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July 29th, 2012
One Reason Coming Out To Yourself Was Very Difficult
by Bruce |
Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin writes a daily Today In History post, and yesterday’s gives me pause. Here in 2012, even those of us who lived through this tend to forget it…
Illinois Rescinds Sodomy Law: 1961. On this date in history, the state of Illinois led the nation in becoming the first state in the land to enact a repeal of it’s law criminalizing homosexuality. The repeal was part of a very large omnibus legal overhaul of the state’s criminal code, and much of that overhaul was based on the American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code, which in 1956 recommended the elimination of anti-sodomy laws and other prohibitions against consensual sexual activity between consenting adults. Because the Model Penal Code also touched on a plethora of other criminal statues, it’s likely that most Illinois lawmakers didn’t realize that they were repealing their anti-sodomy law by adopting the Code. Nevertheless, the code was adopted, and the anti-sodimy law’s repeal became effective on January 1, 1962.
For the next decade, Illinois would remain the only state in the union to legalize consensual adult same-sex relationships. In 1971, Connecticut finally rescinded its sodomy law, followed by Colorado and Oregon (1972)…
1972 was when I graduated from High School. So bear in mind the story I’m telling in A Coming Out Story was happening in an America where sex between same-sex consenting adults was a criminal act in 48 out of fifty states that could get you jailed.
If it seems like little teenage me is trying awfully hard not to notice he’s falling head over heels in love with a guy, this has some bearing on why. The next three episodes form another small story arc, that centers on the horrible Sex Ed class I had in Jr. High, and how damaging it was particularly to a gay teenager. There are other negative images of gay people I planned on including into it as background. I may just rewrite some of the text of story arc to include this fact about the state of the sodomy laws back then, just as I was on the cusp of adulthood.
A Coming Out Story – Episodes 15 & 16 Now Posted!
by Bruce |
Episode 15…in which our young hero discovers the power of names…
And Episode 16… In which a boy and his libido continue their mutual failure to communicate…
Note: these two are part of a small three episode story arc that began with Episode 14, so if you haven’t been reading these for a while (because I haven’t posted any new episodes for a while) you might want to start over with that one.
And if you’re new to these you might just want to start at the beginning with the main page. The guy who looks like me walking around naked save for a little fig leaf in Episode 16 might not make a lot of sense otherwise…
July 17th, 2012
by Bruce |
Inks and scans done on A Coming Out Story, Episode 16. So now I have 15 & 16 all inked and scanned, now it’s do the in the computer stuff (basically, the panels, all the shading and the text) and they’re both done. But that’s still a lot of work. Give it another two weeks at the earliest.
July 1st, 2012
Inks Finished On Episode 15…
by Bruce |
I got the inks finished now on episode 15 of A Coming Out Story. This one has been like pulling teeth. There’s something to be said for not digging up your past. Double for not trying to find your first crush after so long. But I am more determined then ever to get this out of me because I think it’s worthwhile, not just as a personal exercise in exorcising my inner ghosts, but as an accounting of what it was like being a gay teenager in the years after Stonewall, but before the APA decided we weren’t mentally ill anymore.
There’s something to be said for all that advice out there about not searching for your first crush. But I had to. It’s been since March 2011 that I posted episode 14. There were times I thought I’d never finish this one. When I started this cartoon series I had no idea where the object of my affections in this story was, what his life might be like, or even if he was still alive at all. After the AIDS Quilt was first unveiled in Washington D.C., I used to have nightmares about walking along its rows and finding one with his name there. Every time I restarted the search for him it terrified me to think I was simply going to discover he was dead.
Then, shortly after I started this little online comic story I found him. And…creatively…my head has been a mess ever since. Somehow in the past couple of weeks I got a head of steam up for it again and I have just zipped through the finishing of the pencils and now the inks. I finished inking this basically in just two days. And my head is still as much a mess as it’s ever been these past six years.
I do not understand that right brain side of me anymore. Not that I ever really did.
June 22nd, 2012
Nothing To It Really…Just Stare At The Drawing Board Until You Sweat Blood…
by Bruce |
Finally…the pencils for A Coming Out Story Episode 15 are done. Man…that one was like pulling teeth…
Sorry for the delays. It’s not the story I’m telling that’s so difficult. It’s the story I’m living.
