Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09



Comic-book creator talks masculinity, homoerotic stories
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Charlsie Dewey

This article shared 4378 times since Tue Nov 3, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Dale Lazarov wants to know "Which comic book made you gay?"

For him it was Superman—in particular, the volume that first introduces supervillain Vartox.

"Vartox is your basic science-fiction daddy," Lazarov said.

Lazarov is the writer and art director of several wordless, gay character-based, sex-positive graphic novels, including his most recent work, Peacock Punks.

He said coming across Vartox helped him discover what he found attractive, and the comic books he grew up with continued to confirm his attraction for a particular type of man.

"All the comics I grew up with created this notion that middle-aged men were sexy," he said.

Lazarov said his experience discovering his own personal attractions through comic-book representations is a common experience for boys and young men.

Comic books also helped him recognize his own physical attractiveness.

"For a certain generation of men, that includes me, generally the image of gay men was young, pretty, slightly fem, which is perfectly fine, but I didn't identify with that," Lazarov said. "In fact, seeing only that kind of image for gay men made me feel 'I suppose I'm not attractive.'

"Sometime in the '90s, when erotic art for gay men started including guys who looked like me, I realized, 'Oh my god—not only am I attractive, [but] I find guys like me attractive."

When Lazarov began creating his own comics he wanted to show off men like him, but he also wanted to show the diversity of these men.

"Particularly for masculine men, there are all these sort of very rigid boundaries of this is how you should look and this is butch and this is swish and this is top and this is bottom," he said. "All these hard boundaries that people don't really fit, because sexuality is individual. One of the things I deliberately do and look for is trying to expand what is attractive."

Lazarov counts prominent Finnish homoerotic artist Tom of Finland as one of his influences.

"With his comics, all the power differentials that people assume between the policemen and the tough guy, becomes really complicated, because the top and bottom stuff is really fluid," he said.

He said Tom of Finland's work presented the crossing of boundaries between the policeman, who was supposedly in the position of authority, and the outlaw.

"That is one thing I wanted to capture from the Tom Finland comics, that it's a surprise, sex could happen in any context, of course within ethical boundaries, and it doesn't have to have a power differential that is limited," he said. "The toughest guy can be really tender and the gentlest looking gay guy could be a dynamo."

Lazarov said fluidity is also very important to him and something he believes is much less present in today's gay culture.

"My project as a comics creator is to make space in the world for more chance, for people to not limit who they contact. One of the horrible things about app culture, about using apps as a way of doing social interaction, is that people are limiting who they are talking to entirely on material terms," he explained.

"Part of what I loved about being gay in the late '80s and early '90s, when I first came out, was part of the assumption was if you were very limited in who you found attractive and who you talked to you were a snob," he said. "Part of the culture was social fluidity, meeting different people from different classes, like a party where everybody is invited. That is really gone from gay culture, I think.

"Back in the day, things were about being loose and welcoming in a way that didn't really shut down opportunities for interaction. The way people here in Chicago tend to cluster within people they know or people that look like them or of a certain class or neighborhood, that is really not what I grew up with and I would like a world that has that fluidity."

Lazarov will talk about the history of homoerotic art and his own influences and work during an upcoming presentation.

"I explain why comics, sequential art, graphic novels, any sort of sequential narrative art is the perfect venue to capture the objective and subjective nature of homoeroticism," he said. "You aren't only getting the physical attraction, you are also getting a sort of character based interpersonal connection."

Lazarov said the narrative form of sequential art provides a unique opportunity for breaking down limitations that people have about what is attractive and what is valid in human relationships.

"That is what the presentation is about, it's talking about how comics in particular have this ability to create acceptance in a way that I don't think prose can, for example, especially since gender is so visual. When you have a story that humanizes men, a story that shows there is a diversity of attractive masculinity, it creates a space for people to locate themselves within."

The adults only presentation will feature both panel excerpts and full comics page samples from classic superhero comics, from Tom of Finland homoerotic comics, and from contemporary gay and gay erotic illustrators and cartoonists.

