A Coming Out Story



Episodes

Prologue - My First X Rated Movie

Episode 1 - Meet Your Libido

Episode 2 - I'm Not Gay!

Episode 3 - Babes

Episode 4 - Sex! Sex!

Episode 5 - You Don't Think He's Gay Do You...?

Episode 6 - That Smile

Episode 7 - Why Your Libido Can't Get You A Date

Episode 8 - "Hi...".

Episode 9 - Left Brain/Right Brain

Episode 10 - "Just Don't Look..."

Episode 11 - The Higher Brain Function

Episode 12 - Dinner Table Danger Zone

Episode 13 - How I Got My Camera Bug

Episode 14 - The Face In The Yearbook

Episode 15 - Heartworm

Episode 16 - LA...LA...LA...I CAN'T HEAR YOU...

Episode 17 What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 1)

Episode 18 What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 2)

Episode 19 What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 3 - Aftermath)

Intermission - The Business of Tacos

Episode 20 - Why Do You Ask?...

Episode 21 - The Pause That Distresses

Episode 22 - The Zen of Tacos

Episode 23: Consulting The Oracle...

      Script:         Script
      Pencils:        Pencils
      Inks:           Inks
      Scan & Finish:  Scan & Finish

Woo Hoo...Two New Episodes Back To Back! (21 & 22)

These two were a lot of fun, and quick to do because they were only three strips long and Episode 22 had a background in it I could repeat across all the panels. 23, which will conclude this little mini story arc, will take longer because the artwork is more complex. Basically it has little teenage me wandering around Montgomery Mall in a daze and I still haven't started on the pencils for it yet and I need to do some research on what the Mall was like inside back in the day when it was one of the first shopping Malls built.

Thank you...All Of You...who've stuck with me on this, despite how infrequently I've been updating it. I really appreciate it.

Apologies...

Sorry for the mix up with the progress bars. I either need to stop keeping two different copies of the page alive or only do my edits on the household test site.

I've been getting a lot of progress done on the next two episodes...which are much shorter than what I've been posting for a while...just three strips of panels max. So I should have more out very soon now. In fact I'm targeting the next release for next weekend (Feb 4-5).

This current story arc (that began with Why Do You Ask?) lasts three more episodes. Then I start another one beginning with A Conversation With God. Stay tuned...

Episode 20...finally!

Just barely in time to be able to say I got at least one episode finished in 2016. Sorry... But some fun stuff is coming next!

Intermission

Looking over things after I posted Episode 19, I've decided to split the story into several logical Parts. 19 Concludes the first part which basically sets up the story and it's historical context. The next part is where the object of my affections and I actually begin talking to each other, and circling around each other in an age when gay kids were getting fed horrible lies about themselves from Every Direction. First crushes are hard enough for kids to deal with. For gay kids back when me and "T.K." (not his real name) it was especially difficult. The worst of it was in 1971-72 there was no way you could talk about it with anyone. So you pretty much had to stumble your way around, trying to figure out what was going on inside of you, and then what to you do about this crush you're having. How can you tell if the object of your affections is feeling the same way. One false move could be a disaster...for both of you.

That said, it's not like it was a complete and total nightmare for me either. Mostly it was a lot of confusion. I can look back on most of it now with a sense of humor. Hopefully I can put some of that into the story going forward. What's coming next is a short story arc wherein I finally break the ice with the object of my affections, after being tagged by the student newspaper to cover one of our football games.

But first, I figured I'd toss out here a little intermission of sorts...just to give anyone who's still hanging on to this tale a wee taste of what's to come in the second part. Enjoy. And thanks so much for staying tuned!

Episode 19...Yes, I'm Still Here...

Obviously these things aren't coming out in any sort of regular timeframe. It's been a year now since 18 got finished. But I'm back to work on 19 now and I will try to get it out sometime in March. The problem for me with 19 is it's a lot of panels of more complex artwork than I'd originally planned. As the script developed the art got more involved and I couldn't figure out a way to simplify it. But it has to be that because I really need to say this one right. You'll see.

