Meet Super Duper Comic CreatorBrian Andersen
The average pop culture fan knows about mainstream comic books and characters, especially those that have been adapted into movies like Iron Man, X-Men, and Batman. But in the world of independent comics there are tons of smart, sophisticated, silly and sexy books, and many of them contain strong LGBT plotlines.
One of the rising openly gay comics creators in this world is Brian Andersen. As the creator of So Super Duper and the upcoming Friend of Dorothy, Andersen grew up reading comics and creating his own versions for friends, but after high school his life took a detour. He joined the Mormon Church, went on a mission to Guatemala, and eventualy landed at Brigham Young University in Utah.
“That’s where I promptly realized I was gay at the impressionable age of 26,” he laughs from his current home in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood. “I met my current lover/boyfriend/partner in crime, who’s from Utah, and we moved back to California. That’s where I figured I might as well take a stab at writing and drawing my own story to see if I could do it, see if I actually had something to say.”
What resulted was So Super Duper, a comic series about a formerly closeted superhero named Psyche who can sense people’s emotions. It was originally intended to be a daily online comic, “but before I premiered the series I printed up a first issue as a promo piece and took it to the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in 2007,” Andersen explains. “The response was so positive that I decided to keep my comics as print books.” Two years later comic news website, Newsarama.com, asked Andersen if he wanted to syndicate So Super Duper on their blog. “I yelled ‘Hells yeah mother f*&ckers!’” he laughs. “It’s been syndicated ever since, every Tuesday and Thursday on www.blog.newsarama.com.”
This weekend Andersen is returning to APE to meet fans, talk about what’s next in So Super Duper, and premier his latest book, Friend of Dorothy. He took a couple minutes to chat with Gay.com about his work, and what lengths he'll take to sell one of his books.
Describe So Super Duper.
It’s a superhero soap opera with some boy-on-boy smoochies!
Do you write and draw the series?
I originally started drawing it but have since turned over the art chores to the amazing Celina Hernandez. She rocks my tits off with her art!
What inspired you to create the series?
I had a story to tell. I wanted it be something very queer oriented, while also being straight friendly. I’m not sure I succeeded so much in the straight friendly part of my mission statement, but the queer aspect of the comic I totally nailed.
There aren’t a lot of positive mainstream gay characters in comics and I wanted to write a character who was a lot like me: a little bit fruity, a little bit lazy, totally emotional, a smidge femme, yet someone who is still determined to succeed, to be good and bold and brave, and who tries to be the best superhero he can be.
Very optimistic considering how dark mainstream comics have become.
The world is dark and poopy enough. I like to create hopeful, cheerful, fun comic books.
What’s Friend of Dorothy about?
It’s a story about a gay teenager named Scott-John who has just tired to kill himself, for reasons which will be explained in the next issue. He gets saved by the male version of Glinda— a shirtless, colorful, studly queen named Gorlindo— who gives Scott-John the mantel “Friend of Dorothy” and makes him Oz’s first-ever champion on Earth. Scott-John must save our world from twisted, evil versions of our favorite Oz characters.
What inspired you to create this series?
Being a total flamer myself, I love The Wizard of Oz and wanted to give it a decidedly queer spin. I wanted to take this total cheesy phrase for calling someone a queer and turn that phrase into something positive and exciting.
I think the term “Friend of Dorothy” can sometimes be viewed as a negative, as in a gay dude who’s über limp-wristed and swishy and a total caricature of what it means to be gay; traits, that for many gay and straight people, are equated to weakness.
Frankly, I don’t see why a guy who’s flamboyant and overly expressive and very excitable [should be seen as] weak or less important or less desirable than their butch, tough, manly brothers. Being a bit of a limp wristed queen myself, I don’t view myself as weak or frail. Just because I like sparkly stickers and Care Bears and high-pitched sassy comments doesn’t mean I’m not confident and strong.
I think there’s some bias in the gay community toward femme dudes, which is just sad. Where’s the love for the fruities? Can’t we femmes suck someone off just as good as “manly” queer brothers? Of course we can!
So Friend of Dorothy is my answer to that.
When did Friend of Dorothy come out?
At the end of last month. It’s selling at my fabulously queer-owned and operated local San Francisco comic shop in the Castro called Whatever… It’s also for sale at the super great LGBT non-profit comic book website Prism Comics and on www.indyplanet.com.
Who are your fans?
Stoners and homeless people. And I think I have a good hold in the cracked-out hooker demographic. [He laughs.]
You know, I’m always surprised by who reads and enjoys my stories. Most of my fellow homos get what I’m doing and can see the humor in my comics. We gays seem able to laugh at ourselves.
Straight ladies gravitate to my other series called Reignbow & Dee-Va, which I liken to Will and Grace only with kung-fu action, secret agents, and vampires and sea monsters and zombies.
People often think of DC and Marvel when talking about comic books, but what independent titles do you love reading right now?
I publish two other queer creators’ work: Rick Worley’s A Waste of Time, and Adam Fair’s This Gay Existence. Both books are totally hilarious black and white comics worthy of having in your library.
I’m also loving Intersections by Rich Boutell and Gene Guilmette, which will also be making its splashy debut at APE as well. It's an exciting tale about a gay demon fighter.
I also love the writing and artwork by Kevenn T. Smith. Kevenn is doing the backup story for So Super Duper #11, which should be coming out in a few months.
You’ll be attending APE—the Alternative Press Expo— this weekend in San Francisco. What will you be doing there?
BJs and HJs under my comic table. Hey, I’ve gotta sell these books somehow. [He laughs.]
I’ll just be sitting pretty at my table, number 603, batting my eyelashes at everyone who walks by in the hope they’ll stop and pick up a comic. And if that doesn’t work I might make my hot boyfriend/booth babe strip. Like I said, I gotta sell these comics somehow.
Read Gay.com's interview with Jane's World creator, Paige Braddock.