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Excalibur #105

“Hard Truths”

Writers: Keith Giffen & John Arcudi

Pencils: Bryan Hitch

Inks: Paul Neary, Robin Riggs & Bryan Hitch

Colours: Ariane Lenshoek & Malibu Color

Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft

Editing: Matt Idelson & Paul Tutrone

Original publication date: January 1997

This week, Douglock’s sure he doesn’t love sausage but Kitty’s sure Doug Ramsey does in Excalibur #105, “Hard Truths”… in which Kitty (eventually) apologizes for being a jerk. We’re joined by returning guest, comics scholar and educator Dr. Nicholas E. Miller, to perform some reparative reading—or maybe queer vandalism?—on an issue that has lots of potentials it doesn’t always intend, but darned if we don’t make the most of it, talking trans, enby, and asexual metaphors and the power of comics to tell them.

On comics and youth metaphors:

“I find that comics are often ahead of other young adult and middle-grade fiction in terms of providing windows and mirrors kids and teenagers need to make sense of their identities.” -Nick

On gutters:

“The [comics] gutter is the best tool I’ve found for teaching students the difference between implicit and explicit meanings. We do analysis of: what do we think happens between these moments? Why do we think that happens?” -Nick

On allusions:

“The cover is a riff on Ghost in the Shell, which was translated into English two year prior… It’s a masterclass on tech philosophy… And I find this book suffering in that comparison.” -Andrew

On allegories:

“Kitty’s backtracking may be bad storytelling, but it rang true as an allegory… No amount of evidence is ever enough for people determined to take an anti-queer stance. Who want to assume binaries and fixed identities.” -Nick

On differences:

“Perhaps it’s surprising that Rahne is more accepting than Kitty, but Rahne and Douglock do share a status as physically, visibly different mutants, which is underscored visually and in the text.” -Anna

On ace allegories:

“The line where Douglock says he doesn’t like sausage, and Kitty keeps insisting, is so similar to Sex Criminals #13, where Alex, an asexual character, is trying to figure out her identity.” -Nick

Want more Nick Miller?

Want more Nick Miller?

You can find his public scholarship on The Middle Spaces, including the essay “‘On the Edge of Greatness’: First Ones’ Tech and the Non-Binary Politics of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power,” which is particularly relevant to this week’s convo!

Plus you can check out his essay “Disco, Derby, and Drag The Queer Politics of Marvel’s Dazzler” in The Oxford Handbook of Comic Books Studies. 

You can find his award-winning essay “Asexuality and Its Discontents: Making the ‘Invisible Orientation’ Visible in Comics,” published with Inks, online here!

And as usual:

You can find Anna on Twitter (@peppard_anna) and at Sequential Scholars (@seqscholars). 

You can find Andrew on Twitter (@ClaremontRun) and at Sequential Scholars.

You can find Mav on Twitter (@chrismaverick) and on his podcast, VoxPopcast (@VoxPopcast).


-GGW Team