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Queers in Comics: How are portrayals changing?

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Collage by Porfirio Rangel; photo of Rivera courtesy of Giselle Flores; photo of Vecchio courtesy of Luciano Vecchio
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Queer comic writer Gabby Rivera and artist Luciano Vecchio

We know it's important, especially for children and young adults, to see images like ourselves in the media. Comics and graphic novels are increasingly popular – it’s a billion-dollar-a-year-plus business – and LGBTQ characters are popping up more often in their pages.

Industry powerhouse Marvel Comics came out with its first-ever Pride edition this June. For this week’s Out in the Bay, producer Porfirio Rangel spoke with comics story writer Gabby Rivera and illustrator Luciano Vecchio about their work, queer representation in comics, their experiences in the industry, and their coming-out advice.

Vecchio drew gay superheros Wiccan and Hulkling for the historic Marvel Pride edition (the two are lovers, by the way, and Hulkling is Captain Marvel’s son!) and the Pride edition’s cover art. He lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has works published in the US and many other countries. Learn more and see Luciano Vecchio‘s work on his website, IG: lucianovecchioart and Facebook.

Rivera is known for writing a 2017 series featuring America Chavez, Marvel’s first queer Latina superhero, whom Rivera describes as “so powerful she can punch portals into other dimensions.” Rivera also wrote “Juliet Takes a Breath,” a young adult novel about a queer Latina from the Bronx who is on a journey of self-discovery. (Hmm, autobiographical?) More on Gabby Rivera at her website, IG: quirkyrican and Twitter: QuirkyRican.

See four of Vecchio's illustrations and more on Rivera's work on Out in the Bay's website, OutintheBay.org

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Eric Jansen is a long-time broadcaster and print journalist. A former news anchor, producer and reporter at KQED FM, San Francisco; KLIV AM, San Jose; and Minnesota Public Radio, Eric's award-winning reports have been heard on many NPR programs and PRI's Marketplace. His print work has been in The Mercury News, The Business Journal, and LGBTQ magazines Genre and The Advocate, among other publications. He co-produced the June 2007 PBS documentary Why We Sing!, about LGBTQ choruses and their role in the civil rights fight.