Today, one of my favorite cartoonists is appearing in beautiful Lenox, Mass. for a reading of his epic graphic novel, “Stuck Rubber Baby.” Howard Cruse‘s now-classic work, just reissued, is about a young gay man drawn into the civil rights movement in Alabama in the 1960s.
He appears at The Bookstore, 11 Housatonic Street, from 2-4 p.m. today.
Howard Cruse stands out among cartoonists as someone who can deal with long-form storytelling. And he can draw. I mean, really render a human being, a place, a scene that is convincingly alive.
I remember a time, about 20 years ago, trying to find my place in the world and finding solace in the graphic novel series Cruse was offering at the time, “Wendel.” Here was a young guy, I guess about my age, in a cool neighborhood with the right friends and a good relationship. It was sexy, funny and lighthearted and Wendel had everything I craved while living alone in Bristol, Conn.
Some people like science fiction themes, others prefer superheroes for their fantasy input. For me, it was stuff like “Wendel,” “Curbside,” and “The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green.” Searching for these today brings you a lot of dead links. To think there was a time when LGBT magazines and newspapers wouldn’t be complete without a comics section.
I had the pleasure of seeing Cruse’s reading many years ago at Dixon Place in New York City, around the time I had the pleasure of commissioning him for spot art for a magazine I was working for.
Come and support Howard Cruse, and for that matter, support your favorite comic strip.