Mail Bag #14, and a small update

I’m getting back on track with regular mail bags this week, and there are plenty of messages to post! There’s also been a huge positive response to my latest post, and I’m glad so many people are finding it helpful. But first, I’ve made a change to the site that might seem minor, but I think is important.

The sidebar on my reviews has been a place where I break down some of the identities and experiences represented in a work. The intention was to help readers looking for stories about people like them to quickly identify whether or not a work would fit what they were looking for, and in some cases give an idea of how badly an author had failed at making their cast diverse. But because of the unlabeled way it was presented, and its proximity to the letter grade and the final verdict, it was actually coming across as more of a checklist – a set of criteria I was awarding points for. This had been bothering me at the back of my mind for some time, but a reader brought it to my full attention on twitter and helped me realize it was time to fix it.

Positive representation is far more complicated than simply inserting different identities into a piece of fiction, so to make it clearer that that’s not what the sidebar is about, I’ve moved the representation section to its own box, separate from and below the verdict and letter grade, a box which I’m calling “The Basics”. Hopefully this better communicates the idea that the identities of the cast are merely the baseline and don’t necessarily reflect how well the author brings their experiences to life. This change has been made to the review template itself, so all past reviews will reflect it as well.

But that’s enough site news! Let’s hear what you folks have to say.

Vanessa Stefaniuk writes:

Webcomic: Radio Silence

Hello! I just saw your message on #comictalk and thought I’d give you a shout to check out my webcomic! Radio Silence is a coming-of-age tale of a British rock band’s rise to fame, circling around the themes of self acceptance and self discovery. Hitting the road on a journey of self discovery and acceptance, this coming-of-age tale gives a backstage look at friendships and the plights of fame as experienced by a modern British rock band. On the fast track toward fame, the five members of the fictional British rock band, Radio Silence, enter into an exciting new life on the road with their best friends. As they tour across the United Kingdom, they excitedly embrace this new lifestyle and all the resulting challenges, including living in close quarters with each other with little privacy, and the overwhelming reaction of the public to their new-found success. If you would like more information, select promo pictures and pages, or an interview, feel free to send me an email! Thank you so much for your time!

Thanks Vanessa! I’ll admit, band stories (played straight at least) aren’t really to my taste most of the time, but I’ll give this one a shot since it seems to be, more than a little gay. You probably should have included that in your pitch, since that’s what I’m all about here!

Emily Riesbeck writes:

Submission: The Blue Valkyrie

Howdy, I am aware that you read my comic but i wanted to officially submit The Blue Valkyrie for review. The Blue Valkyrie is a superhero webcomic featuring queer and trans characters, with the goal of uplifting these stories and providing authentic narratives. It is written by Emily Riesbeck and drawn by David Mitchell. We would absolutely love for our comic to be reviewed. our comic can be found here:

Emily! I’m definitely going to review The Blue Valkyrie at some point, don’t worry. I’m happy to accept your official submission (even though there’s not really anything official about my site, haha) because I want to take the opportunity to tell my readers that I love your comic and that they should read it. Hear that, readers?

kmg writes:

Web Fiction

I know it definitely takes a lot longer to read than most webcomics, but have you ever considered doing reviews of web fiction (serials and such)? The scene used to be pretty dominated by superhero action stories written by straight white dudes but now that younger writers are breaking into the scene it’s becoming a lot more cool and diverse. If you’ve ever got the time on your hands to do some heavier reading, you should consider diving into the LGBT tags on Web Fiction Guide and checking out some serials! There’s a general “queer” tag but also separate tags for gay/bi/lesbian/transgender etc, so you know pretty much exactly what you’re getting.

Honestly, web fiction has a dear place in my heart and I’ve often thought about publishing some myself, but in the last five years or so my overall mental health has been exacerbating my ADD to the point where I have extreme difficulty reading large amounts of text and finishing long stories. I used to be an avid reader so it’s a shitty thing to be dealing with, and I hope someday to regain my reading abilities, but for the time being prose fiction is outside the scope of what I can realistically review here. :/

Ave Messer writes:

Possible reviews?

I was recently pointed to your blog and think it’s a great thing, analyzing webcomics from an LGBT eye. As it is, I wanted to point you to my webcomics, in case you wanted to include reviews of them. I point them out due to them having LGBT characters in them. Karabear Comics Unlimited ( – if you can sludge through the early eye-gougingly bad art, it’s not as bad later on. It centers on trans superheroes (well, not the first two chapters, but most of the rest). Wonder Team ( – characters from the Golden Age of Comics in a team together, spanning the LGBT spectrum. Supertrans ( – a largely now abandoned attempt by me to have me as a superhero. Mainly neglected due to lack of interest in the character (proving I’m not a complete narcissist) Karabear Comics Presents Special ( – a comic featuring my intended print comic characters, hardly a comic of its own, as it’s mainly to provide crossovers and the like while the bigger adventures get finished Heck, you could probably do it as some sort of combined review of all my comics, since they do tie into each other. But reviewing them would take a lot of reading, so I can understand not wanting to do any of them (particularly Karabear Comics Unlimited–it’s well over 600 pages!). I also suggest these comics (pressed for time, so can’t look up the web addresses to put them here, too, so it’s just the names): Eternal Knights Kid Riot Hey Fox Wildflowers Magellan (I remember this web address–it’s

It’s cool that you’ve created so many different and huge works – I’m impressed! I’ll take a look but it sounds like it might take a while to get caught up on those archives. I do want to take this chance to request that folks not submit dead or abandoned comics, just as a matter of my own personal preference. I guess I should add that as a note on the contact form, haha.

ALSO it’s funny you suggest Magellan actually! I used to read that one for a long time, my interest sustained almost entirely by my shipper’s hope that Kaycee/Fatima was gonna happen – a hope I gave up on when I had to slog through chapter after chapter of loser horny dude side characters. But like okay you gotta tell me, was the stuff between Kaycee and Fatima just queerbaiting? Did it ever go anywhere? Please I, I need, to know.

And with, um, that, we’re at the end of another mail bag.  Thanks for writing in, and thanks always for reading.


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