October 11th, 2011
Always Check The Calendar Before Scheduling A Few Hours Of Pain And Regret
by Bruce |
Okay…now it’s making some sense. Today is National Coming Out Day. Which I guess is proceeded by National Life In The Closet Weekend. Sorta the reverse of how Mardi Gras is followed by Lent.
March 23rd, 2011
A Coming Out Story – Episode 14, “The Face In The Yearbook”
by Bruce |
Wherein our hero learns how useful the school library can be…
Click on the image to go directly to Episode 14, or click Here to go to the main page.
February 17th, 2009
Those Little Things That Brighten Your Day…
by Bruce |
I was just going through the server logs and found another visitor to my cartoon series, A Coming Out Story, who came here via the following Google search:
This isn’t the first time it’s happened either. I’ve had roughly…oh…a half dozen or so occurrences of someone coming here looking for my cartoon specifically. That is, some combination of the cartoon name and mine used as a search string. They don’t know where on the web to find it I reckon, but they know the name of the cartoon and they know the name of the guy who is doing it.
That’s just…amazing. Considering I am not advertising this cartoon At All… I know it’s been picked up on some cartoon aggregators…most notibly the list at gaycomics.free.fr. I get lots of traffic from there every day…mostly people who just check the main page to see if a new episode is up. For them I’ve just added a set of better progress bars to the page, so people can see how things are moving along, and be reassured that the cartoon hasn’t been abandoned because I am so slow at getting out new episodes.
But this is new. I get hits all the time on "coming out stories" or "coming out" or "gay coming out story" or "gay teen coming out story" But only recently…in the past four or five months, have I had any of those searches include my name…it’s always my last name…in the search string.
January 8th, 2009
Let’s Hear It For The Internet Tubes
by Bruce |
I was noticing in the server logs this morning that someone came in from an ip address at the University of Maryland on the following Google search string:
Well…that made my day right there. Someone went looking Specifically for my cartoon series, A Coming Out Story. They didn’t know or couldn’t remember the title exactly, but they knew what it was about and at least the last name of the guy who did it.
Nice. Cartooning was the first love. I gave up hope that I’d ever make a living at it for pretty much the same reason I gave up on being a professional photographer. I’m just not competitive enough, and when I was younger too timid, shy and scared to try making a go of things as a freelancer. Ironically, I ended up spending most of my life freelancing in other fields, only one of which, architectural modelmaking, even remotely touched on my artistic skills. But there it is. I gave up dreaming about seeing my cartoons in print anywhere. Then along came the internet and I could just put up my own web site and see if my stuff attracted anyone.
It does. I have put zero effort into advertising anything I do here and yet after just a few years I get hits on my cartoons from all over the world. Not a torrent of hits. But the steady nature of what I do get is more rewarding then you can imagine.
Which is why I’ll be spending the weekend down in the art room…
December 9th, 2008
Episode 11 Of A Coming Out Story…
by Bruce |
…In which our teenage hero discovers that the parts that make up a brain aren’t necessarily on speaking terms with each other.
Click on the image above to go directly to the new episode…or Here to go to the series main page. I did a little review of the panels I put up over the weekend and yesterday, made a few minor corrections, and started sending out the email notices. If you didn’t get one and want to be put on the mail list let me know.
If you checked in yesterday or Sunday you should know that I shuffled the upcoming episodes around a tad and there is a different one now listed as coming next. I’ll do the one on how I got my camera bug later…it doesn’t really fit at this stage of the story.
The series divides into three parts really. The first part is the one I’m still on right now, which is about how all these sexual feelings just suddenly seemed to start happening to me out of the blue and I started getting all twitterpated over one of my male classmates and all of a sudden I was just flailing around with all these really strong new feelings I was absolutely not prepared for, didn’t understand, and didn’t really want. The second is how I stumbled around trying to avoid having to deal with the realization that I was really sexually attracted to guys, and that I was actually falling in love with this one particular guy. And finally, how I finally came to terms with both of those things and how I moved from confusion and denial into self awareness and pride.
I have about 70 percent of all this scripted, but obviously I’m still working on it as I go along. For one thing, I added a bunch of material to this episode after I started working on the pencils and wasn’t really satisfied with it. But I really need to kick up the output here a tad…or I’ll still be working on this when I’m 90.
