BOYTOONS MAGAZINE #147 – An Interview with the Gay Comic Geek!

He reviews comics that contain gay content with great gusto, enthusiasm and awareness.  He really knows his stuff!  He is, after all a self-proclaimed “Gay Comic Geek”!  There are those who might say that anyone can review anything, but this is where I would have to disagree.  What sets Paul aside as a critic is his vast knowledge of the medium, and his love of comics.  He has a keen eye for noticing the nuances.  He is able to put together what a lot of people might overlook.  He gets it, and he tells it like it is.

When I told Paul I was interested in interviewing him for Boytoons Magazine, he seemed surprised that I’d like to hear what he has to say.  Let’s not miss the point.  Paul, in his role as the Gay Comic Geek is quickly becoming a familiar name to all of us out there who not only create gay-themed comics, but who also love and read the material!  A heck of a lot of folks tune in for his reviews, and look forward to them.  Paul is becoming legend, and I had questions for him.

If you are not familiar with the Gay Comic Geek, this is your chance to become so!  Check out his reviews on YouTube.  The boy is cool, he’s fun, and he’s a total hottie, which is real nice for the eyes!  But mostly, he’s a guy who knows comics and is unabashed about his love of comics.  Way cool!

Boytoons Magazine: Thanks so much for agreeing to do this little interview Paul!  To begin with, I’d love it if you could tell us a little bit more about yourself.  Where you’re from, what you do in life, what your favorite food is, that sort of thing!

Gay Comic Geek: Well, I’m originally from a small town in Alabama, but I moved around a lot, that I hardly knew much about my roots.  I moved a lot, back and forth till I finally settled in Miami Florida, where I’ve been for my entire adult life. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I got to college, so I did what any in the closet guy would do, I joined a fraternity and got drunk everyday of the week and went to keggers trying to pick up sorority “chicks.”

After a year of partying my ass off, and nearly being thrown out of my university for failing grades, I decided to distance myself from my frat brothers and live with the upperclassmen in an off campus house and buckle down to my studies where I finally graduated, a year later than I should have, but at least I did and finished with a degree in Criminal Justice.

I had this weird idea of being a homicide detective. Damn, CSI, it really fooled me. I worked for the police and became an investigator, but it was for abused children. Not as glamorous, but still really painful to do. After a couple career changes I eventually became a counselor for substance abuse patients to where I currently work now. Somewhere along the way, some people were impressed with my work, I don’t know how since I don’t feel like I put in my maximum effort, but I was promoted to be the Director of my department and I currently have 8 people that I supervise.

BTM: When did you realize you loved comics?  Were you very young, and was there a comic in particular that made you fall in love with the genre?  Personally, for me it was Uncanny X-Men #160… but everyone has their own fave.

GCG: Well, when I was younger, I moved a lot…wait, why X-Men #160? Are you a Magik fan? You know that Illyana’s coming back and is way more demonic since she’s been in Limbo. I just read the first issue of X-Infernus last week and it looks like it can be a pretty good series. For some reason I love it when good heroes get all demonic. Hey, maybe that’s why I like Deimos so much.

Anyways, yeah I moved a lot and when most people were learning to read in elementary school, I was just trying to adjust to my new surroundings. I was being passed to go to the next grade in school because my mom was a loud mouth and teachers would just pass me along to the next grade. Finally, I met a real school counselor that actually cared about her students and she introduced me to something that I would never forget. She showed me an issue of Superman Man of Steel miniseries, number 3. This was the reintroduction of Superman series that occurred post crisis, done by John Byrne. The pictures were so colorful and bright, I fell in love with them.  I had seen little mini-comics that came with the Masters of the Universe toys, but I’d always just throw them to the side after looking at the pics.

For some reason, the Superman comic was different. Seeing Batman and him not like each other intrigued me. I actually wanted to know what was being said. She said that she’d spend once a week helping me go through the comic and then I’d have to go home and read it again myself and give a report to her about it. Every week she’d get me a new comic and we’d go through it. So, comics actually helped me learn how to read. Of course there were a lot of fundamentals that I had to learn from school, but I was motivated enough to try and understand what was being said in the written text. I picked it up so quick that I was moved out of the remedial classes and placed into the regular classrooms by the end of the same year.

