion of Super-Heroes (Shvaughn/Sean Erin). Other great moments: openly queer creators!
StevieD: That's all well and good, but I believe the question asked for your "favorite" moments...
PattyBoom: Listen, bitch is "seasoned." He's had time to have many favorites.
Scavenger: Marc Andreyko on Manhunter: "Screw it, I'm making EVERYONE gay!"
TonyL: The closet still isn't 100% open though. We still see a lot of "hints" about people without them saying it.
Sarospice: You mean how Gail Simone constantly hints about some wonderful queer book she's going to write but we never see? HI GAIL! THANKS FOR BEING AN ALLY! ABORTIONS FOR SOME, LITTLE RAINBOW FLAGS FOR OTHERS!
Scavenger: Like PattyBoom. That guy needs to COME OUT already.
Sarospice: Please! Patty is so out he's plaid.
Steele: what about Apollo and Midnighter?
Scavenger: Oh, points for the new guy.
Sarospice: Steele's penis and Scavenger's hand? That sounds pretty gay, and should be coming soon.....
Steele: Wiccan and Hulkling?
TonyL: Northstar coming out is my favorite because we hadn't seen that in mainstream comics before then.
Sarospice: I don't know if we live in a society in which the coming out process is as difficult as it use to be. Which is a good thing. You can come out on youtube for goddess sake, you no longer have to join a swim team!
Q: What titles are you currently following?
PattyBoom: Following with zeal? Locke & Key and The Sixth Gun are definitely my favorites, followed by Saga, Fatale and Batman. I follow a whole host of books out of commitment to the characters, but I'm dropping those with the new year. I'm really tired of feeling an obligation to support characters if the stories aren't holding up.
TonyL: Welcome to StevieD’s New Years Resolution for all of us.
PattyBoom: But I'd have to say that right now I'm reading a lot more indie comics than ever before, and I've shed super books. Sadly, my love of Black Canary has me reading Team 7. Pity me.
Sarospice: The only reason I am reading Team 7 is Deathstroke, so! You and me girl! We need a Team 7 intervention!
StevieD: I voted for that to be cancelled and I've never read it!
Scavenger: Earth-2. Avengers Arena. The whole Valiant relaunch. Grace Randolph's Supurbia is excellent.
Steele: Flash, Aquaman, Superior Spider-Man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel & Faith, Saga, Earth 2, Ultimate Spider-Man, Invincible. I am catching up on Atomic Robo.
Sarospice: I read over 58 ongoing titles. And Craig's List daily.
PattyBoom: What drives me crazy is there are so many great books, but the big 2 seem to throw support behind books that don't really push the envelope in any way.
TonyL: Do comic books have to push the envelope?
PattyBoom: I mean that in terms of storytelling, not necessarily social issues or questions of representations. At this point, telling a good story feels like pushing the envelope.
Steele: If wholesome, family friendly Riverdale can push the envelope then why can’t Action Comics or Detective Comics?
PattyBoom: Word. To. Your. Mother.
StevieD: I'm a huge fan of Saga, Popeye, Godzilla, Planet of the Apes, Archer & Armstrong, Flash Gordon, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt, Kevin Keller, Batman, Earth 2, Daredevil, X-Treme X-Men.
PattyBoom: Again with your forearm fetish.
Scavenger: We spent a good portion of our latest episode (ep 196) talking about all of the things we're reading, enjoying, and so forth. The only book I didn't really get to push for there was Scarlet Spider. His sidekicks are a gay couple!
Sarospice: That is because you are the only one reading it!
Steele: The Big 2 push the envelope in different ways (gore, dark themes, sex) but rarely with emotional or gay stories.
TonyL: I'm all about Legion of Super-Heroes but have followed Fantastic Four for nearly 500 issues. Courtney Crumrin, Earth-2, Locke and Key.
Sarospice: Pushing the envelope is always going to be an issue. I mean, we've yet to see an issue in which Wolverine experiments with “sounding”, so.... and she's got the claws!
Q: Any other pieces of pop culture (tv shows, cartoons, books, etc.) that you're currently geeking out on?
Steele: I am watching (and somewhat enjoying) Arrow but I realized that the Easter eggs are lost on me and I didn't really miss it when it was off for 6 weeks (but I did miss Stephen's abs.)
StevieD: Mmm-hmm! Sometimes I forget that show is on, until I see a shirtless picture of him.
Steele: Other than that I like American Horror Story: Asylum and a few sitcoms. I love Fringe, but that’s ended. I haven't really GEEKED OUT on anything since Dollhouse.
PattyBoom: I have the heart of a tween girl, so I love The Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, and pretty much any CW show that isn't about a preacher's family. I love Arrow, but I'm a huge Black Canary fan so her presence on the show and the casting have me happy as a cat in heat.
Scavenger: I find that now that I'm reading fewer superhero comics, I'm scratching that superhero itch in other media. I play Avengers Alliance on Facebook. I just bought Legendary, the new Marvel comics card game.
TonyL: Doctor Who. I've been watching Revenge, Downton Abbey, and American Horror Story but they're losing some of their appeal to me. I geeked out on Buffy and Babylon 5 in the days of my youth.
Sarospice: I've been watching SPACE : 1999 and The Time Tunnel but would appreciate it if hipsters would NOT so that the CW doesn't try a re-make.
Steele: I am sure there are shows out there that would give me a nerd-erection but I haven't found one lately.
