Enthusiasts of underground comix or fans of Alison Bechdel will likely be familiar with the LGBTQ+ comics anthology NO STRAIGHT LINES (now, NO STRAIGHT LINES documentary). Nonetheless, the collection from Fantagraphics is edited by Justin Hall. It spans 40 years of queer comics features comics by Bechdel, Howard Cruse, Roberta Gregory, Paige Braddock, Ellen Forney, and many others.

NO STRAIGHT LINES highlights the creators who transformed the comics world and helped make comics a medium for LGBTQ+ representation. Since its publication in 2012, NO STRAIGHT LINES has become a fixture of comics studies and a definitive voice on LGBTQ+ comics history. But, this year, the story of queer comics is coming to the screen, and you can help make it happen by supporting the NO STRAIGHT LINES documentary Kickstarter.

NO STRAIGHT LINES Documentary
Jen Camper, Diane DiMassa, Alison Bechdel, Rob Kirby, Joan Hilty, and Howard Cruse 1990. Image from NO STRAIGHT LINES Kickstarter.

Why NO STRAIGHT LINES Matters?

NO STRAIGHT LINES is significant as a queer cultural artifact and for bringing together comics creators who challenged the medium at a critical moment. However, the collection proves that comics is a unique medium for queer expression and representation. For example, many of the comics in NO STRAIGHT LINES articulate feelings and experiences of the AIDS crisis during the 1980s, as well as the emergence of punk zines, feminist comix, and positive stories about coming out.

NO STRAIGHT LINES emphasizes the vast array of queer experiences and celebrates the diversity within comics and queer communities. Although, regardless of their position as queer artists — the creators involved in NO STRAIGHT LINES contributed to the world of comics at large. Typically rejecting censorship, the comics push the boundaries of acceptable representation.

As a result, NO STRAIGHT LINES speaks to a larger human experience and forges new ways to document history.  

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NO STRAIGHT LINES Documentary Production

As comics tend to be, the collection is fairly self-aware. Likewise, the documentary is no less candid and well researched. Not only is Justin Hall a co-producer, the collaborative team is a veritable whos-who of the comics studies world. Advisors Hillary Chute (Northeastern University professor and author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics; Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists; Disaster Drawn, and Why Comics?)

Ramzi Fawaz (the University of Wisconsin, Madison professor and author of The New Mutants: Superheroes and the Radical Imagination of American Comics), and Jenni Olson (LGBTQ film historian, filmmaker, and author) are all on board to assist with NO STRAIGHT LINES. The powerhouse team is lead by director and producer Vivian Kleiman and cinematographer Andy Black. In short, the creative group behind the NO STRAIGHT LINES documentary is downright jaw-dropping.

Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce. Image from NO STRAIGHT LINES Kickstarter.

Still, it does help that NO STRAIGHT LINES is in and of itself an astounding piece of history. The collection features in classrooms and comics shops alike. From both comics history and queer history standpoints, the collection is well worth the efforts of scholars and enthusiasts alike.  

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Support the Kickstarter, Be Part of History, Get Sweet Ringtone

The documentary is already underway, with the help of many of the great creators who continue to make comics history. However, the documentary needs your help. Among the charming and appropriately quirky Kickstarter perks includes a ringtone of Alison Bechdel’s cat meowing. But, if that doesn’t convince you, maybe a chance to be a part of queer comics history making will!

Learn more about the project and support the NO STRAIGHT LINES documentary Kickstarter!

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