BTM: Wow! It’s so cool to know that a teacher actually used comics as a teaching/learning tool. Wish my teachers had been so open minded about comics!  LOL!  So, as a Gay Comic Geek reading mainstream comics, are you satisfied with the amount of gay material and subject matter in mainstream comics?  And if not, is this why you sought out alternative and independent press Gay Comics?

GCG: No, the amount of gay comics in mainstream, non Indy comics sucks monkey balls. There have been great improvements, but damn. The longest outed character in Marvel is Northstar. But have we ever even seen him with another dude? Has he ever kissed another guy? If he has, I haven’t read it yet. I know his Ultimate counterpart is dating Colossus, but jeez, they just crippled him from the waste down and Colossus is revealed as being a drug addict. So, now they can’t even get their splacking (that’s a word I started using a couple years ago, you think it’ll catch on if I use it enough?) on if they tried. To me it feels like they literally just crippled their relationship so we’ll never get to see Northstar get laid. Plus, do you know that Northstar was killed off 3 times in the same month in different continuities in Marvel about 2 years ago? What’s with the hate towards him?

The only saving grace that I’ve seen in Marvel is the relationship between Hulkling and Wiccan. They are beyond a doubt, the cutest teen couple in comic book history.  The only thing I’m worried about is that one day, a new writer is going to come in and totally screw up what Allen Heinberg wrote and make it so that Hulkling decides he wants to be a girl instead of a dude, since he can shapeshift and then later decided that Wiccan doesn’t really exist at all because he was made up in the Scarlet Witches head. I can actually see a writer doing this down the line just so he doesn’t have to write about gay characters.

You know, I don’t want dozens and dozens of gay characters to appear, that would seem totally out of proportion, but it would be nice to see a couple characters that were a little more dominant in some of the storylines. DC comics is a little more tolerant from what I’ve seen. I know that Midnighter and Apollo had a badass relationship in the Authority, even though their closeness was rarely talked about. But still, at least they weren’t killed off, much.

I’m not dumb, I know that Marvel also has to cater to their consumers, and most of the consumers are horny straight fanboys wanting straight relationships or hot lesbian action to take place. When I was still in the closet myself, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had others come up to me and ask how hot it would be to see She-Hulk and Wonder Woman dike it out. And of course I’d have to pretend to think that it’d be hot even though I’d be thinking about Aquaman and the Human Torch getting it on (water and ice baby, that’s what I’m talking about). So even if Marvel was completely liberal in their mode of thinking in regards to sexuality, they can’t release too many gay characters without loosing some profits from jaded readers.

BTM: When I watch your reviews on YouTube, I can totally tell how stoked you are about most of what you review, which really rocks!  I also like that you’re very honest, stating the pros and cons about stuff.  What compelled you to start reviewing comics?  Was it a need that you felt a need to spread the word about comics with gay content or was it because you just wanted to share your love of the stuff – or both?

GCG: In my day job, I work in a pretty bad field. Substance abuse counseling is a pretty nasty place when you have to get your hands dirty like I do and I feel like I have to have a break from this dismal reality every so often.  My co-worker and I would take 30 minute “work meetings” and talk about comics, console games, and other sci-fi stuff just to get away from our work. He was constantly talking about how he wanted to do something with youtube and post vids up and he wanted me to film him doing it. I’ve been big into filming and photography for years but I’ve never been the one in front of the camera, so this seemed natural to me. Plus it was great to look forward to something other than getting up to deal with a residential drug rehab center everyday. Well, one thing led to another and my coworker just lost his steam somewhere along the way and didn’t have anymore motivation for it.

I still wanted to film someone and start to do anything related to posting up vids, but it didn’t occur to me that I could do it myself. I’ve got like 30 old films that I’ve videoed since I was in high school and you never even see me in any of these films cause I’m constantly filming everyone else. I always considered myself to be un-photogenic (is that a word?) But, somehow a light clicked in my head and I said, hey, maybe I could just film myself. I’ve never been in the spotlight, I was never a drama queen like my other family members, I was always the tag along dude in my group of friends, so I never got to be the guy in charge. I figured, well, it’s my turn to do something with myself instead of just watching everyone else. The only problem is, I didn’t know what to do vids on. I thought, well the only thing that I know is comic books, so maybe I could review comic books?

