Coming Out of the Comic
In class we have discussed Stuck Rubber Baby and Fun Home, two graphic novels that deal with issues such as sexuality, coming-of-age, and more. It occurred to me during these lectures that this isn’t my first experience with these themes in comic form.
I read a lot of webcomics—it’s part of my daily routine after stumbling out of bed and fixing a bowl of cereal. The list spans several genres. Around half of the comics I frequent handle sexuality as a major or recurring theme. It’s interesting to note that, unlike the works we’ve read in class, the city is a major setting instead of a more rustic place. For the most part the relationships portrayed are, with the exception of Penny and Aggie, played just as casually as anything else.
Something Positive, Questionable Content, and Girls with Slingshots are overall comedy/slice-of-life works that contains story arcs instead of one major plot. All three are set in New England cities (Something Positive has lengthy times in Texas as well), the stories revolve around the (mis)adventures of the characters, who are adults in their mid-twenties. Sex, love, life, and relationships come up often and in more or less humorous ways.
Much along the lines of South Park, Something Positive isn’t afraid to make any and everyone a target, going as far as the artist’s specific email for people—who can’t take a joke—to send hate-mail.
Penny and Aggie contains a large, predominantly female cast that gets a little hard to keep track of at times. Unlike the above comics I’ve mentioned, it is set in a suburban high school and all of the dramas associated with those four tumultuous years. Penny and Aggie focuses on a more coming-of-age story than the others. The teens deal with family, friends, enemies, and acceptance of self and by others. Brings back memories of high school cliques and why to avoid them.
The question I want to pose as food-for-thought is: Why comics? What makes comic (or graphic novel) form a seemingly popular medium for handling sexuality and growing up?