The book opening is inspired partly by X-men #141’s Day of Future Past. Charlotte is my stand in and looks a bit like I did at the time and she’s a mix of the youthful character of Kitty Pryde and a Jean Grey type with strong psychic power she can not really control. This is a massive exposition dump to establish what the world is and how we got here, with a warlike culture descending into martial law and a right-wing takeover of the United States.
At the time in the early 90s this kind of talk was not uncommon. The Reagan Bush era was in full swing, covert operations were in the news, wars in Central America and the Middle East threatened to become Vietnam-like morasses. There were widespread paranoid rumors of CIA involvement in both the drug war and spread of HIV. Republican embrace of Christian evangelicals, government hostility to LGBT rights and indifference to HIV-AIDS all contributed to a fear of a fascist theocracy. The upcoming election seemed like a life-or death matter to me, as the rise of demagogues like Pat Buchanan and the potential presidential candidacy of televangelist Pat Robertson seemed like legitimate threats to freedom. The election of Bill Clinton was a huge relief in 1992, however that turned out and however cynical we are now, it’s worth remembering that continued Republican rule in 1992 would have been a disaster. Not quite as bad as 2016, but not good at all.
From a personal standpoint, this is the product of a newly out young person aware of losing their straight privilege and feeling exposed. I was joining this group after years of being closeted and having very little understanding of what I was getting into. I had experienced very little anti-queer hostility directed at me and I didn’t really understand the culture around me. This is betrayed by even doing a comic book like this, because while I was a femme cross-dresser I was making a comic book using every trick I knew to make the material seem attractive to a straight comic book fanboy, with lots of violence, big phallic guns, and styles that tried to mimic what was happening in contemporary mainstream comics. The tagline for issue #2 was “Comics Aren’t Just For Straight Boys Anymore”. While it makes sense I can’t help but think that this comic wasn’t queer enough, gay enough, femme enough for its intended audience. There are many moments of humor and camp jokes among the queens but to me it still feels like it’s got a fanboy sensibility that might be out of place.
———-My name is Charles Andrews. I was born in 1992. It was an election year. I’ve always known what was going to happen before it happened. When I was four they had another election. I didn’t know at the time what an election was, but I knew it would be the last one they ever had.
———-Dreams, Visions. As long as I can remember they’ve always come true in some way.
———- I knew that Daddy would die in the South American wars.
———-I didn’t know what martial law was when I was seven, but I knew the troops would never leave the streets, that nothing would ever be the same.
———-Yet I had no idea I was a homosexual. Funny, huh? But I knew they would scan my hypothalamus, that they would label me queer and send me to the Zone. That was two years ago. 2007.
———-Everybody here calls me Charlotte Anne. It’s a play on charlatan, because none of the other queens believe that I’m psychic. I truly hope they are right.
———-Because in my latest dream, the dream I’ve had every night for the last nine months….they are all dead. Everyone in the Zone.——
———-I don’t know how. The plague? The military? Something else….?
———-I just don’t know. But as I move through the mounds of skulls I realize that I’m the very last. I’m alone.
———-“Please”, I whisper….oh please….Goddess! Save this Queen!”