Ignatz-Award-nominated editor (and cartoonist!) Rob Kirby, has teamed up with Northwest Press for an ALL NEW QU33R anthology. It's bursting with AMAZING talents like Edie Fake, Howard Cruse, MariNaomi, L. Nichols, Annie Murphy, Justin Hall, Rob Kirby himself, and many, MANY others.
When all is said and done, QU33R is a whopper -- 33 contributors total. I recently got to chat with Rob Kirby about the work, which is currently near the tail end of a Kickstarter.
Can you talk about how QU33R came about? Even going back so far as to how you began your Ignatz nominated anthology THREE? What was your inspiration to continue this series?
Rob Kirby: I self-published the first issue of THREE in 2010. Prior to that I had wrapped up doing a gay boy anthology series called Boy Trouble that I’d co-edited with David Kelly from 1994 up through 2008 (we published 5 issues ourselves and then two paperback books were issued from a small San Francisco-based alternative publisher called Green Candy Press). I still wanted to do an anthology but wanted to go smaller, more intimate. So I asked Eric Orner, one of the very best cartoonists around, and Joey Alison Sayers, whose comics I always found absolutely delightful, to each draw a full-length story for me. I drew the third piece and published them all together as THREE # 1 – the concept being 3 artists (or groups of artists), 3 stories. I originally planned to do THREE as a long-running series, published annually, but ended up doing just 3 issues (appropriately enough). Just as with the zine version of Boy Trouble, I eventually got frustrated that I was publishing only a fraction of the artists that I really wanted to feature, and decided a bigger collection was necessary.
How did you hookup with Northwest Press?
RK: Zan Christensen and his newly-minted Northwest Press had already been helping with distribution for THREE. He had also been publishing some really stellar queer-themed graphic novels by artists like Jon Macy (Teleny and Camille), David Kelly (Rainy Day Recess) and Dylan Edwards (Transposes), so I thought his press was a natural fit. I should also point out here that there is still a severe lack of publishing opportunities for queer comics, even today, which is one of the reasons Zan began NWP in the first place. Anyway, I approached him early on and he said agreed that a nice fat contemporary queer comics collection was a swell idea.
Did you have idea of the scope of the project when you first began? How important was it to showcase new talent, and balance that against bigger names?
RK: I originally conceived of the book as being a collection of the first 3 issues of THREE and then adding 3 to 6 more stories in for new content. You know, it’s like when recording artists put out a Greatest Hits collection they usually put in a few extra tracks to entice the faithful who already have all the old material. But the whole concept started to feel convoluted - Zan convinced me that we were creating a much more complicated back-story for the collection than was advisable. I was having trouble figuring out an angle and a title, but eventually, Zan suggested QU33R. Changing the E’s in ‘queer’ to 3’s was initially a nod to THREE but believe it or not, it wasn’t until weeks later that I decided DUH, let’s have 33 contributors to the book to match the 3’s in the title. It was a eureka moment, I swear. Then I just had to round up the rest of the cartoonists. It all happened quickly after that.
Can you tell us a little bit about some of the contributors?
I wanted to feature a cross-generational selection of artists: everyone from living legends like Howard Cruse and other queer comics greats who paved the way for all of us - folks like Ivan Velez, Jr. and Jennifer Camper - to my early 90’s era zine pals – important creators like David Kelly, Carrie McNinch, Sina Sparrow, and Diane DiMassa - to the many folks that emerged in the late 90’s and early aughts like MariNaomi, Justin Hall, Nicole Georges, and Ed Luce. Finally, I wanted to make sure to catch some of the younger generation – blazingly talented creators like Sasha Steinberg, Marian Runk, Jose-Luis Olivares, and Eric Kostiuk Williams. They are the future and getting them to contribute was absolutely essential, I felt.
Although it’s a great line-up it is in no way comprehensive – the queer comics scene has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. I’m fond of saying I could have doubled the contributors and called the book QU66R, and I’m not exaggerating.
For a taste of QU33R, below you will find a little sampler featuring the cover by Michael Fahy; full page previews by Carrie McNinch, Edie Fake, Eric Ornerp, L. Nichols, MariNaomi, Rob Kirby and Tyler Cohen -- all in order of appearance. Now, this is only a taster. There will be 240+ pages. This project really needs your support. So please, for more info, OR TO PRE-ORDER THE BOOK, CLICK HERE.