Gay former Benedictine Monk John De Salvio, known for his scathing political essays and cartoons that ran in LGBT and regional newspapers over the last three decades, is finding a new home in a collection of his works called God Told Me To Draw These. De Salvio was known as the unofficial mayor of Guerneville, California’s rural gay tourist burg, known colloquially as the Russian River, because he was so involved with local publishing and planning (working on four different local publications, creating maps for the city and even helping design a local plaza and skate park).
Most of De Salvio’s 228-page collection—which spans from 1983 to 2000—tackles religious and political figures and the church’s attitude towards gays and lesbians, including this classic starring The Advocate. It includes more than 100 previously published cartoons, plus some interesting narratives (like an interview with the late Randy Shilts, and a history of the LGBT movement in Sonoma county).
Now 70 and semi-retired, De Salvio lives in Burbank, California, “although I would much prefer moving back to the Russian River,” he says. He’s at work on another book, My 18-Year Addiction to Political Cartooning.