This episode concludes the little three part intermission between my discovering the object of my affection's name and the next part of the story where I actually work up the nerve to talk to him and we begin circling around each other warily. It gets funner after this one. But this little intermission was important to drive home the context of all that is happening. The world gay kids get to grow up in now is very different from the one me and "T.K" had to grow up in.

Episode 19...not so fast after all...

Obviously Episode 19 didn't come out as fast as I'd thought. Never fear, I'm back at it now...

Episode 18...Wow that was fast...

I do believe that this is the quickest I've ever turned out an episode since I started this thing back in 2005. next episode will take a little longer though...possibly a month. Then I get to go back to something a little funner...

Finally...Episode 17

It's been over a year since I posted the last episode and if anyone is still following this little tale I am greatly surprised and grateful.

I really need to work this page into more of a blog about the series since few people who come here also visit my regular blog apparently. That'll make it easier for me to keep people informed about how the work is progressing.

This episode is the first of a three part mini story arc that I'll hopefully conclude by March. I already have a lot of the penciling done on the rest of it so I don't expect the extreme time lag between them that this one amounted to.

Plus, turning 60 recently and realizing that it's almost been ten years I've worked on this and I've only got 16 episodes of about 50 out has really motivated me to finish it...hopefully by the time the ten year anniversary rolls around in 2015.

New Episodes

As you can see I've added a bunch of progress bars for upcoming episodes. Basically I've thrown in the towel on doing everything exactly in squence because I keep getting stuck on certian parts of it and it's taken me a while to figure that when I'm stuck somewhere I can be working on something somewhere else. So I started working on the story arc following the current one and it got me going again. Also I'm on holiday vacation and I can spend a lot more time for the next week or so at my drafting table.

So hang in there...I really appreciate all of you who have hung on while I try to get my act together on this, and have offered encouragement. It's been too damn long since I've added new episodes here. Hopefully I can get this licked by just drawing some other part of this story when I get stuck somewhere and eventually it'll all come together and you might see a sudden barrage of new stuff when the parts connect.



Endings...

I began A Coming Out Story in 2005, (spoiler alert) still not knowing after more than thirty years what had become of the object of my affections, still yearning to see him one more time. I was convinced then that I never would. Some days when I thought of him I was afraid that maybe he was dead. Some days I wondered if he'd found and settled down with his other half, some other better guy than me. Perhaps they were living a happy life together somewhere in the South American land of his birth. Perhaps one day I might find his panel there among the Names Quilts all laid out in rows on a grassy field under a clear blue sky. I had no idea. I needed some way to get it all out of me, and hopefully make some sense of it all in the process.

So I began A Coming Out Story. And then along the way I finally crossed paths with "T.K." (not his real initials) and so my past came forward and collided with the present and I was spun 'round and 'round and 'round. I'm beginning to think now that this is the default state of my life. I know...I know... I'm hardly alone in that. But it really slowed down my progress getting the story out.

I had no idea how I was going to end my cartoon tale. I figured I would find the end when I got to it. Well...I know how it ends now. Hopefully this will make it easier to resume getting the thing out of me. It isn't the ending I would have wanted...but it's the one I have, and oddly, it's not as bad an ending as it might have been. I can see a truth here, finally, beyond the ones I had in mind when I started drawing it, that is worth telling.



Beginning Work On The Next Three Episodes...

I did a little re-writing of Episode 17, and got working on the pencils. I hope to have that one up before Christmas.

Stay tuned...



Introduction and notes

This began with with a one-shot slice of life comic I did about the time my high school buddies dragged me to see my first X-rated movie. That five page cartoon is now the prologue you see listed on the left. After I posted it I was really gratified to receive requests to tell "the rest of the story", but even before I'd finished it I knew I wanted to say more about that time in my life.

As good as I had it, and I admit I had it really, really good compared to many gay teens, I still had a very awkward coming-out process. In part it was my Baptist upbringing. Though I had walked away from church by age 14, the experience left me very socially awkward, and with this embedded idea that boys shouldn't be too interested in girls until they're old enough to get married. Ironically enough, I was fine with that.

