Archive for October 12th, 2004

Self-oppressed Minority

October 12th, 2004

I had a fun time speaking at Dartmouth yesterday. I delivered my getting-rather-old rant about being ghettoized as a lesbian cartoonist. “Why can’t I be just a plain, generic cartoonist,” I whined. “Just because I write about drag kings and dildos and transgender children. I mean, what’s the big deal? I’m writing about my world just like Garry Trudeau writes about his, and no one calls him a heterosexual cartoonist.” I read from a bitter cartoon essay I wrote for The Stranger a couple years ago,“Oppressed Minority Cartoonist,” to punctuate my premise.

Afterward, I was somewhat chastened but delighted to learn that James Sturm was in the audience. He is a.) one of the founders of The Stranger, b.) a great graphic novelist, c.) not a lesbian, and d.) the director of the Center for Cartooning Studies, an absolutely amazing 2 –year cartooning program that will be starting in the fall of 2005.

Also in the audience was Ana Merino, an academic and poet who does a lot of theoretical writing about comics. She included some of my work in an exhibit that she curated last year called Comic Release. And she’s on the board of directors of the Center for Cartooning Studies.

So the presence of these comics luminaries kind of shut me up about the “oppressed minority cartoonist” shtick. I’ve decided that the secret to being plain and generic is to just act like you’re plain and generic.