Perhaps my favorite aspect of webcomics is that it is within their nature to showcase the growth and improvement of their creators. Often pet projects and experimental in design, webcomics are the chance for young or inexperienced cartoonists to find their voice and practice their craft on their own terms. But it’s a special and beautiful thing when a webcomic brings together multiple talented creators who can take a simple premise and nurture it to blossom into a great story.
Which brings me to Sister Claire, originally conceived by cartoonist Elena Barbarich (online name Yamino) as a school project that has since taken off with great success thanks to time, patience, and the brilliant collaboration between Barbarich and her writer wife, Ash. In its early stages, Sister Claire was a comical farce about an innocent but bumbling nun named Claire who, after receiving a visitation through the toilet by a mysterious blue angel, is immaculately impregnated with the savior of the world. Along the way she must save her mentor Catherine from a terrible curse and learn the art of nun-fu, all while keeping her pregnancy a secret from her fellow nuns–and that’s just the start.
|Recommended by Marie Anello||Friday, March 27th, 2015||No Comments »|
Acceptance, a remake of a Twine game, is a game about the struggles of being trans in a hostile and often violent world. Some routes depict suicide, sexual assault, and violence. All routes contain transphobia. Made by a trans woman and adapted into a visual novel format, the game opens by asking: Are you a man or a woman?
Whatever you choose, the answer is always the same. You’re wrong. You might know what you are, but how long can you hold onto your identity when the world rejects it? Acceptance follows a single day in the life of a trans character. The game is targeting cisgender audiences exclusively, to try and promote awareness of how challenging society makes being transgender.
|Recommended by Melody Lee||Tuesday, February 24th, 2015||No Comments »|
Many cinephiles throughout the years have added director Pedro Almodovar’s most famous films to their repertoire, those being All About My Mother and Volver, but many overlook his earlier works for being intrinsically the vision of a gay man from Spain in the 80s (it doesn’t get more specific than that). The mistake there would be to miss out on the fabulousness that is Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Almodovar’s first internationally successful comedy.
|Recommended by Stefano Llinas||Thursday, January 29th, 2015||No Comments »|
Six Feet Under doesn’t get as much attention as fellow HBO TV classics like The Sopranos or The Wire, but it was groundbreaking television that radically commented on death, family, and relationships in a way that was candid and honest. It also had one of the best series finales ever made. Recently I’ve started rewatching the series with a friend who hasn’t seen it before and it’s given me new insight into the show. Although season one has always been my favorite season, I never realized how brilliantly they handled certain topics on the show. One of those topics, David’s sexuality, being an excellent example.
|Recommended by Tiffany White||Friday, January 9th, 2015||No Comments »|
Currently, one of the worst places to be gay or transgender is Uganda, whose anti-gay bill punishes homosexuality with lifetime imprisonment (with lawmakers still trying to pass a bill that will make it punishable by death). Shortly after the bill’s passing, a major Ugandan tabloid outs more than 200 gay Ugandans on the front page of the paper. Cleopatra Kambugu, a 28-year-old transgender woman, is one of the people outed. After losing her job, she’s forced to go into hiding to avoid beatings and death threats. “It was like being a living dead person,” she explains.
Produced by Swedish filmmaker Jonny von Wallström, The Pearl of Africa is a documentary series split into seven episodes, with each episode being published weekly. “For me, The Pearl of Africa is about acceptance,” Wallström says. ”It’s crazy that we still have such a hard time accepting differences in people.” If you want to show your support, you can donate to help pay for Cleo’s gender reassignment surgery, or support the film itself through its Indiegogo campaign.
|Recommended by The Absolute Staff||Tuesday, December 16th, 2014||No Comments »|
Amidst the plethora of fictional yet semi-autobiographical novels out there, I have found few that actually warrant my full attention, more often than not because the life of the author wasn’t as interesting as initially thought. In the case of Yukio Mishima, the author of Confessions of a Mask, the situation is completely reversed. His real life was even more interesting to me than his fictional account of it.
But that doesn’t mean you should skip Confessions of a Mask, since it offers a unique view of what it means to be a gay man in Japan, as well as offering carefully written insight on the thoughts and machinations of Mishima throughout his youth. And while the life of Kochan, the book’s protagonist, dwells mostly in the regularities of isolation, sexual repression, and identity without many “wow” events in comparison to Mishima’s revolutionary life of film-directing, novel writing, body-building, modeling, and eventual demise by ritual suicide, the book is clearly tied to the author’s mentality, and thus, offers an unparalleled deconstruction of his personality.
|Recommended by Stefano Llinas||Thursday, December 4th, 2014||No Comments »|
Performance poet Staceyann Chin debates on whether she’s a feminist in her spoken word piece “Feminist or Womanist.” Her poem muses on social justice for women, both straight and gay, and revolves around her sharp-tongued observations about women in society. Not only does Chin weave in her own experiences as a lesbian, but she also points out that part of her fight for social justice focuses around young women, especially on college campuses, who are often raped and then suffer “victim blaming” when they finally gather the courage to tell their story.
By the end of her performance, Chin admits that she can’t choose feminist or womanist as a description because “she comes in too many flavors to draw a line around herself” and urges her listeners to see past the categories and observe the complexities of the people around them.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Thursday, July 10th, 2014||No Comments »|