Sporadic Sequential
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The Gay Shorthand

I just finished The Plain Janes, the debut book in DC's new Minx line (short review: You know those movies that are more annoying than bad? The ones where you get the sense the director thinks the film is so clever and topical and daring, but really the whole thing is bland, trite, and poorly constructed? That's what this book is like.), and there's one thing that's still bugging me:

What's the deal with the cartoony way the gay character James is drawn?

What gave me away? The k. d. lang haircut?
The subtle flower adorning my dress? My being kind of new here?

Ha ha ha, because all gay guys think about is clothes and designing and stuff!

The questions? Are you related to Jughead Jones? Is Jughead gay?
Is the reason Jughead eats so much because he's been forced for decades to sublimate his feelings for Archie?

I'm a big fan of Jim Rugg's artwork, so I'm trying to come up with a charitable interpretation to explain why the gay guy looks like he came out of a different, less detailed comic. Is it some subtle visual commentary on the way gay characters in movies and TV are often reduced to the role of comic sidekick, with no real depth or character to define them? Is it a subversive twist on the wholesome, hetero makeup of Archie comics, which is where it looks like James' nose came from? Is it meant to depict James as a lively, carefree individual while everyone around him is weighed down by the crushing concerns of their mundane lives? Or am I just reading too much into an unfortunate artistic discrepancy?