December 8th, 2008
by Bruce |
I just put the last of the pages up for episode 11 of A Coming Out Story…
Now I’m off to bed. It’s late…I’m tired… But…satisfied. It’s a good sign when I can still stay up late working on this, and be chuckling to myself while I’m finishing it up…
More later… For now I’m just happy to finally have this one behind me. I really hope I don’t get this blocked ever again on this project…
I’m going to wait another day before I send out the email notices. I want to look it all over tomorrow morning with fresh eyes first, just to make sure there isn’t anything major I want to correct first. Then I’ll send out the email notices. But for all you folks who read the blog…it’s all there…finally…
December 7th, 2008
Episode 11, Inch By Inch…
by Bruce |
I was hoping to have episode 11 of A Coming Out Story up by the end of the weekend, but I just couldn’t. I got to a point tonight where I knew that if I kept on going I wouldn’t be paying enough attention to what I was doing, so I broke off. I still have two pages to go, and half of one left to finish. But it’s looking good for tomorrow.
In the meantime, since this one Has taken so long, I’ve gone ahead and put up what I’ve finished so far. I’m so embarrassed that this one has taken me so long to get done, that I feel like I owe everybody who has kept on pinging this site for a new episode. So I went ahead and put up what I managed to get done tonight. The rest won’t be up until late tomorrow (Monday) though. So you can decide if you want to see what’s done so far and be left hanging until tomorrow, or go ahead and peek now. I won’t officially announce the new episode until it is all done. At which point I’ll send out the notice to my mail list.
And…I have a complaint. Firefox for Linux isn’t displaying the PNG files I put up correctly. At least not the version I’m running here at Casa del Garrett on Mowgli. I was being so careful to get the web files just right…and they looked great on Bagheera (the art room Mac). Then I come upstairs to Mowgli and bring them up and they look horrible. I’ve no idea if it’s a graphics library issue on my particular machine or what. But the panels seem to display just fine on Firefox running on MacOS and Windows. They also display just fine in the KDE Konqueror web browser that’s running on Mowgli. So it isn’t the files I have out there. If the lines look a tad fuzzy in your browser let me know what browser you are using, on which OS, please. I may have to change the encoding on them if there is a big enough problem.
November 30th, 2008
Whew! Pencils And Inks Done! Finally!
by Bruce |
I have finally…Finally…finished the pencils and inks for episode 11 of A Coming Out Story! And it only took me…what…a year and four months? That obviously wasn’t an actual year and four months worth of work. For the longest time I simply could not go anywhere near my drafting table, for some reason I still don’t really understand, other then so many stresses in my life just all came together all of a sudden and I just couldn’t even bear to look at my work area down in the art room.
But it’s coming together now. I still have some work to do in Photoshop…adding the panels and text and touching up this and that. It’ll be the touching up that takes the most time, because I want to get things as right as I can before I put anything up. This episode comes to seven and a half pages. That’s two rows of drawings per page, at about four panels per page. But some pages had more then that. I think I did 29 panels in all for this one.
I have it all scanned in. Now I have to polish it up and put it online. I’m hoping to get that done by next weekend. Finally. Yes…I know…I’ve promised finish dates before that I’ve let slide. But the heavy sweat work was the pencilling. That part of it really gives meaning to the phrase 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration. Actually, I’d say it was more like 2 percent verses 98 percent. But now that’s done, the rest is just a matter of cleaning up.
I actually had to go back and re-do some of it after I’d been away from it for so long. I wasn’t satisifed with many of the earlier panels and I re-drew a lot of it. Then I added two more pages to the beginning of it. But those two pages came out of my pencil pretty fast, compared to the rest of it.
The next episode may run to as many if not more panels, but I think it will go quicker because it tells a story more then this episode does. The drawing for 12 will be a lot less repetative then 11s was. You’ll see what I mean when I put 11 up. Finally.
November 17th, 2008
Progress On “A Coming Out Story”
by Bruce |
I’m still not finished with the pencils, but I decided to switch gears for a bit and do the inking on the pages that are finished. I have three pages inked and scanned in now, and I hope to have the whole pencils and inking part done by Tuesday. That’ll just leave the Photoshop part, which is where I touch things up a tad and add the word balloons and stuff.
Then…I’m going to Disneyworld. For a few days. A co-worker invited me to hang out with him and his family while they’re down there and with gasoline prices being what they are now I wanted to go Somewhere on my vacation after all. My initial plan when I blocked out these two weeks of vacation was to just stay home and work on A Coming Out Story and take care of a few household chores. But I need a change of scenery severely. This has been a stressful year for me, and particularly in the days surrounding the election. I’ve been so…angry…after Proposition 8. I’m actually looking forward to immersing myself for a few days in a fantasy world where there’s nothing but blue sky and happy times all around. I’d book a week in Pleasantville right now if I could.