I considered making up a persona for my vids, like a really flamey queen or maybe a really nerdy guy with all the stereotypes of a geek. But I thought, nah, I don’t wanna be fake. I’ll just be myself. We’re all different, and gay geeky people are all different in their own way too.  So, I finally got enough nerve and filmed myself reviewing an issue of the Hulk. It was really crude and I stuttered a lot in it and I didn’t have any images to back myself up with. Before I put it up I did a search on youtube and I saw that there was close to 100 other reviews already up for this issue and I started to think, well, why would anyone look at my stuff if they can look at 100 other reviewers, some of which are a lot better articulated than me and some show the actual scans of the comics and look a lot more professional.

After even more thought and procrastinating and more “work meetings” with my co-worker, I came up with the idea of reviewing comics that no one else reviewed. He asked what would be a good Indy comic that I liked that no one else has ever even thought of doing a video review of, and the first one that I thought of was Deimos. I thought, well, damn, I can’t think of any of these reviewers doing something like that with a gay comic. Being that my co-worker was straight, of course he’d never even heard of it either, so he thought it’d be awesome. So I went with it.

I created a new account on youtube and filmed an introduction vid of myself and just went from there. I don’t have great video editing skills yet, but I started to teach myself how to use some other programs and I found out how to do simple picture-n-picture editing. I learn a little each time I do a new vid and I’m getting a lot better at it. I honestly thought that I’d only get a few hits over the next couple of years, and that would be it. I never really thought I’d get subscribers other than a couple of my friends. And honestly Patrick, I never even thought you’d see any of these vids. In my head, you’re one of THEM. You know, one of those comic book legends that I idealize so much and that I think are gods.

BTM: Dude — you’re WAY too kind.  I appreciate the compliment a lot, but honestly, I’m just a dude who loves what he does.  LOL!  Do you ever get requests from fans who would love to see you review something in particular?

GCG:
All the time! But it’s not just for comics or toys, now it’s for movies, tv shows, books, old cartoons, new cartoons, sporting events. I even had one dude ask if I was ever going to review the gay nightlife of Miami. One guy asked me to review the Golden Girls. Honestly, I never even watched an episode of the Golden Girls until just recently, I didn’t know it took place in Miami. If I didn’t work 60 hour weeks, I’d be reviewing a lot more than just comics and the occasional movie. Shoot, I’d be filming everyday, all the time. I’ve grown to love it now, I can’t believe it took me this long to point the camera at myself. But, as it is, I just can’t find the time to do everything I wanna do.

BTM: Aside form Class Comics, do you find that more and more creators of comics with gay content send you their stuff to review?

GCG: Oh yeah. Brian Anderson, who is another guy I consider a comic book god, has contacted me, along with a bunch of other artists and writers. I’m getting a lot more exposure on other forums lately too and I’ve been asked to start loading my vids onto other sites. It’s so cool to hear from someone that’s actually heard of me before.

Next year when I head to Comic Con, I hope to be able to meet a couple of these writers and get a chance to talk with them myself about what they’re planning on doing with the future of their storylines. Ultimately, it’s the comic itself that I’m interested in and it’s a lot more personable when I can talk to the creator. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to contact writers at Marvel and haven’t gotten a single response back.

BTM: Yeah — some creators are pretty tricky to get to.  How has the response to your reviews been?  Are you starting to receive a lot of fan mail and stuff regarding the videos you’ve put out?

GCG:
The overwhelming majority of the responses I get are totally positive feeback, but I also get some negative remarks too. Of course I get the regular haters that spam my vids from time to time, but that’s expected.

What’s surprising is that a lot of people that write me think that I won’t write back. I write back to everyone. I may not do it immediately cause I’m a little busy, but I’ll definitely write back to someone that took the time to write to me. I’m really just happy to know that a couple people are actually watching my what I do.

BTM: Do you sometimes hold back about how you really feel concerning certain comics in the interest of fairness?  I know some critics have stated that they sometimes try to go a bit easy on stuff because they do not want to crush anyone’s creative endeavors.  It can be brutally hard to sometimes speak ones mind 100% freely.  Has that ever been an issue for you, or do you feel that every comic and every artistic effort has merit in its own way?

GCG: Well, I have gone a little easier on some because of the nature of the comic. Others that I’ve outright hated, I’ll go a little overboard as to why I hate it. It really depends on the mood I’m in at the time of the review.

Lately I’ve been hating that show “Heroes” because of the direction that it’s been going in, so I know I can’t do any reviews after I’ve watched it cause I know I’ll just totally bash whatever it is I’m reviewing. I try to be as fair as I can without my emotions getting to much in the way. I know I’ve had a couple people write to me as to why I thought a particular Marvel cowboy was so bad and I think I spent about 2 hours writing to him why I thought that this was such a bad comic. There have been a couple reviews that I’ve been avoiding just cause I really can’t think of anything nice to say that won’t sound really offensive. But it comes with the territory, so I just have to suck it up and give my opinion.

