Pro-Gay Rights Artist Apologizes for Comic Perceived as Homophobic

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By: E&P Staff

“Bizarro” cartoonist Dan Piraro has apologized for a New Year’s Day comic that some people perceived as anti-gay.

“I’m not homophobic, in spite of how it looks,” said Piraro, as quoted in a Dallas Morning News piece linked on ComicsReporter.com.

Piraro’s Jan. 1 comic showed two cowboys sitting at a campfire. One strums a guitar as he sings to the other: “Well it’s been six long weeks since I seen a woman, and yer startin’ to look pretty good. …” The Sunday strip’s caption: “Jeremiah’s last song.”

The Morning News piece — by Mike Peters, who writes a column on comics for the paper — said: “Some readers thought [the comic] was a playful joke on ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ while others saw something more sinister: an attack on gay people. Mr. Piraro said he got numerous complaints from various parts of the country; The Dallas Morning News received one e-mail.”

Piraro said he’s done a number of pro-gay rights cartoons over the years, and that “Brokeback Mountain” wasn’t in his thoughts when he created the comic about two months ago — long before the movie was released. (Sunday strips have to be submitted far in advance because of early printing deadlines.)

“It was a dumb accident on my part,” said the King Features Syndicate cartoonist. “I was thinking about two hetero guys out on the trail for weeks away from women, and it evolved into this joke. There was no intention of making it a gay joke — it never occurred to me.”

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