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If you were lucky enough to attend Comic-Con back in July, I hope you were also lucky enough to attend one of the panels where Howard Cruse spoke about Stuck Rubber Baby, his landmark graphic novel now celebrating its 15th anniversary. The book and its author were a hot topic at the convention, and I lost track of the number of people who came to the Prism booth to ask when and how they might meet him. It had been some years since I’d read Stuck Rubber Baby, so I sat down with the new anniversary edition with vague memories of a coming-of-age story set in the South in the 60s. What absolutely floored me reading the book again, here and now, in a post-Obama, post-Prop 8 nation, is how unbelievably timely and relevant the story is today.
From the publisher: “Art and story combine powerfully in this lyrical tale of a young man caught in the maelstrom of the civil rights movement and the entrenched homophobia of small-town America. With a subtle yet intricate plot, and distinctively evocative illustrations, Stuck Rubber Baby is an unflinchingly honest look at one man’s world of fears, dreams and prejudice.”
In the forward, Alison Bechdel (Dykes To Watch Out For) writes, “Stuck Rubber Baby is a story, but it’s also a history—or perhaps more accurately a story about how history happens, one person at a time.” If it all sounds very heavy, don’t worry. Cruse brings his story and characters to life with great humor, passion and complexity. If you’ve never read the book before, and even if you have, this is a perfect opportunity to pick it up, read it and discuss it with your fellow FBOTU Book Club friends. You have a whole month, until September 29, to get the book and read it. At 210 pages, I read it over the course of a weekend. I’ll be posting weekly reminders until the deadline, then we’ll all adjourn to the Forum to discuss the book and share our thoughts. I hope you’ll take part!
You can buy Stuck Rubber Baby at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Prism Comics, your local comics shop or wherever groundbreaking graphic novels are sold. You should also be able to find it in your local library.
And, as luck would have it, I have THREE copies to give away to FBOTU Book Club members. So, the first three folks who post “BOOK ME!” in the comments section below, will get a FREE copy of Stuck Rubber Baby.