Looking for a wonderful holiday gift for a friend, lover, or family member who could use some incredible queer comics in their life? Look no further! Gay Genius, a 144-page anthology edited by Annie Murphy, will satisfy, invigorate, and deeply touch anyone who sits down with it.
From Rob Cough’s thorough and thoughtful review in The Comics Journal:
“At the end of the Gay Genius anthology, its editor, Annie Murphy, uncovers some interesting definitions of the word ‘genius.’ One of them, dating back to ancient Rome, is ‘a guardian spirit.’ Reading this anthology, it felt as much like a ritual prayer or invocation as it did a series of stories. Throughout history, gay culture has frequently been underground culture–hidden, for fear of reprisals, yet always bubbling under the surface. In a sense, Gay Genius is the underground’s underground, invoking a number of storytelling devices not usually seen in the gay comics scene (or in the more conventional alt-comics scene, for that matter) that first arose in the ’70s and have become much more mainstream and prominent today. In discussing a number of transgender experiences, it also touches on some issues that are little-explored in comics (Joey Sayers being a notable exception). Murphy weaves together traditional comics narratives, cruder artwork that borders on outsider art, paintings that have a narrative quality, and nearly abstract images. There’s a sense in which this anthology resembles Kramer’s Ergot in terms of featuring work whose relationship to narrative is tenuous and is designed to challenge the reader. However, the book’s most prominent quality is its warmth and humanity; the work itself seems designed to invoke that guardian spirit for its readers as well as its creators.”