Lazarov will be giving a presentation, "Comics Made Me Gay," on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at Geek Bar Beta, 1941 W. North St., beginning at 7:30 p.m. To learn more about Lazarov, visit .

This article shared 4378 times since Tue Nov 3, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

"Chicago: Where comics came to life (1880-1960)" at Chicago Cultural Center 2021-06-18
--From a press release - "Chicago: Where comics came to life (1880-1960)" opens Saturday, June 19 at Chicago Cultural Center. The new exhibition celebrates Chicago as the comics capital of the world. Current exhibitions include ...

Gay News

Comics: CAKE postponed to 2022 2021-02-06
- The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) has been postponed to 2022. In an open letter, organizers stated, "While we are encouraged that the State of Illinois has, as of this writing, administered COVID-19 vaccine doses to ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Tom of Finland, help for renters, 'Batwoman' 2020-09-22
- —Rentervention ( This webpage begins with a daunting statistic: Each year, more than 20,000 people are evicted from their homes in Chicago. Rentervention—a part of the ...

Gay News

Wizard World postponed until June 24-27, 2021 2020-07-29
- Wizard Entertainment, Inc. announced that its Wizard World Chicago convention, originally scheduled for Aug. 20-23 at Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, has been postponed due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. The revised dates ...

Gay News

CAKE postponed until June 2021 2020-04-01
- Because of coronavirus-related concerns, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) and CAKE-related activities are being postponed until a proposed date of June 2021. In a statement, organizers said, "Though the quality ...

Gay News

Chicago Alternative Comics Expo CAKE 2020 postponed 2020-03-26
- A statement to the CAKE community from Chicago Alternative Comics Expo: We know that many of you are rightly concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially affect Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) and CAKE-related activities. ...

Gay News

CAKE announces venue change, cites Center controversy 2020-01-23
- After being at Center on Halsted for several years, the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) 2020 organizing committee announced the weekend-long alt-comics event will take place June 13-14, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at Broadway Armory, 5917 N. ...

Gay News

CAKE applications due Dec. 14 2019-12-10
- Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) is accepting exhibitor applications for CAKE 2020 until Saturday, Dec. 14. CAKE is a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago's rich legacy as ...

Gay News

Pioneering gay cartoonist Cruse dies at 75 2019-12-01
- (WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS, Nov. 26)—Howard Cruse—a pioneer in the LGBTQ cartooning movement and the author of Stuck Rubber Baby, a 1995 award-winning graphic novel about the intersection of race and sexuality ...

Gay News

ACE Comic Con has same-sex marriage proposal 2019-10-29
- At ACE Comic Con, which took place Oct. 11-13 in Rosemont, John Chambrone proposed to his boyfriend, Richard Owen—while Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) witnessed the event. "Brie Larson was amazing! He said yes and ...

Gay News

ACE Comic Con Midwest Oct. 11-13 2019-09-10
- ACE Comic Con Midwest will be at the Donald E. Stephen Convention Center in Rosemont on Oct. 11-13. Guests for this year's show include Oscar winner Brie Larson (Captain Marvel), Chris Hemsworth ...

Gay News

Comic Con dazzles with stars, cosplay 2019-09-03
- Thousands of pop-culture aficionados (many donning the costumes of their favorite characters) visited Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Convention Center on Aug. 22-25 for Wizard World Comic Con. There were ...

Gay News

UPDATE: Travolta to attend Wizard World Comic Con 2019-08-12
- This year's Wizard World Comic Con Chicago will take place Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 22-25, at Rosemont's Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd.—and it has just gotten some serious star power. It was announced Aug. ...

Gay News

CAKE Chicago shows diversity in comics 2019-06-18
- CAKE (the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) took place at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted Ave., on June 1-2. According to its website, CAKE "is a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago's rich legacy ...

Gay News

Alternative comics expo June 1-2 2019-05-30
- CAKE (the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) will take place at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted Ave., on June 1-2. According to its website, CAKE "is a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago's rich ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.