Shirtlifter

9 04 2015

I’m still in the middle of Midnight’s Children, but I had this on hold for me so I just quickly read through them in an hour or two. I ultimately gave the Shirtlifter series a somewhat low rating because I found the depiction of gay culture and gay life to be very… typical. For what it’s worth, I have no doubt a lot of gay men will identify with how the gay community is portrayed here: overwhelmingly white, muscled, good-looking, masculine, meeting at the local gay bar where everyone knows each other. I also don’t doubt that at the time of its publication, there wasn’t really anything else like it, so gay men likely embraced it quickly (much like the awful, awful series DTLA). Still, if the experiences of going out and buying desserts for your foodie friends and then going to the Pumpjack with other shirtless, buff guys is exactly what your life is, then who am I to say it’s a shallow life?

Some of the stories are better than others. Most of the additional stories with guest artists, in particular the one featuring a guy running from his problems by hitchhiking across the country, featured some pretty bad writing and characterization. You could definitely tell they were artists/illustrators first, writers second.

The other problem I had was in the first issue. Two white guys are debating about having sex with Asian guys; one says that they’re passive and they just lie there. The other tells him he’s just generalizing. I couldn’t help but feel like although the writer does try to make arguments on both sides, it clearly felt like he was on the side of the racist douche. Not only was it somewhat poorly defended, but this belief that Asian guys are all twinky bottoms who “just lie there” is probably a common belief that ultimately felt like it was thrown in there without any consequences or reason whatsoever. It appears that the racist dude ends up having sex with a Japanese guy in the end to get his anger and emotions out of his system, and I expected his racist belief to flip on him, but it didn’t which was disappointing. I didn’t feel like he understood it as a problem at all, and anyone reading this who believes it as well likely wouldn’t. And that irritated me. Then again, it’s not like I expect white guys to understand oppression.

One thing I did enjoy was all the drawings and locations of Vancouver. I recognized all the spots, so it was really cool to see them drawn out the way it actually is.

Also, I’m running out of ideas for pictures with my books, so here are my legs, partially blocking the books. I think I need to go back trying to look like a douche in the mirror while I pose with books. (But I don’t know how to look like a douche!)

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