Out of the Closet and into the Costume: A History of Queer Comix

Comics is queer, existing outside of the boundaries of art and literature, the medium challenges conceptions of storytelling. For decades comics circulated stories about lived experience otherwise silenced in popular media as the lives of LGBTQ people were drawn, preserved and distributed in a form that was often overlooked as childish or silly. These so-called silly objects, though, created an archive of history for queer people. From the early underground comix to the popular superheroes Batwoman, Iceman and America, this lecture considers the history of queer comics and characters. Together we will explore questions of representation, and the many ways that queerness intersects with other identities.
Valentino L. Zullo is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at Kent State University and licensed social worker practicing as a Maternal Depression Therapist at Ohio Guidestone. He is the former Ohio Center for the Book Scholar-in-Residence at Cleveland Public Library where he continues to lead the Get Graphic program. He is American Editor of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.

Cartoons 4 Change

Editorial cartoons have been used for (literally) hundreds of years to raise awareness of social issues, satirize public life, and inspire activism. Right here in Cleveland, artists have used the art of cartooning to shine much-needed light on various LGBTQ-related issues. Together we will explore the evolution over several decades of these Cleveland cartoons as they tackle everything from racism to HIV/AIDS to simply how the LGBTQ community communes.
Ken Schneck, PhD, is an associate professor of education and director of the Leadership in Higher Education program at Baldwin Wallace University where he teaches courses on antiracism, ethical leadership, and how individuals can work with communities to create a more engaged and just world. For over 10 years, he served as producer and host of This Show is So Gay, the award-winning, nationally syndicated radio show and podcast where he interviewed over 500 of the biggest names in LGBTQ and Ally culture from presidential candidates to singer/songwriters to champions of social justice. Schneck is the author of “LGBTQ Cleveland: Images of Modern America” (2018, Arcadia Publishing The History Press), “Seriously…What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew” (2017, 1984 Publishing) and is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post, Cleveland Magazine, Prizm Magazine, and a host of other national publications.
Ken Schneck

Fear the Queers! A Discussion of LGBTQ+ Representation in Horror

If JAWS made people fear the ocean, PSYCHO made people fear showers, and IT made people fear clowns, what does horror perpetuate when all trans characters are monsters, gay men wind up dead, and lesbians are only presented for sexual satisfaction for straight male audiences? Join horror journalist and theorist BJ Colangelo as she analyzes queer representation in horror and the influence it has on society.
BJ Colangelo has been a film journalist and theorist specializing in gender and sexuality in the horror genre for the past decade, having penned for publications including Fangoria Magazine, Bloody-Disgusting, Dread Central, Icons of Fright, Daily Dead, Blumhouse.com, Playboy.com, Birth.Movies.Death., Bitch Flicks and the books Hidden Horror 101, When Animals Attack, and her work has been used as academic references in at least five other books on horror as well as The New York Times. BJ Colangelo is also a staff writer for Cleveland Scene magazine covering local news and social justice issues (namely, the LGBTQ+ community) and hosts a monthly horror movie screening series at the Capitol Theatre on behalf of Dread Central Presents. BJ is also the co-founder of Sickening Pictures, an independent film production company with Zach Shildwachter specializing in genre films and underrepresented storytelling.