Off-Panel: #QueerSelfLove

Welcome to Off-Panel, your weekly digest of comics news, from the gutters and beyond.

“Locke & Key,” which ended its monthly run in 2013, is one part supernatural thriller, two parts puzzle box, and topped off with a heaping amount of good old-fashioned horror. The first six books were centered around the Locke kids and their ancestral home, a winding New England manor in which a number of magical keys are hidden, keys that can unlock doors that lead to wherever your heart desires, can turn you into a ghost and even drill into another person’s mind. Naturally, as with all things magic, there are evil forces at work trying to harness the power from the keys. It’s up to the children of the Locke family to solve each little mystery as it’s revealed by Keyhouse.

There’s too much fresh horror in the world right now for me to want any in my fiction. But when I’m ready, Joe Hill’s and Gabriel Rodriguez’s one-shot return to Keyhouse might be the best opportunity to ease back into encountering fictional blood and gore; in this Los Angeles Times interview, they describe an approach to violence that respects their characters as subjects and not merely objects (a lesson those responsible for Civil War II’s inciting incident have yet to learn). On to lighter fare…

And while Apple’s new comic book-powered approach might seem like it’s directed [at] adolescent developers, this is more likely a bid to speak to the growing numbers of adult comic book fans who also happen to dabble in app development.

So Apple’s app store guidelines are in comic book form now. Is Mashable’s tone condescending towards “adult comic book fans” (who also happen to be app-developing dilettantes) or does the condescension originate with Apple’s effort at spooning developers some sugar to help the medicine go down? The text of the guidelines is still too dry for me to take this attempt at accessibility seriously.

Throughout the comic’s development, White has brought in disabled talent, asking Bradley Davies – an artist with a neurological disability – to design the spaceship for the comic’s villain. Emily herself came up with the character Azzi – named after her teddy bear – and decided he should have a prosthetic arm.

As Dan White’s The Department of Ability demonstrates, it’s not impossible to hire creators who can speak for under-represented people. I’m happy to support everything about this new comic, and only wish I could be in London on June 26 to show my support in person. This is something kids of every ability should have more of. Why? Read on…

Over the summer, children get bored. They need things to do, and a good chunk of those “things” will ideally involve reading comics, right? Reading written language. Interpreting imagery and body language. Building skills that will last a lifetime, and improve lives—coming to understand more about the world, themselves, and those around them; coming to learn more about possibilities and powers. Combatting ignorance, by rejecting it and embracing the as-yet unknown.

That endorsement of comic books comes from Comics Alliance’s coverage of the Heroic Girls Summer Reading Program. As a reward for reviewing six graphic novels or collected editions, children are entered to win fabulous prizes! I’m truly not being facetious; I wish I were young enough for a shot at a signed Captain Marvel #1 or Faith #1.

Countless people joined in. It did my soul a whole lot of good to see how many people in comics participated. Fans, writers, artists, critics all of the above. Comics is queer as hell. It has always been queer since the invention of Wonder Woman if not even older.

I really have no words for the thoroughly heartbreaking week we’ve had. So I’ll just leave this link to #QueerSelfLove tweets—some by Panelteers, and all by awesome comic book folk.

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