Continuing my theme of gay cartoons, I turn to a figure from the 70s and 80s, a commentator on gay male life of the time. From Wikipedia:

Gerard P. Donelan (born 1949), known primarily as just Donelan, is an openly-gay cartoonist. He drew “It’s a Gay Life”, a regular single-panel cartoon feature in The Advocate, for 15 years.

… “It’s a Gay Life” gently lampooned gay culture of the time, focusing primarily on young and middle-aged gay men. He continued to work in retailing while producing the series, which also yielded two paperback reprints: Drawing on the Gay Experience (1987) and Donelan’s Back (1988).

(I have both of the volumes in my library.)

Three examples:




Dated in some ways, but still a pleasant memory for some, in particular the blogger Boomer D. on the site “Boomer Beefcake and Bonding: Combating heterosexism since 2011” on 2/24/15, on “Donelan: It’s a Gay Life”:

When I was in grad school in Bloomington in 1982 and 1983, I was able to get copies of The Advocate at the adult bookstore. One of my favorite features was a series of single-panel New Yorker-style cartoons, “It’s a Gay Life,” by Donelan, lampooning the culture of 1970s gay neighborhoods: brunch, boyfriends, leathermen, queens, cruising, decorating, activism….

Some cartoons were about the reaction of straights, those who knew — and were ok with it. In a clueless, stereotyping way. Others who didn’t know, and didn’t want to know.

I was most drawn to the cartoons depicting gay men in pairs and groups. There was a whole society out there somewhere, a place where being gay was commonplace, even expected, where straights were the interlopers and strangers. I wanted that world.

Earlier on this blog, some postings on more or less traditional cartoons and graphic novels by lgbt artists.

first, Alison Bechtel, who has her own Page here.

from 7/30/11, “X of death, killer X”: cartoon from Charles Ortleb & Richard Fiala (1978), Relax! This Book Is Only a Phase You’re Going Through: Gay Cartoons from Christopher Street.  (also Ortleb & Fiala (1980), Le Gay Ghetto: Gay Cartoons from Christopher Street)

from 4/8/13, “Ralf König”: Ralf König’s The Killer Condom (2009 … (rev. ed.); 1992 The Killer Condom …, translation from German by Jim Steakley of 1988 Kondom des Grauens [‘Condom of Horror’])

from 5/25/14, “Doc and Raider”: Doc and Raider is a Canadian comic strip, created by Sean Martin. Published in newspapers and magazines for LGBT audiences beginning in 1987, the strip’s main characters are Doc and Raider, two gay men who began the series as roommates but eventually became a couple. Doc was a writer, while Raider was a construction worker. … In its original format, the strip ran from 1987 to 1997. Martin subsequently revived the strip as a webcomic in the mid-2000s. (In my library: Caught on Tape: An Anthology of Doc & Raider Cartoons (1994);  Incrediby Lifelike: The Second Anthology of Doc & Raider Cartoons (1996))

from 3/7/15, “eunuchs”: section in Diane DiMassa and Hothead Paisan: Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist

from 1/14/16, “Kike Sorroche, ilustrador homoerótico”: [Spanish artist’s] three-panel cartoons about the character Aday … Aday’s adventures at the beach, mostly cruising in the dunes

A few more to come from my library.

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