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Howard Cruse passed away today.

For those of you who dont know the name, Howard was a giant in LGBTQ cartooning, with a career that goes back to the 1960s. His works “Wendel” and “Barefootz”, along with the two- and three-page stories he did for publications like Queer Comix, were a revelation by showing us the full potential of what an LGBTQ comic strip could be: sexy, fun, serious, all three at the same time. His magnum opus, