In his new book, Greg Fox, the creator of the ‘Kyle’s
Bed & Breakfast’ comic, summarizes the cartoon’s first five years.
Friday, November 05, 2004
GREG FOX HAS been putting the “Mary” back into “Mary Worth”
with his bi-weekly comic strip “Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast”
for the past six years. The gay soap opera follows the travails of the handsome
residents of a boys-only B&B in Northport, N.Y., which also happens to be
The strip premiered in Genre magazine in November 1998, and Fox says it now
appears in 17 publications nationwide, including the Washington Blade.
Kensington Books recently published a collection of “Kyle’s”
first five years, along with a few special treats for hardcore fans, such as
architectural blueprints of the B&B and never-before-seen strips.
I understand that you’re
actually a rock ‘n’ roller at heart.
When I was in college, I was in a lot
of rock bands. That was sort of my reason for living for a few years.
What music did you play?
Whatever was big in the late ’80s.
Our stuff was very Echo and the Bunnymen, very alternative. I’ve always
been more into rock, like Led Zepplin or Stone Temple Pilots. But I’d
done comic strips when I was in high school and I was aching to get back into
I know a lot of gay men who were
big into comics when they were kids. Why do you think that is?
I think there’s a few reasons. First
of all there’s these hot guys in spandex. For 12-year-olds looking at
it, it’s intriguing. But more than that, the heroes tend to be outsiders
who have a secret inner life. It’s something the gay readers can relate
There’s been a lot of press
recently about how graphic novels are being taken seriously.
That is true. And they even write comic
books now so that they’ll translate into graphic novels, into these seven-
or eight-book formats. And more people are buying them.
In some ways the “Kyle’s”
book is like a graphic novel.
I write it in seven- or eight-episode blocks.
People love that about the book. They don’t have to wait two weeks to
see what’s going to happen next.
I’m sure you’ve been
asked before about the play “Take Me Out,” which deals with a gay
baseball player, similar to Brad in “Kyle’s.” Do you think
gay athletes coming out in sports are the next frontier?
It’s kind of a frustrating situation.
In the four major sports — baseball, football, basketball or hockey —
no one has come out while they were still playing. But I can understand the
reasons. These guys have their moment in the spotlight, just a few short years,
and I know that they’re afraid of how it could impact their careers. What
it’s going to take is for someone who’s a superstar to come out.
Someone like a Michael Jordan, who’s at the top of their game. But it’ll
happen. Everything is advancing. It seems like the younger people are, the less
freaked out they are about gays. A lot of politicians are going to look back
in 20 years and be embarrassed they were advancing all this anti-gay stuff.
Do you read any other gay comic
I actually avoid reading the other strips,
because I want to retain my own look and feel. I really like Alison Bechdel’s
“Dykes to Watch Out For.” But I don’t really seek out other
How long does it take you
to draw each strip?
I’d say 16-18 hours, which is spread
out over three days. I usually spend the first day just doing layout. The second
day is penciling, and the third day is inking.
What’s your next challenge?
I would really like to parlay this into
some sort of TV or film direction. The way I write, it’s almost like a
TV series. It would lend itself very naturally; it’s already very cinematic,
sort of like a storyboard. So I’m trying to develop something, either
live action or animated.
Is there one single strip
that’s generated the most mail?
When Brad finally lost his virginity, I
got a lot of happy e-mails. And there was one strip that caused a paper in Tennessee
to freak out. They thought I was showing too much nudity. And it was no frontal
or anything. I get that a lot, ‘Can’t you show more?’ But
that paper wanted less.
Do you ever feel pressure to conform
to the Joe Phillips “club boy” aesthetic?
I feel like some of my characters fit into
that. My whole thing when I started was to show more than just the “club
boy” look. But I wanted to do more than that, because there’s more
than that out there. I wanted to show that there are different types of gay
people — postal workers, firefighters — just to show a full range.
I do tend to show more average guys, and I think I’m going to get more
into that. I’ve been focused on guys in their 20s and 30s, but I want
to start showing more guys in other age ranges. As far as Joe Phillips, I love
looking at that stuff, it’s very cool. But I’d rather show what
we haven’t seen before, to try and break some boundaries.