Enough NYCC spam. I apologize for all the re-posts and whatnot. Thankfully my day job will keep me occupied for the next few days.
This is about to get tl;dr:
I’m mulling over the need for GLBT sci-fi comics still. I try to make comics that can be read by everyone. Realism is built on diversity, etc. Maybe that’s the problem- I shy away from delving hardcore into one subject because I’m trying to juggle all of them. And I’ll face it- I don’t have any strength for that in storytelling. I have a linear way of thinking when it comes to plot, and only on occasion does it ever get lateral; a severe flaw.
The character of Captain Zull Bosch in Busboy Blues: Smuggler’s Gambit was always intended as a female to male transgendered character, based on the cultural phenomenon in Albania known as the sworn virgins, who give up their femininity to become part of masculine society in a culture that’s entirely patriarchal. In transitioning and becoming part of masculine society, they can never marry, raise children, or have sexual relationships again.
Bosch was a character who’d embraced this cultural phenomenon and made the best of it. He’s conflicted because he personally identifies as male and is comfortable with his decision, but doesn’t believe in his cultures’ male-dominated society that forces women to deny themselves their life and womanhood to gain basic rights. He brings conflict to both his and Zach’s early life because they become lovers, which breaks Bosch’s vows and screws up Zach’s understanding of his own identity, something he never crawls out of the pit of ignorance to be comfortable with later in his life. Because for all the presentation of the character as a red-blooded womanizer, he’s also an unreliable narrator whose always in denial.
And suddenly the comic was taking on all kinds of political viewpoints and social commentaries that I became paranoid were inappropriate for the type of storytelling. I didn’t want to present serious and important real world topics in a frivolous manner, because I knew somehow the way I write comics was going to detract from the depth of them. And I didn’t want to start sticking personal opinion so much into it that it would move away from the point of telling its characters’ stories.
So I got tripped up about all of it and put the reins on the storyline, which is ridiculous, now that I’ve thoroughly cross-examined it. The thought of how the complexity I was developing in my characters was somehow pulling them away from the characters they were is just insane. A good character grows with the story, and there’s nothing wrong with presenting the topics if the core of how they affect the characters stays consistent.
So what the hell am I doing being worried about my projected idea of what a mockery I’m making of topics. It’s probably not the case. And there’s the old saying: write what you know. If I don’t know gender/sexuality-related, political, and social topics well, then I probably don’t know anything at all. And there will always be criticism of the most earnest intentions. Maybe it’s also that, again, writing is the purest form of expression I have to personally offer, and If I start writing about topics that are personally important, I start having to really bare my soul to the audience. I’m not always a huge fan of that, despite all my yapping in journals. But opening up can be cathartic, too, and I’m starting to understand that.
I just need to keep this in mind when I return to these characters, though.