But mostly it was the horrible Sex Ed class I had in 1969, which was taught by our gym teachers who seemed to want to keep us as ignorant as they could about sex and human sexuality. Those classes were full of awful grainy black and white 1950s films about the dangers of "heavy petting" and VD. All we learned was a bit of human anatomy many of us already knew, and a hodge-podge of ignorant ideas about human sexuality that mostly consisted of Don't Do That!

What we were taught about homosexuals and homosexuality was nothing more then the myths, lies and superstitions of the time...but the high octane version. We were taught that homosexuals usually killed the people they had sex with, that they mutilated the genitals of the people they had sex with, that homosexual men were mentally ill and thought they were really women, and wanted to have sex with children and sometimes animals too.

We all just listened to it raptly, like a group of kids being told ghost stories by the scoutmaster. Looking back, I realize now that if they had only laid it on a little less heavy, I might have grown up knowing I was gay, and loathing myself like a lot of other gay teens back then did. But what my gym teachers did was convince me absolutely that I couldn't possibly be homosexual, because I wasn't any of the monstrous things they taught us homosexuals were.

Problem was, I had this thing for good looking guys that kept yanking my chain the older I got. It didn't make me afraid, so much as confused and irritated and disgusted with the whole love and sex thing generally. By the time I was 17 I figured I'd just skip the whole thing, and go live on a higher plain somewhere, and be beyond the reach of all that dating and mating stuff. Ha Ha Ha.

So this new cartoon series is about that first step your gay and lesbian neighbors take in the coming out process...the time when you come out to yourself. I'm old enough now to look back on a lot of it with a sense of humor, mixed in with a bit of amazement that I came through it all mostly okay. The 1970s were a different time. There were hardly any resources for gay adults back then, let alone gay teens. You just kind of flailed around on your own, grabbing whatever bits and pieces of knowledge you could, from wherever you could dig them up. The Stonewall riots had only happened a few years previously, the only national gay paper, The Advocate, was hard to find anywhere except inside of seedy bars and grimy adult bookstores, and if you subscribed it came in a plain brown envelope. There was no Internet, no personal computers, no way of discovering the larger gay community beyond your doorstep, other then fumbling your way down to the city's one dank gay bar...not exactly the best place for a teenager to hang out.

Hopefully I can capture some of the sense of coming out back in those days for readers today, but not in a heavy handed way. The story I want to tell is mostly light-hearted, although it has it's dark moments. About a third of what you'll see as the series progresses really did happen to me...about a third is artistic license...and about a third is pure fantasy. It was a trip. I had great times, and I had terrible, awful moments that even now I really don't like to revisit. On the whole, I think I'd rather have grown up in a society that didn't give a good goddamn about sexual orientation. But I had to deal with coming of age, and coming out, during the Vietnam/Nixon/Counter Culture/LSD/Watergate/Long Hair and Bell Bottoms years. Black people were rioting for what decades of segregation was doing to them, women were fighting their way out of the 1950s womanhood straight-jacket, people were coming home from Vietnam crippled or in body bags, and hard hats were bashing long hairs in the streets. The adolescence we live is the one we're tossed into. This was mine. Mostly.



Note: New episodes are posted on a highly erratic schedule, so Just keep checking in, if it interests you. Or ask and I'll put you on a mail list so you can know when I have a new episode up.

July 2, 2007 (Episode 10)

This one was a lot of fun to do. I was giggling almost the whole time I was doing the pencils.

A sense of the broad arc of this story should start becoming evident now. This thing is going to take a while to wind through, but the trip should be fun.

This one was about that period of time when I knew I shouldn't be looking at good looking guys in quite that way, and yet I was utterly unable to stop myself from doing it...and especially so when it came to a certain someone. It was all very annoying.

And yes...he really did wear his gym shorts that tight. Back in those days a guy could wear things like that and he wasn't automatically assumed to be gay. In fact if anything, it was those of us poor thin scrawny geeky guys in our baggy gym shorts that never really looked right who were taunted with words like queer and homo. Though in all fairness you rarely heard that sort of thing at my old High School, which was a blessing.