In lieu of that, I booked a room inside of Disneyworld at one of their onsite hotels and got a "park hopper" pass, which basically lets you wander around the entire enclave. Otherwise your ticket only gets you into one theme park at a time. I’ve never been to Disneyland in California yet, but Disneyworld is so friggin’ huge you can actually disappear into it and not come back out for days. Which is my plan this time. Last time, I just stepped a toe in, and wandered about Pleasure Island for an evening. This time I’m just going to immerse myself in it.
For the first time in my life, I just want to leave the world behind. At least for a while. All my other travels have been about exploring the world…or at least the part of the world I can get to by driving down some random highways. Now I just want to get far away from it. I want to see if I can recapture, for a moment, what it felt like back when I was a kid, and the life I had ahead of me looked so wonderful…so full of promise…
When I get back I’ll finish up the artwork on episode 11 and get it posted.
October 22nd, 2008
by Bruce |
Since last Monday I’ve finished half a page on Episode 11 of A Coming Out Story. It’s slow work when all I have is the weekday evenings. Tonight I was only able to finish one panel, but that got a page done and I can see the end of the pencil work on this one in front of me.
A few panels are some of my best pencil work so far. There’s a close-up of a young me with my head on the pillow at the beginning of this one that I’m especially happy with. And one pencil of the object of my affections that gets him pretty well right, as I remember him strolling through the hallways of my old high school. I’m getting good now at drawing my main actors with a few simple lines. We’ll see how well they translate into inks.
I’m able to have fun again with the whole situation I’m relating in my story. I think now, that part of my cartoonist’s block this past year has been that it wasn’t fun revisiting it, because I was living it all over after again having found him again after 35 years of searching. That shy seventeen year old is still there inside of me, and I’ve been walking on eggshells for over a year now, stressing all over again about what he thinks or doesn’t think of me. It’s crazy…I’m a grown man now…but there it is. So trying to get my sense of humor back about that part of my life so I could work on the story just hasn’t been do-able. I’ve been stressing almost exactly like I was 35 years ago. Maybe some day when I’ve finished A Coming Out Story, I’ll do one about how finding your first crush turns you back into the kid you were all over again, and all the things in your past you thought you’d settled and resolved you only thought you had.
The other thing that may have got me motivated again is a couple books I’m reading written by gay men who were imprisoned in Britian back in the 1950s for "homosexual offenses" or "gross indecency". I’m into a book my Peter Wildeblood, Against The Law, in which he gives an account of his being caught up in the Montagu scandal of 1954 and his subsiquent imprisonment. Part of what I want to relate in my own story is how it was I managed to navagate my way to self acceptance without hating myself, and how easily it could have gone the other way for me. I was lucky in so many ways, but mostly in that. Because I fell in love, and because the guy I fell in love with was a decent, good-hearted guy who was good to me, I never hated myself.
But that was purely accidental. I came of age just after Stonewall, and just before the APA removed homosexuality from it’s list of mental illnesses, and the popular culture all around me constantly told me I was some sort of disgusting, degenerate monster. It was seeing my sexual orientation in the context of being in love, that saved me from that. It was pure luck. And I was fortunate also, very fortunate, to be coming of age right when the modern gay rights movement was taking off, just after Stonewall. Ten years earlier, and I might have been locked up like Wildeblood was. Or sent off to a mental hospital. That would probably have killed me. It killed a lot of people.
And the hate is still killing people. When I was a gay teenager, gay kids got absolutely no adult guidance while making that difficult transition from child to adult. The only thing we were taught then was that it was tragic, if not utterly disgusting, that we existed. It is barely any better nowadays. The religious right is fighting a furious, bitter, scorched earth battle to keep gay kids from accepting themselves and growing up to live healthy and whole adult lives. We have to hate ourselves, as much as they hate us. One thing I want to try to do with my story is get across the message that gay kids need to be loved, like all children do. They don’t need to be taught to hate themselves. It is a crime against humanity, to teach a child to hate themselves. Reading Wildeblood’s story reminded me of that other reason why I wanted to get my own story down, in my own way.
Visit The Woodward Class of '72 Reunion Website For Fun And Memories, WoodwardClassOf72.com