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Pop Culture

Drawing Diversity with Jennifer Camper

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Date and time
Sunday, June 05, 2005

Jennifer Camper, queer comic artist and editor of the new comic anthology Juicy Mother, brings contributing artists together to discuss comics as an expressive medium that is not representative enough in terms of diversity of perspectives. The stories in Juicy Mother are an exuberant and carefree celebration of artistry and diversity. Included are stories about an African-American gay man coming of age; an Arab Muslim lesbian searching for her identity; two big hairy men having a sappy wedding; and a cynical Latina teen battling the cosmos. In a genre especially known for being dominated by straight, white men, Juicy Mother is an alternative to alternative comics. The collection places emphasis on the voices least represented in the comic world. Contributors to Juicy Mother include: Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Diane DiMassa, Michael Fahy, Leanne Franson, Joan Hilty, G.B. Jones, Rupert Kinnard, Robert Kirby, Karen Platt, Ariel Schrag, Serpilla, Robert Triptow, Ivan Velez, Jr., and Stephen Winter. Co-sponsored by Simmons College Institute for Leadership & Change.

Jennifer Camper is a cartoonist and graphic artist living in Brooklyn, New York. Her art examines gender, race, sexuality and politics, especially from the viewpoint of a Lebanese-American gay woman. Her books include *Rude Girls and Dangerous Women*, a collection of her cartoons that mix humor with political commentary, and *subGURLZ*, a graphic novel following the adventures of three women living in abandoned subway tunnels. Camper is also the editor of, and a contributor to, *Juicy Mother*, a comix anthology focusing on the work of women, people of color and queers. Her comics and illustrations have appeared in magazines, newspapers, comic books and anthologies, and her art has been exhibited in the US and Europe.
Howard Cruse's comic strips and humorous illustrations have appeared in *Playboy*, *The Village Voice*, *Artforum International*, *Harpoon*, *Heavy Metal*, *The Advocate*, *Starlog*, and numerous other national magazines. Five books have been published compiling Cruse's own comic strips and stories from underground comic books and elsewhere: *Wendel* (1986); *Dancin' Nekkid With The Angels* (1987); *Wendel on the Rebound* (1989); *Early Barefootz* (1990); and *Wendel All Together* (2001). Cruse's critically acclaimed graphic novel *Stuck Rubber Baby* was published in 1995 by Paradox Press, a division of DC Comics. *Stuck Rubber Baby* was the winner of Eisner and Harvey Awards as well as a United Kingdom Comic Art Award and a British Comics Creators Guild Award. Andreas Knigge's translation won a Luchs literary award in Germany and Jean-Paul Jennequin's French translation won the 2002 Prix de la Critique at the Angouleme International Comics Festival. Cruse's seventh book, *The Swimmer With a Rope In His Teeth*, a collaboration with Jeanne E. Shaffer, was published by Prometheus Books in April 2004. For two years during the early seventies Cruse drew a daily newspaper comic strip, *Tops & Button*, for the *Birmingham Post-Herald*, while earning his living as art director for a Birmingham television station. In 1972, he began gaining a national readership with *Barefootz* stories drawn for underground comic books published by Kitchen Sink Comics. Moving to New York in 1977, Cruse art directed *Starlog* magazine until a fulltime cartooning career became practical in 1978. In 1983 Cruse introduced his comic strip *Wendel* to the pages of *The Advocate*, where it appeared regularly until 1989.
Joan attended Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design, then returned briefly to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she became a founding contributor to the legendary *Girljock Magazine*. She also contributed to *Wimmin's Comix*, *Gay Comix*, and *Real Girl*. She also drew a full-page feature, "Last Call", for *The Advocate*. Joan's work has appeared in the *Village Voice*, *Ms. Magazine*, *Women's Review of Books*, and *On the Issues Magazine*, among others. Joan is the creator of the comic strip "Bitter Girl" and is also an editor at *DC Comics*.