VODKA O’CLOCK 1542
QUEER COMICS & CULTURE WITH TANA FORD
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Visiting Vodka O’Clock sort of for the first time is comic creator TANA FORD! I say sort of first time because we were on a panel together in Boston Comic Con in 2014 and I posted it in audio and video format thanks to my illustrious assistant Ally. Tana has a Kickstarter in its last week of crowdfunding to get DUCK volume three printed.
PS – not to be cliche, but both of us do love flannel.
BACKGROUND & QUEER COMICS
Tana Ford has worked in comics for ten years including major press like Marvel (most recently on SILK #7) and Vertigo. She’s won and been nominated for awards like the Prism Comics Queer Press Grant (2010) and Lambda Literary Award Finalist (2014) for her original graphic novel DUCK series.
In her creator owned work, Tana is tackling lesbian tropes and myths such as The Angry Lesbian, Flannel Love, Home Depot and Work Boots, and Lesbian Bed Death (psst, that really happens).
In work like SILK, she has been part of teams where previously superficial characters have been given new life with more meaning. We discussed this character Cindy Moon and the newest version of Batwoman and Catwoman.
“Oh man, when I found Kate Kane, I was hooked immediately.” ~Tana Ford
Other comic recommendations: BITCH PLANET, RAT QUEENS, COPPERHEAD, SAGA, SANDMAN new mini. Prose Tana recommends: STONE BUTCH BLUES which refers to “stone butch,” a term for 50’s lesbian that conformed to a specific dress code and behavior – by Leslie Feinberg.
“The Ms. Marvel book is fantastic. I’m very encouraged by the changes we’re seeing in the industry.” ~Tana Ford
I asked Tana if she’s faced some misunderstandings in queer comics. Interestingly, she as a lesbian creator, made bi- and transphobic characters and stories as a way to approach those issues. We tackled other comic book controversies as seen in BATGIRL and AIR BOY.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY & OTHER SOCIAL ISSUES
QUEER SPACES, SAFETY, AND GENTRIFICATION: One of the biggest subjects we discussed is the gain or loss of queer friendly spaces whether it be cities, neighborhoods, clubs, or shops. Provincetown and Somerville, Mass., Philadelphia and New Hope, PA & other specific gay friendly cities. Are gay neighborhoods and spaces being assimilated by everyone else during gentrification? Philly wants to rename its Gayborhood to be “The Philly Village” and Tana takes exception with that change seeing it as a form of erasure. Both of us shared personal stories about dealing with homophobia in public and how we handled those situations.
Tana and I discuss the importance of why marriage is not “just a piece of paper” and a particular win for the gay community.
SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE COMICS INDUSTRY
Handling online feedback or hate. She specifically made her main character Duck biphobic in order to address the issues of biphobia and transphobia.
“I worry that we police our allies more than we should, more than we go after people who are actively going after the community.” ~Tana Ford
Discussions on diversity flow from ability impairments and queerness to blue aliens.
“So, ability-impaired people exist in the real world and so do gay people, but blue people don’t exist in the real world. So let’s just keep our conversation about diversity and people of color and queer minorities over here in the ‘Real’ column; and then when you start talking about things like alien cultures and shapeshifters and blue people, then have a separate talk. But it’s important that you don’t equate my experience as a lesbian with that of a blue, shapeshifting alien because one of us exists and one of us doesn’t.” ~Tana Ford
HEALTH & CREATIVITY
Running, fitness, & work – Tana loves running because she gets booze and bacon at the end of a race! But she also recognizes its impact on clearing her head when she’s bogged down at her desk.