Every year on the first Saturday in May, comic book shops around North America celebrate Free Comic Book Day. Publishers large and small print special free issues to reach new readers who might not otherwise pick up their books.
Free Comic Book Gay was started in 2012 to introduce comics lovers to queer creators and subject matter that they might never otherwise come in contact with.
This year we are delighted to include the talents of Annie Mok, Rhea Ewing, Rachel Skorupka, The Gerbil, Virginia Paine, Lily Hanson, Sam Orchard, and MariNaomi. These stories range from autobio to fantasy, from moving to funny, and sometimes all of the above.
Sam Orchard has been drawing since he was a little girl. He spends most of his days drawing comics about being queer and trans - especially for his comic blog; www.roostertailscomic.com
MariNaomi is the award-winning author and illustrator of the graphic memoir Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22 (Harper Perennial, 2011). She has self-published fifteen zines and counting, including seven issues of Estrus Comics (1998-2009), and her work has appeared in such publications as I Saw You: Comics Inspired by Real Life Missed Connections, Cheers to Muses: Contemporary Works by Asian American Women and Action Girl Comics. She is a regular contributor to TheRumpus.net (Smoke In Your Eyes), SFBay.CA (Frisco al Fresco) and Tapastic (Said while Talking).
Mari has been exhibiting her artwork since 2002 and has done live painting performances in such venues as the De Young Museum and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She has performed many visual readings of her comics, including an international tour with Sister Spit in 2011, and has appeared on HGTV's That's Clever. She is slated to be the guest teacher at the California College of the Arts MFA in Comics program in July of 2013.
Find her at http://marinaomi.com/
Rhea Ewing is a comic artist, illustrator, and social activist in Wisconsin. Rhea's current project is "FINE: a comic about gender" which explores gender identity and fluidity in the Midwest. More can be seen at http://www.FineComic.com
Annie Mok (b. 1986) is a maker, illustrator, and cartoonist. She attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (B.F.A. 2009) and lives in Philadelphia. The Xeric Foundation awarded her a Comic Book Self-Publishing Grant to publish and distribute Ghost Comics, the 2009 anthology she edited and contributed to. American Illustration featured her work in their 2011 AI-AP Archive, and the Library of Congress includes her comics in its Small Press Expo Collection. The Comics Journal's Rob Clough called her "bursting with ideas." Some of her previous work has been published under the names "Eel Mok" and "Ed Choy."
The Gerbil is, shockingly, NOT a member of the order Rodentia (gerbils are just more fun to draw), but rather an ageless androgynous whatsit currently holed up somewhere in central Minnesota with two chinchillas and many, many protective layers of comic books. Corporate proofreader by day, bizarro porn writer by night, their misadventures can be found in scribble form at http://itsinyourheadnow.com/ . They have lately been toiling in the picture book mines over a title best described as "Dick and Jane, after the apocalypse" at http://www.greybouquet.com/.
To save time: Yes, those are Gerbil's usual glasses. No, they have no knowledge of the character from Homestuck this apparently makes them look like.
From the dark depths of caverns never-before spelunked by science, comes Rachel Skorupka. A writer and student at Hampshire College, the administration has so far been cowed into letting Rachel earn a degree in Comics. Currently, she is working on a historical fiction graphic novel focusing on the economic import of a 17th century nunnery in Portuguese India. She resides in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Lily Hanson- I first became curious about Melusine as a character because a French harp company named one of their instruments after her. Eventually I managed to track down a Middle English poem (translated from the French) that tells the story of Melusine at considerable length. The most important thing to know about her is that she was cursed to become half snake every Saturday. (You can't beat medieval curses for sheer arbitrary ridiculousness.) She makes a bargain with a fellow called Raymond, saying she will make his fortune if he marries her. What's the catch? He must never seek to know what she does on a Saturday. Eventually Raymond begins to doubt her fidelity, but when he spies on her he discovers her strange secret: she spends her Saturdays in the bath, part snake. From this nonsensical seed was born my Melusine, with her Saturday bath obsession. Medusa first captured my imagination when I saw the pensive, melancholy marble bust by Harriet Goodhue Hosmer in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Pop culture nowadays portrays Medusa as a vile horror, but earlier sources describe her as loveliness itself, at least before her transformation. I began to wonder what her life would be like, and before I knew what hit me, I realized that Melusine and Medusa needed to be friends, because Melusine is a total closet case and Medusa couldn't hide if she tried. I plucked them from their respective stories and dropped them into modern day life, as accidental craigslist roommates. I figured they could help each other out, once they stopped driving each other crazy.
By day I study physics, but I am also enthusiastic about folklore and fairy tales. In my spare time I paint, write, draw, sew, and invent oddities.
Virginia Paine has been self-publishing her zines Milkyboots and Food Stamp Foodie for many years. Her work has appeared in Bejeezus, Sadie, Your Secretary, the Little Heart anthology and Brad Trip. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her feline life-partner Lyra.
Kai is a friendly monster who likes the breathtaking variety of the world. E lives in Oakland with a bunch of instruments and plans.
The Gerbil drew this picture.