Kinnard interviewed by PQ Monthly
Rupert Kinnard ’79, longtime art director, activist, and creator of the oldest continuing black gay and lesbian comic characters in the U.S., was interviewed about his career by PQ Monthly.
Kinnard created the syndicated political comic strip Cathartic Comics as a student at Cornell College, where it appeared regularly in The Cornellian newspaper and prominently in the 1979 Royal Purple yearbook. It featured the Brown Bomber, a black, gay superhero, and his partner, Diva Touché Flambé, who is a lesbian. He told the magazine that one of his inspirations for the characters was the fact that the superheros he enjoyed while growing up didn’t represent him at all.
He also talked about a moment recently when he realized that he had been doing something original without even realizing it.
One of the most gratifying things happened so recently. It had to do with being invited to the Queer & Comics Conference in New York. One of the panels that I had been invited to be on that I was really proud of was the “Pioneers of Queer Men’s Comics” panel. When I was invited, my first thought is, “I’m not a pioneer,” but … it gives you this opportunity to reflect back on what you’ve done, what you’ve created and, even more so, it forces you to think back to the state of gay cartoons when I started. All of a sudden I think, “Well, wait a minute, I was drawing this black gay superhero in this comic strip—who else was there?” It made me realize that there [hadn’t been] what it is I was doing.
Kinnard has been recognized nationally for his advocacy. In 2013 he was given the “Standing on the Shoulders” Lifetime Achievement award from the World Arts Foundation.