Thursday, 23 February 2012

Gay Teenager-Themed Comic or Animation?

Does my butt look big?
I had a think for a while about the possibility of making a comic or animation about gay teenagers. There are some good reasons for this, as well as a lot of problems.

For one thing, the gay teenager is an often ignored and small demographic in comics and animation. Gay teens are a group that need more positive and empowering images to identify with. Often they have no role models to look up to, or turn to for help. Having media that they can relate with can help them feel good about themselves and raise their self-esteem.

There has been quite a lot of music and TV shows recently that have helped young LGBT feel more proud of who they are, so why not have a comic or cartoon that has the same goal? I for one would love to see an animation that has main gay characters as opposed to gay sidekicks or running gags. While there are countless numbers of cartoons and comics geared towards teenagers, there are none that really stand out specifically for gay teens. I really think there is enough reason to create such a work, and would hope to see something like this come into reality.

Now with the problems.

1) The gay teen demographic is simply too small.

Yes, even the entire LGBT demographic is already quite small. But it is also very niche. There is at least some demand for more quality gay-themed art and media. I also believe that works aimed at one demographic can still have a much broader appeal to a wider audience if it is written very well. 

2) The very topic of the existence of gay teenagers is in itself quite taboo. 

Obviously some conservative groups abhorr the mention of their existence, and feel that they are just confused or brainwashed. But surprisingly, even gays have turned a blind eye to gay teens, as if the gay world is only open to those 18 and over. The fact is that gay teens do exist. As they say, "Get used to it!" Openly talking about it would help put the taboo to rest.

3) Sex is off limits.

As Canadian law strictly prohibits any mention or depiction of characters under the age of 18 engaging in sexual acts within works of art or literature, intimate details about the characters' love lives would not be allowed. It really puts a restriction on believability and realism, and it is very unusual for a gay work to not have sex mentioned in it. But in a way, this can actually be a very good thing. Instead of focusing too much on sex, more attention can be given to the relationships the characters have with each other, and their society. This results in somewhat puritanical subject matter, but I think it is still workable.

Making a gay teen-themed comic or animation can be risky, but it can be done. Thinking about making it mostly stems from when I was younger and wished there were more gay cartoons around.  If there is enough interest in such a project, I would happily make something very short and entertaining.

About the illustration: Why did I draw this? I needed a break from drawing girls and fat chickens! I went for the calligraphic line this time, but found that cel-shading was best suited for this inking method. Is this a hipster? I miss that London Shoreditch look, or perhaps New York; no one dresses like that in Vancouver.


  1. well comics are also a small niche if you wanna break into the market then the way to go is through animation every loves an animation adds more to something than just a picture it would be perfect I would help a lil towards financial :)

  2. Animation would be my preference, it is what I do for a living after all, but comics seem more realistic given the amount of time it takes to make a comic compared to an animation. But if animation, I have been thinking of doing a simple kiss. I imagine it would be a lot of fun to animate a kiss.