Jun 21, 2018

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 1212: Enigma #7, September 1993

https://www.comics.org/issue/240552/

Today's issue opens with Michael Smith curled up in the Enigma's arms, post-coitus. The narrator tells us "[t]hese are two men redrawing the maps of themselves. Actually, you should have seen it. You really missed something." I'll bet. And the two men spend the next three pages lounging around in the nude, chatting. It's probably the most bared male queer flesh in mainstream comics up to the point of publication. In fact, I imagine it's got to be one of the first full-frontal (so to speak) scenes of gay men together in any mainstream comic.

Early Vertigo, and the British Invasion that heralds it, is a great place to find early mainstream queer comics. This series, 2020 Visions, Sandman Mystery Theatre, Doom Patrol, Sandman, all of these seminal Nineties Vertigo series feature wonderful treatments of queerness. I noted in my previous review of Sandman Mystery Theatre Dian's reaction upon witnessing two women having sex for the first time. Held in contrast to Michael's reaction to Titus a few issues ago, we're seeing a nice range of reactions to, and within, queerness, and a good deal of critical interrogation of all of them. Before all my rainbow readers go stalking off and tracking this stuff down, bear in mind that Vertigo was basically a horror imprint, so you're getting into some dark and bloody territory. But very often the representations of queer people in these stories is not the point of the story - it's just an aspect of one of the characters.

During his conversation with the Enigma, Michael echoes in this story what I suggested yesterday. Again, the narrator lets us know that as he dozes, Michael is thinking "how everything has changed, how even his own body feels different." The title of the previous issue was "The End of the World" - I suppose what we witness in the opening pages of this issue are the first moments of the new world.

More to come...

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