Howard Cruse was born and raised in Alabama, the son of a preacher. After a long sojourn in the comix underground in the 1970s, he outed one of his popular characters, a turning point that led him to become, in the words of Justin Hall, “the godfather of queer comics.” Denis Kitchen drafted Cruse to edit the series Gay Comix, to which he also contributed several stories. From 1983 to 1989, The Advocate ran Cruse’s strip Wendel, which centered on a young man and his partner navigating the AIDS pandemic. Cruse’s magnum opus, Stuck Rubber Baby, a graphic novel set in Alabama during the civil rights movement, was published in 1995, accompanied by an introduction from Tony Kushner. Alison Bechdel, wrote the introductions to a 15th-anniversary edition in 2010 and a 25th-anniversary edition in 2020. A collection of Cruse’s stories, From Headrack to Claude: Collected Gay Comix, was published in 2009. The Complete Wendel was published in 2011. Cruse died in 2019 at the age of 75.
A Journal of the Plague Decade: On Howard Cruse’s “Wendel”
Paul Morton revisits the late Howard Cruse's groundbreaking comic, "Wendel."...