In The Maw of the Great White Rabbit

Panel from Howard Cruise's aclaimed graphic novel Stuck Rubber BabyWe honor the legacy of gay comics artist Howard Cruse, who died on November 26, 2019, and share our condolences with his husband, daughter, and chosen family. 

Howard's work began during a time of tremendous social change in the US in the early 1970s, when he utilized the energy of the underground comix movement to create gay characters and stories with love, laughter, and poignant drama. He was an early editor of Gay Comix, and his breakout work, Stuck Rubber Baby, explored queerness and racial justice through a Southern lens. Perhaps his most well known character, Wendel, represented a bit of Howard himself, with optimistic, simple charms.

Most importantly, Howard worked at a time where he established the frameworks of gay comic storytelling himself, truly a pioneer where few visual artists were creating work by, for, and about queer people. To meet him in person, you would encounter a gentle soul, a very kind and thoughtful human being, in some ways an 'anti-celebrity' of sorts. He was candid about how drug use sparked his creativity, and he told human stories in ways that made them universally relatable.

Thank you, Howard, for the path you created, the artists that you inspired to create their own queer work, and for leaving the world with a rich legacy of queer visual stories. Your memory is a blessing.