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Murphy, Annie (editor) – Gay Genius


Gay Genius

Watch out homophobes, it’s an entire anthology full of the dreaded “gay stuff!” I like to think that such people don’t read my site, but it’s always fun to scare off the hypothetical haters regardless. This anthology runs the gamut from fantastic stuff to pretty damned good stuff to stuff that’s just OK with maybe a bad piece here or there, which makes this exactly like every comics anthology that’s ever existed. My favorite piece was the one sampled below by Annie Murphy, which hey wait a minute she’s the editor too! This one tells the story of Babe Bean, a mysterious figure from the late 1800’s who dressed like a man, but this person was tiny and refused (or was unable to) speak, so nobody could tell her gender. Tales of gay folks of any stripe from the 1800’s rarely ended well, which makes this one even more of a delight (um, spoiler alert, no violence to be found here). Annie used newspaper accounts for most of her narration, as Babe captured the imagination of the area for a good chunk of time and the papers were constantly speculating about her origins. But the important parts of this story were the areas where Babe broke through the previously impenetrable gender wall to gain access to exclusively male clubs and events. This is listed as a “Part 1” even though it’s not listed in the back of the book as something that is ongoing, which is a shame. I’d love to read about the missing years between the start of the story and the end of it, even if the newspapers moved on and there would be a lot of speculation involved. Other stories in here include tributes to a couple of different deceased friends (by Matt Runkle and Ellery Russian respectively, as they both regret losing access to these people at such a young age), LeRoi Newbold’s story of thinking she got AIDS from a female friend after they had “fake sex” when they were 9 and how she figured out who she was in her early teens (complete with terrible spelling/grammar that makes perfect sense in the context of this story, told from the perspective of a confused kid), the various tales of different butches from Elisha Lim, Clio Reese Sady with her story of the first FTM transgender gathering in 1986 (it’s fascinating to see these people struggling just to come up with terms to describe what they were going through, as they were literally making it up as they went along) and Samantha Jane Dorset with her entreaty for marines to quit the service (with a nice story about one who did and who later became a mentor for other confused marines). You can see from the various tags that there are plenty of other stories in this anthology, but what fun is it if I go through them one by one? You already know that Edie Fake is a consistent delight, and the format of this book allows full color when appropriate, so a good chunk of these stories really stand out visually. It’s worth a look, even for you jaded folks who think you already know all about any possible stories in here. Believe you me, you almost certainly don’t know everything in here. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the many different definitions of genius in the back, many of which I’ve never heard before. $20