Howard Cruse

Howard Cruse

Howard Cruse (born 1944) is an American cartoonist.

Cruse was raised in Springville, Alabama, the son of a preacher and a homemaker. His earliest published cartoons were in "The Baptist Student" when he was in high school. His work later appeared in "Fooey" and "Sick". He attended high school at Indian Springs School in (what is now) Indian Springs, Alabama, and Birmingham-Southern College, where he studied drama, and had a brief career in television. In 1977, Cruse moved to New York City, where he met Eddie Sedarbaum, his life partner, whom he married after moving to Massachusetts.

Cruse's cartooning first attracted nation-wide attention in the 1970s, when he contributed to underground comix publications. His best-known character from this period was Barefootz, the title character of a surreal series about a good-natured, well-dressed young man with large bare feet. Although dismissed by many underground fans as overly "cutesy", others found it a refreshing change of pace from "edgier" comix.

Cruse had been open about his homosexuality throughout the 1970s, but never acknowledged it in his work. This changed in 1979, when he began editing "Gay Comix", a new anthology featuring comix by openly gay and lesbian cartoonists. For much of the 1980s, he created "Wendel", a strip (1-2 pages per episode) about an irrepressible and idealistic gay man, his lover Ollie, and a cast of diverse urban characters. It was published in the gay newsmagazine "The Advocate", which allowed Cruse substantial freedom in terms of language and nudity, and to address content such as AIDS, gay rights demonstrations, gay-bashing, closeted celebrities, and same-gender relationships, with a combination of humor and anger. Three anthology volumes of these strips have been published.

Cruse spent the first half of the 1990s creating "Stuck Rubber Baby", a 210-page graphic novel commissioned by editor Mark Nevelow for his DC Comics imprint Piranha Press but eventually published by DC's Paradox Press. It is the story of Toland Polk, a young man growing up in the American South in the 1960s, and his growing awareness of both his own homosexuality and the racial injustice of American society. The book features Cruse's most detailed and realistic comics art and his most serious and complex storytelling. It received numerous awards and nominations.

Cruse is a regular contributor to the ongoing queer comics anthology "Juicy Mother", edited by Jennifer Camper, which first appeared in 2005 and then in 2007, noteworthy for carrying on the tradition begun by Cruse with "Gay Comix".

Cruse briefly wrote a column in a comic book review magazine, Comics Scene, under the rhyming masthead "Loose Cruse".


* Cruse, Howard. (1985) "Wendel", New York: Gay Presses of New York. ISBN 0-914017-10-1
* Cruse, Howard. (1986) "Howard Cruse's Barefootz: The Comix Book stories ", Renegade Press. ASIN B00072X5YY
* Cruse, Howard. (1987) "Dancin' Nekkid with the Angels", St Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-01104-0
* Cruse, Howard. (1989) "Wendel on the Rebound", St Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-03002-9
* Cruse, Howard. (1990) "Early Barefootz", Fantagraphics Books. ISBN 1-56097-052-9
* Cruse, Howard. (1995) "Stuck Rubber Baby", Paradox Press. ISBN 1-56389-255-3
* Cruse, Howard. (2001) "Wendel All Together", Olmstead Press. ISBN 1-58754-012-6
* Shaffer, Jeanne E. (April 2004) "The Swimmer with a Rope in his Teeth" illustrated by Howard Cruse, Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-59102-181-2


* Robert Kirby and David Kelly, editors, (2008) "The Book of Boy Trouble 2: Born to Trouble", Green Candy Press
* Camper, Jennifer, editor (2007) "Juicy Mother 2: How They Met" Manic D Press. ISBN 978-1-933149-20-2
* Fish, Tim, editor (2007) "Young Bottoms in Love", Poison Press. ISBN 0976278677 (includes the "My Hypnotist" short story)
* Camper, Jennifer, editor (2005) "Juicy Mother" Soft Skull Press. ISBN 1-932360-70-0


* "The Comics Journal" #111, pp. 64-96, Fantagraphics, September 1986. A long interview of Howard Cruse.
* "The Comics Journal" #182, pp. 93-118, Fantagraphics, November 1995. A critical overview of "Stuck Rubber Baby", with another interview of Howard Cruse.
* "I Have To Live With This Guy", pp. 164-177, TwoMorrows Publishing, 2002, ISBN 1-893905-16-0. Eddie Sedarbaum talks about his life with Howard Cruse.

External links

* [ The Long and Winding Stuck Rubber Road]
* [ PopImage Profile Interview with Howard]
* [ PopImage Review of STUCK RUBBER BABY]
* [,17006, PopImage Review of WENDEL-ALL TOGETHER]
* [,39052, PopImage Review of A SWIMMER WITH A ROPE IN HIS TEETH]
* [ My Hypnotist, an exclusive Webcomic by Howard Cruse, the final story in the Young Bottoms In Love series @ PopImage]
* [ 2007 Interview with Howard Cruse]

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