The logo appeared last spring, but it’s especially appropriate for the Day of the Dead, yesterday:

(#1) Gaysper (as he was quickly dubbed), the gay ghost: a Casperesque wraith in rainbow

Gaysper materializes upon the scene. From the (UK) PinkNews story “Anti-LGBT party Vox posts ‘gay ghost’ emoji but it backfires spectacularly” on 4/30/19:

The anti-LGBT political party [Vox] posted a graphic on Twitter, prior to the Spanish general elections on April 28, of a Lord of the Rings character [(Aragorn)] “going to battle” with the emblems of all of their adversaries.

The Photoshopped image included an anarchist sign, feminist sign, a Catalonia flag, a communist symbol, an El Pais logo (a Spanish newspaper) and to represent the LGBT community, a gay ghost emoji.

… Queer and trans social media users started using the hashtag #gaysper to create memes and [using the rainbow-coloured ghost emoji] roundly mock the group,  who oppose same-sex marriage and LGBT+ families.

(Similar designs were soon created for Lesper, Bisper, Transper and Pansper.)

Vox’s symbolic intentions weren’t clear; maybe their idea was to equate homosexuality with death. If so, a rainbow skull, along the lines of this fearsome image, might have done the job:

(#2) From DeviantArt: Rainbow Skull by wheisnoe (4/1/11)

Instead, they went for cute (including a smile, or laugh), and thereby provided a cheery symbol of LGBT pride, which has been celebrated and distributed around the world.

The Casper connection. From my 6/16/16 posting “On the Harvey train”, in a section on Casper, the Friendly Ghost:

Casper is, so to speak, embodied in two different ways: as a humanoid, with feet … and as a footless and rather sperm-like spirit entity (which, however, thinks and talks)


(#3) What a great many people were reminded of by the image in #1

Ghosts of NYC. Another possible contributor to the cartoon ghost in #1 is the cartoon ghost of the Ghostbusters publicity:

(#4) Poster for the 1984 movie about three parapsychologists starting a ghost-catching business in NYC

Mouth open in surprise or fear, not smiling or laughter, but a cartoon ghost nevertheless, and not a nice one. Represented here inside the emoji of restriction, rejection, or prohibition: 🚫 NO GHOSTS!

And then there are Gay Ghostbuster variants of this symbol, as here:

(#5) From the Wizard Nerdcast site: gay heroes against ghosts

Another kind of gay ghost. From the superhero annals, in Wikipedia:

(#6) After death, Everet takes over the body of Charles Collins

The Gay Ghost (later renamed the Grim Ghost, not to be confused with Grim Ghost) is a fictional superhero in the DC Comics universe whose first appearance was in Sensation Comics #1 (Jan. 1942), published by one DC’s predecessor companies, All-American Publications. He was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Howard Purcell.

… The Gay Ghost is able to leave Collins’ body at will and can also materialise/dematerialise at will. Apart from that, he is a keen swordsman and hand-to-hand fighter.

… Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man conjectures that all characters which were once published by DC Comics but are no longer active are sent to a dimension called “Limbo”, where they remain until they are revived by returning to active publication. Characters never remember being in Limbo. In Animal Man Vol. 1 #25, Animal Man becomes the first character to visit Limbo while still “current” and encounters a large number of old Golden Age and Silver Age DC comic book characters. The Gay Ghost is among them, but he says that he does not want to be “brought back”, since the colloquial meaning of the word gay has changed since the character was created in the 1940s, and he is not himself a homosexual.

Meanwhile, I muse upon the “queerest in all history”, the presentation of the Earl as visibly hung, and the choice of gay ‘carefree’ as a descriptor for the hero, and wonder if the writers weren’t having a private joke back in 1942. I’m willing, however, to concede that the double entendre in this panel was unintended:

(#7) Collins and Everet, about to become one

One Response to “Gaysper”

  1. [BLOG] Some Sunday links | A Bit More Detail Says:

    […] Zwicky looks at Gaysper, and then at other queer […]

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