StevieD: Or have you become more cynical about your expectations of said show? I know I couldn't wait until Terra Nova started...then I couldn't wait for it to end.
Sarospice: Agreed. That show was so interesting. In theory. Sight unseen.
PattyBoom: My one nerd black hole/absence is video games. I seem to be the only nerd I know who isn't into them.
TonyL: I’m not into Video Games either.
Sarospice: I lost interest in video games when they no longer involved joy sticks. Truth.
Steele: me neither. Unless it's Pudding Monsters, that game is fun.
TonyL: Too busy watching porn.
Scavenger: A PORNOGRAPHY VIDEO GAME...?!? That sounds like a great hook for an epsiode of 30 Rock.
StevieD: But I do love Young Justice...to me, that's MY DCU.
Steele: Didn't Tracey Jordan invent that on 30 Rock?
PattyBoom: I totes need to catch up on Young Justice.
Sarospice: Everything can be caught up on in this day and age. It's how people consume these mediums now, by watching full season of TV shows or in trades of comic books.
Q: What projects are you looking forward to in 2013?
TonyL: Keith Giffen back on Legion.
Scavenger: The conclusion of Locke & Key.
PattyBoom: SOOOOOO excited for that.
TonyL: yeah Locke and Key too
Sarospice: The bragging rights of having never read an issue of Locke & Key to add to my bragging right of having never seen an episode of FRIENDS. And I never will.
StevieD: Oh geez...I'm not really keeping up with the comic news. I'm not even sure I know what's coming up for 2013.
Scavenger: Brian Wood's all-female X-book.
StevieD: Was that book supposed to be EX-Men? Cuz that'd add a whole new twist!
Scavenger: No one invites their trans friends to be on the X-Men.
StevieD: More Earth 2!
Sarospice: World's Finest should just be the next Earth-2 title. Let's get er done!
StevieD: Oh, definitely! Get Huntress and Power Girl back to Earth 2 where they belong!
PattyBoom: I'm kind of excited for Man of Steel, but I think I'm the only one on the podcast that is
Scavenger: Wonder Man and the Wasp back in the (Uncanny) Avengers!
Sarospice: Tiny clit erection about AGE OF ULTRON because I love The Avengers and Ultron and hopefully it means a return of Jocasta!
TonyL: I'm excited about Man of Steel too but I blame Henry Cavill for that. *lick*
Sarospice: I'm excited for any movie featuring my imaginary husband Russell Crowe! Whether that means a song, a dance...or being Superman's dad.
StevieD: I'm excited for another Superman movie...I just want it to be light and hopeful. But, since this is based on a Nolan idea...I doubt I'll get my wish.
Steele: I am kind of excited for the Nova series and the Alpha (Amazing Spider-Man spinoff)
Scavenger: I was thinking that was an Alpha FLIGHT relaunch. But no.
StevieD: I MISS ALPHA FLIGHT!!!!!
PattyBoom: I'm wicked excited about the return of the New Gods. I think they're one of the best properties in the DC stable.
Steele: (callback - The name of Tracey Jordan's porn/video game is Gorgasm: The Legend of Dong Slayer)
StevieD: The new take on the Young Avengers is something to look forward to! Kid Loki! Miss America! Fresh creators who aren't beholden to TV series contracts!
Steele: O.K., that makes YA sound interesting to me!
Scavenger: Last year, we said that our big wish for Marvel NOW was that they focus on some of the lesser-known characters in the MU. I'm curious to see where they go with that. Morbius? Kid Loki?
TonyL: I want a real Doctor Strange series back.
Scavenger: I'm as excited about Marvel NOW as the rest of you queers were about the New 52.
Sarospice: I'm excited about both. I am excited about anyone taking the chance on something...but then I read 58 ongoing titles. I obviously don't discriminate. Except when it comes to fisting.
PattyBoom: I'd love to see them do a good Dr. Strange book.
StevieD: As long as Kieron Gillen is writing Kid Loki, it's going to be good.
Scavenger: And, of course, new episodes of Comic Book Queers we're all going to record. That's the project I'm most excited about.
StevieD: Huh...we're still doing that? Ok. Why not? It's been a wonderful 4 years.
Sarospice: The CBQties have become like family to me. If the cast of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES can be considered a family.
Steele: Thanks Patrick for interviewing us! It was fun and I am actually interested in some books I hadn't though of before like Young Avengers and Scarlet Spider!
Sarospice: I like when we make Steele do things! Oh, and read new comics, of course...
TonyL: Thanks for the chance to talk about our favorite things: Ourselves and comics!
Scavenger: And wieners
Sarospice: He never asked who I was wearing? I thought this was for INSIDE EDITION.
PattyBoom: We shall break the internet in half!
Steele: (I'm typing this from inside a bubble...bye bye!!!!)
TonyL: It's a great time to Geek Out!
Sarospice: Turn on, tune in, GEEK OUT! Timothy Leary said that. I know because we share a birthday.
PattyBoom: I'm typing from inside Jason!
Steele: I'm cavernous.
Sarospice: I'm overcome with a desire to spelunk. And eat cheese.
TonyL: That explains the smell.
PattyBoom: They call him the Grand Canyon
Steele: I just FABREEZED in there!
PattyBoom: Peace out!
TonyL: Lindsay Lohan was in Jason?
StevieD: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Patrick!