Jughead, Nonbinary and Male-passing, and Dating while Bi

Chip Zdarksy on writing Jughead as asexual.


My view of Jughead is, over the 75 years [of his existence] there have been sporadic moments where he has dabbled in the ladies, but historically he has been portrayed as asexual. They just didn’t have a label for it, so they just called him a woman-hater.

But he’s not a misogynist — he just watches his cohorts lose their minds with hormones. People have asked me if there is going to be a romance if I’m writing Jughead, because I’m very romantic, and the answer is no, because there is enough of that in Archie. I think something like asexuality is underrepresented, and since we have a character who was asexual before people had the word for it, I’m continuing to write him that way.

Hari Ziyad discusses the problems of being nonbinary and perceived as a man.

The violence inflicted by being inside those cages can’t be understated. My inability to properly connect with the gender I was told I was meant to be was an experience filled with anxiety, confusion, self-loathing, and other significant injury.

And yet, it was also an experience that allowed me to escape (and even enact) the same types of violence that my sisters and mothers experienced at the hands of men. My ability to easily put on male drag, which is not a privilege afforded to every other non-binary person (in fact, “male drag” can not only be damaging to force oneself into, for some it is practically an impossibility), allowed me many opportunities.

Teen Vogue on stereotypes and dating as bisexual women

On the other hand, dating men can be equally problematic. Straight men are notorious for reacting to learning of a woman’s bisexuality with the phrase, “Oh, that’s hot.” Some of them then go on to ask, “So can I watch you and another woman have sex?” The answer to that is that a person’s sexuality is not a kink or an all-access pass to your personal fantasy. A guy saying that it’s great you’re bisexual, because he’s “always wanted to sleep with two women” makes him sound as if he thinks he’s in a video game and you’re an achievement to be unlocked, and reacting to such a creepy proposal with a “GTFO” is perfectly reasonable. Then there’s the expectation that bisexuals are kinky by default. Not every bisexual person is looking for a BDSM relationship, the same way that not everyone likes pineapple on their pizza. It seems obvious when one thinks about it, but nearly every other bisexual woman I’ve talked to has at least one story about somebody wanting to add a little kink into their sex lives and assuming dating a bisexual is the best way to do it. This may be shocking to some people, but not all bisexuals want to have a threesome, and for a couple to make that suggestion to another person based only on the fact that they’re bisexual is not the way to a second date.

Comics: WicDiv #17

So, The Wicked and the Divine #17. Ananke has been the orchestrator of events for the Pantheon, and I’m more and more convinced that she’s engaged in some kind of long con that involves giving impressionable teenagers magical powers and a ready-made secret identity.

wicdiv_0017 copy

Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology, Edited by Sfé R. Monster


I donated money to the kickstarter for this project. It’s a nice volume covering a range of sexual identity and ethnicity. As with any anthology, not every story worked for me. But a fair number of them did. My one complaint is that more stories could have used a title or splash page. I think some stories would have benefited from being shown in color, although the budget might not have allowed that.

I’m just highlighting some of my favorite stories below. The rest are still worth reading.

Gabby Reed and Rachel Dukes, “Luminosity”

A short story about human-powered spaceflight. It left me wanting a few pages more to flesh out the story.

Comic art of knight riding a fantastic creature.

Niki Smith, “Islet”

A magical soldier living in exile on a salt-water islet prepares to leave her family on a quest. Smith manages to build the world, the conflict, and characters in the brief space of the story.

Comic art of a woman receiving a tattoo having a discussion about going on a journey.

Reed Black, “Of Families & Other Magical Objects”

I’m a sucker for a good classic fairy tale changeling abduction. This story provides a nice bit of whimsy in a modern cartoon style.

Comic art of two male parents fighting off magic bugs.

Janeka Stotts and Christine Goureau, “A Royal Affair”

Space pirates and gender-bending royalty. Wonderful art on this caper.

Comic art of a regent meeting a pirate.

Ted Adrien Closson, “The Graves of Wolves”

An apocalyptic story within a story. The art highlights the strangeness of the world described.

Comic art of a man telling his alien son about the war.

Shing Yin Khor, “Duty and Honor”

Polyamory, the pressures of the professional closet, and mars. I wish this one was in color.

Comic art of three people discussing a polyamorous romantic relationship.

Jon Cairns, “Type O Supergiant”

Post-human cyborg men explore the universe with entire stars folded into the spacetime of their ships.

Comic art of a male cyborg interfaced to a starship computer

Kori Michelle Handwerker, “Mourning Tea”

This is another one I would like to see in color. A short and sweet ghost story.

Comic art showing an agender person serving an owl spirit as a customer at a tea shop.

Captain America: Civil War

So I’ve been a bit skeptical of this whole premise. The original was based on a case example of why time travel creates a big storytelling problem. Days of Future Past was a brilliant story but created a bleeding wound of an apocalyptic prophesy that everyone and their uncle had to stick their fingers into. Super-powered mutants will inspire a super-powered security state to exterminate them. Since multiple characters experienced this reality, scripts needed to explain how this terrible term of events came about.

In the comics, the events of Civil War unfolded because the super-intelligent Reed Richards went stupid over Isaac Asimov, and saw mandatory registration as the equivalent to Foundation. I suppose a kinder interpretation is that mutants were Reed Richards’s climate change. And actually having superheros address the apocalypse staring us in the face would be an interesting story for once guys.

But anyway… Things quickly spun out of control culminating in the assassination of Captain America, (really, honestly, we really do mean it this time, no takebacks, he’s really dead, trust us.) The whole affair soured me on reading Marvel (again), and I’ve only dipped my toes with Ms. Marvel in the last year.

Rights to X-Angst ended up at Fox, along with Fantastic Four and the inexplicably dumb Reed Richards. No mutants means no time-travel apocalypse (or Apocalypse.) No apocalypse means no Read Richards demanding massive social change because of higher math and Asimov. No massive social change means that the Marvel Cinema Universe can focus on what’s really important:

Cap/Bucky/Falcon slash!