By my senior year, which is when this story takes place, I was given the choice of opting out of gym class...which I immediately did. It saved me a lot of embarrassment, but in retrospect I wish they'd made things a little better for slight guys like me. We needed physical fitness too. The problem was they kept throwing us into team sports that our bodies simply weren't suited for... like football. And I could never for the life of me run track, though my gym teachers persisted in making me try. In my twenties and thirties I could put on a forty pound backpack and hike miles into the woods...but put me on a track and ask me to do a 100 yard dash and I'm doing good if I make it to the finish line. They needed to tailor the physical training to the body of the kid and the system was never designed to do that. Even at Woodward, we were all given a pretty much cookie cutter education (Frank Moran's art class was a happy exception). It's just that at Woodward it was done as well as possible and the teachers were actually good at what they were teaching. Most of them.

June 17, 2007 (Episode 9)

It's been almost seven months since the last episode! Argh! I am so sorry to those of you who have been patiently following this story. The problem is that when you write about your post, you have to be careful. Sometimes your past reaches out and taps you on the shoulder.

I'm writing a story here about an period in my past that is still, to this day, vital to me. I'm trying to do it with a little humor, but there is a serious side to all this that I'll get to later on. Those of you who know me from this period in my life, shouldn't take too much meaning in the specifics of it, and in particular, in who is who. I've fiddled with the identities of the people in this story, partly because I don't want to embarrass anybody. I doubt that any of my old high school friends want their current employers to know about all the stuff we did back when we were all teenagers. But more importantly, this story is mostly about something that happened to me on the inside, not so much the outside. I'm trying to tell a story about how it was back in 1971-72, that I came to understand that I am gay...and most importantly of all, how it was that I never hated myself.

I'm sure there will be some speculation eventually about who the object of my affections was. But I've disguised his identity, along with everyone else's in this story. Never mind who he was. What I'm trying to tell a story about, is who I was...then...and how I came to be who I am today.

And it's about one other thing: How hard gay teens used to have it once upon a time, how hard many of them still have it today, and how unforgivable it is to take away from a young person, one of this life's most perfect, most wonderful and magical moments...that moment when we fall in love for the first time, and discover what it's all about.

That moment should be one of the most perfectly happy moments of our lives. But for gay teens, even to this day, it is often turned into a nightmare of pain, alienation, and self loathing. It's unforgivable.

But, because it happened to me in the quirky way it did (see the Introduction above), I managed to escape most of the pain and bitterness. Which is how I can look back on this time, painful and confusing as it often was, with a lot of fondness, and a little humor. But it was a near thing. It could have turned out much, much worse for me. Given a different set of circumstances, or a first crush who turned out to be a cynical manipulative creep, I could have been completely devastated by it all. But I wasn't. I was lucky. Very, very lucky.

Mostly.

November 26, 2006 (Episode 8)

This one was a tad difficult to do. Some of the memories I'm digging up in the process of doing this aren't the best...

The next one is going to be a Lot more fun though...

August 27, 2006 (Episode 7)

This one was a lot of fun to do. Not much fun to actually live back when I was seventeen though...

July 18, 2006 (Episode 6)

Hey...a new episode and it's only been a couple of weeks! Things get a little fun-er now in the storyline...

July 2, 2006 (Episode 5)

This one was intended mainly to introduce my circle of friends and add a little to the setting. I never intended for it to take so damn long to produce...I just kept hemming and hawing about how I wanted to do this one, which is a very repetative sequence of panels, and so I did other things and let it slide for far, far too long. If I want to finish this thing before I'm 100 I need to be a tad quicker at getting these out.

This one is about a certain blind spot I had in my teen years, that drove some of my friends nuts. They kept waiting for me to grow up and "get it" and I kept wondering why they often looked at me like I was from another planet. Little did any of us really understand that I was growing up right on schedule, just on a slightly different course from theirs. Paradoxically, had I a better understanding of my own homosexuality, I might have had a better understanding of their heterosexuality, and how hormones were jerking them around too, in their way. And when a guy with a 'C' average at best said he was going to go help one of the foxiest honor roll girls in the school with her homework, I might have been able to read between the lines a tad better then I usually did.


Click Here For The Main Cartoon Page Click Here To Go To The Story So Far (blog)...




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