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Washington Blade  -  In his new book, <strong>Greg Fox</strong>, the creator of the ‘Kyle’s 
Bed & Breakfast’ comic, summarizes the cartoon’s first five years.
In his new book, Greg Fox, the creator of the ‘Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast’ comic, summarizes the cartoon’s first five years.

MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR
TRAY BUTLER


MORE INFO
MORE INFO
Greg Fox
7 p.m., Thursday, Nov.11
Lambda Rising
1625 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, D.C.
202-462-6969
www.lambdarising.com

‘Kyle’s Bed and Breakfast’
$13, trade paperback
Kensington Publishing Corp., 2004
www.kylecomics.com



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COVER

Breaking boundaries   Gay
‘Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast’ creator to appear in D.C.

TRAY BUTLER
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 Fox’s hometown.

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.

Washington Blade: I understand that you’re actually a rock ‘n’ roller at heart.
Greg Fox: 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.

Blade: What music did you play?
Fox: 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 it.

Blade: I know a lot of gay men who were big into comics when they were kids. Why do you think that is?
Fox: 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 to.

Blade: There’s been a lot of press recently about how graphic novels are being taken seriously.
Fox: 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.

Blade: In some ways the “Kyle’s” book is like a graphic novel.
Fox: 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.

Blade: 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?
Fox: 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.

Blade: Do you read any other gay comic strips?
Fox: 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 strips.

Blade: How long does it take you to draw each strip?
Fox: 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.

Blade: What’s your next challenge?
Fox: 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.

Blade: Is there one single strip that’s generated the most mail?
Fox: 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.

Blade: Do you ever feel pressure to conform to the Joe Phillips “club boy” aesthetic?
Fox: 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.

 

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