PCC sponsors free screening of ‘No Straight Lines’ highlighting LGBTQ comic artists
Photos and Story by James Hill
Portland Community College, Pride Northwest, and the team at No Straight Lines have been working together to create a community-wide event for all Portlanders who might be interested in a free group Zoom film screening of “No Straight Lines” and engaging in an after-film Q&A with film Director/Producer Vivian Kleiman and Portland comic Rupert Kinnard (aka “The Brown Bomber”).
Register and log on to the event here at 6pm on Thursday, March 16. Organizers are hoping to encourage Portland-area comics to create communities where they can share their work with one another. This event will offer queer comics in attendance the opportunity to share links where their current work can be enjoyed.
The film chronicles the rise of five DIY comic artists who were part of an artistic movement that ushered LGBTQ art into the mainstream. Alison Bechdel began her long running “Dykes to Watch Out For” comic on a whim, and has now earned Tony Awards and a MacArthur Award for her critically acclaimed graphic memoir, “Fun Home.”
Howard Cruse, the godfather of queer comics, sought to counteract the bland version of American life he saw reflected back from the comic strips of his youth with intimate and witty portrayals of everyday queer life. Rupert Kinnard shows the strength of his boxing idols and the first serialized gay black superhero in his creation of “The Brown Bomber.” Mary Wings bravely produced the first known lesbian themed comic created by an out lesbian in the closetted early 1970s. And Jennifer Camper playfully depicts her Lebanese American heritage and experiences as a lesbian feminist in her fierce characters.
The challenges they each faced, and the solutions found, paved the way for today’s emerging LGBTQ artists to create art on their own terms. As threats to queer self-expression spread across the country, now is the perfect moment for us to hear the remarkable stories of the pioneers who broke the doors open, and first imagined a world of no straight lines.