Comic Relief

By Scott McPherson and Lauren Jow

Originally published on August 24 2012 6:00 AM ET

When this summer’s comic-con recognized its longest-running panel, it was Gays in Comics, observing its 25th anniversary. While the event brought together dozens of artists and thousands of fans, it was part a celebration of the panel’s founder, author Andy Mangels, and a nod to the rich heritage of LGBT comic artists — many of whom got their start in The Advocate. Over the years, some of the nation’s top LGBT artists have graced our pages, including Kris Kovick, Alison Bechdel, and Howard Cruse. The latter, in fact, created one of the most enduring and popular gay cartoon strips during the 1980s.

Howard Cruse — November 25, 1986
“Wendel” (1983-1989)
Easily The Advocate’s most beloved cartoon strip was about Wendel, an idealistic redhead, and his partner, Ollie. The  first successful, long-running gay strip, “Wendel” addressed issues such as AIDS, LGBT rights, homophobia, and closeted Hollywood.

Howard Cruse, “Wendel”

Howard Cruse, “Wendel”

Gerard P. Donelan — June 20, 1989
“It’s a Gay Life” (1977-1992)

Sam Winston — December 1968

Roy Williams — June 20, 1989

“Buckshot” a.k.a. John Klamik — January 17, 1973

Andrea Natalie — May 19, 1992