I’ve never really been into comics. It wasn’t until Robert Crumb offered BUTT a rejected drawing from ‘The New Yorker’ — an offer which was withdrawn when we mentioned we never pay for submissions — that it occurred to me that BUTT’s pink pages might be the perfect place to feature comics. Then last summer, ‘No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics’ edited by Justin Hall, appeared in my inbox.

For the uninitiated, Justin’s 328-page anthology is a very thorough introduction to the world of GLBT comics. His knowledge on the subject is pretty extensive, probably because he’s been a fan of the medium since he was a kid. Justin tells me that’s how he learned to read. His own entry, ‘I No Longer Cared’, is a series of panels adapted from a true story he read in the beat-off book ‘Straight to Hell’. In fact, the entire collection features a healthy dose of realism from a genre usually characterized by fantasy.

Of the eighty or so authors included, I was most impressed by: two hilarious strips from Ralf König, who is regarded as a national treasure in Germany, but hardly known elsewhere; multi-Eisner Award (that’s the equivalent of an Oscar in the comics industry) winner Eric Shanower’s take on the story of Aladdin; and Frenchman Fabrice Neaud’s beautifully-drawn meditation on absence, ‘Émile’, which appears with a newly hand-lettered English translation.

When he’s not reading comics, San Franciscan Justin Hall, 41, makes ends meet as a masseur and occasional porn actor under the name of Steve Trevor, a name fans of the DC Comics super-heroine Wonder Woman will recognize. ’No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics’ is available in hardback directly from the publisher, and it’s available digitally here.

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