Wexner Center for the Arts to show documentary highlighting queer comics and cartoonists

A documentary showcasing the history of queer comics will be shown at the Wexner Center for the Arts April 8 at 7 pm Credit: Courtesy of M. Sharkey

No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics” will be screened April 8 at the Wexner Center for the Arts in collaboration with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The documentary, directed by Vivian Cleiman and produced by Justin Hall, is based on the first comprehensive anthology of LGBTQ+ comics, “No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics.” The documentary focuses on the history of LGBTQ+ comics by following the stories of five cartoonists and queer culture as it becomes more mainstream, Chris Stults, associate film/video creator at the Wexner Center, said.

“If you’re interested in comics, then this is a great history lesson and one of those films where you’ll jot down lots of names to research,” Stults said. “Even if you’re not interested in comics, I think you will just learn a lot about queer history and this country’s cultural history, and then just super interesting artists that are fun to listen to.”

Hall, who will be attending the upcoming screening to discuss the film, also compiled the original anthology the documentary is based on, Stults said.

“He’s a perfect person to be here to talk about it because he both does have that comic book background but also produced the film, so he kind of straddles both sides of this project’s origin,” Stults said.

Caitlin McGurk, curator of comics and cartoon art at the cartoon library, said she is happy to have Hall attend the screening in person. She said the anthology the documentary was based on was the first of its kind, creating a resource in an area that was previously overlooked.

“I’ve been using it in classes for years here at the cartoon library and was thrilled to find out that there was going to be a documentary based on it focusing specifically on some of the creators who were included in the anthology and the history of queer cartooning communities in general,” McGurk said.

McGurk said queer creators are a huge and important part of the comics community, and she is thrilled to show “No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics” at the Wexner Center as it will be able to introduce audiences to more queer comics and cartoonists .

“They have been a part of the community since the beginning but have not always gotten all of the attention that they deserved,” McGurk said. “There are some really significant queer cartoonists working today, and so I think this is going to be a great introduction for people who are just finding about comics in general.”

The idea for the screening came from the Wexner Center, but McGurk said the cartoon library was excited to partner with them again for the screening as they both strive to uplift and celebrate LGBTQ+ artists.

“We love partnering with the Wex; they’re our close neighbors and friends, and it’s always a great opportunity for us to work with them,” McGurk said. “Oftentimes, if we’re bringing a cartoonist in and we know it’s going to be a large draw, we will work with them to use one of their theaters for it, so it’s wonderful for us to be able to partner with them.”

“No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics” will be showing in the Film/Video Theater at the Wexner Center for the Arts April 8 at 7 pm Tickets are available on the website and are $5 for students, $7 for Wexner Center members and seniors and $9 for the general public.

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