BTM: Of course you don’t just review independent press stuff, you also talk about mainstream comics and the gay aspects they can touch on.  What motivates you to talk about a particular book and to review them.  Do you just talk about the stuff you enjoy personally, or has become a sort of mission to discuss all things that contain queer content in comic form?

GCG: Well, I wish I could say that I have some profound reason as to why I’ll review some things and not others, but honestly, I’ll just review things that I like. Fight Club’s been my favorite movie since it first came out. I was still in the closet when I saw it with my roommates, and they both loved it too. Of course for different reasons. I was amazed at how some guys, mostly straight guys, can see a movie that’s as macho as you can get, but not see one bit of the homosexual aspect of it, even when it’s glaring right in your face. I couldn’t point it out to them at the time cause I didn’t wanna freak them out or anything, but I was thinking at the time, those guys are gay. Sweet!

Now, I am starting to review some things that I don’t consider part of my particular interest. I know there’s tons of gay films that I’ve no wish of ever seeing, but I know there’s a lot of people that want a review on them too. So I’m always open for new projects and new ideas. Also, I’m always open for ideas and suggestions, so anything that I’m asked to review, I may just take them up on the offer and look into it.

BTM: What do you have planned for the coming new year?  More reviews obviously, which is totally awesome – but do you think you’ll be adding more cool other stuff (like your “First Kamehamha Wave” video) to your profile?  I want teasers, dammit!  LOL!

GCG: Can we say gay Jedi knights? I’ve been teaching myself how to use an awesome video effects software, which is what I used to do my kamehamha wave and my relatively short light saber vid. This is a program that can do all kinds of effects to videos and let me tell you, that’s a kick ass program! I’ve been trying to get a couple of my friends and my boyfriend to film an actual short vid of some light saber duels. You know, the classic Jedi vs Sith, but with gay elements added into it. Plus, how cool would it be to see my boyfriend fight his twin brother, who’s straight by the way. You know, having a gay Jedi on the side of good and honor fighting his straight Sith Lord brother who’s evil and dishonorable. I just have to talk them into being filmed. That’s the real hard part.

BTM: With your popularity on YouTube continuing to grow, do you see The Gay Comic Geek venturing out beyond the YouTube video forum?  What I mean by that is do you have any interest in taking this a step further into the world of Blogging, Publishing etc…?  Seems to me that the mainstream needs someone who knows his stuff to spread the word about the oodles of cool queer materials out there!

GCG: I would love to do something like that down the line. In fact that would be a long term goal for me to go into. Right now I still consider myself new to this whole deal. I’ve really only started to do my videos for a little over 7 months. I haven’t even been going at it for a year yet. I would love to have my own theme song, you know, like the Angry Video Game Nerd, who by the way, is my hero. But I lack any musical talent so I’d have to rely on the kindness of others to do something like that. I’d like to think that I can write decently and would like to write for other websites to show my love or hate for all things geeky and/or gay. Only time will tell about that.

BTM: Thanks so much Paul!  You’ve been areal pleasure to talk to! I know I speak for my readers too when I say how much I can’t wait to see what the Gay Comic Geek will do next!

Comments

  1. He is soooo hot

  2. VillagePerson says:

    I never really thought about the movie “Fight Club” from a gay perspective before. It would be great to see reviews of ‘straight stuff’ from a gay perspective!

  3. Damian & Trent says:

    This guy must have poor eyesight. He thinks he’s “un-photogenic”? If he was any cuter, he’d be breaking some kind of law.

    Damian & Trent

  4. This is such a very cool interview Patrick and Paul. I think your forthright honesty and sense of humor in your reviews is very appealing Paul and I always enjoy watching them. You’ve given me some fantastic reads this year and your knowledge of comics is just quite incredible. :)

  5. Hey you guys and gals…

    I just wanted to thank you for your comments on this interview. I am really pleased you all seemed to enjoy it so much. Paul is a really great guy and it was a thrill to learn and get to share a little bit of inside info on him.

    Keep checking out his reviews. They are always a lot of fun to watch!

    Many thanks, dear friends!
    Hugz + kisses,
    Patrick XOXO

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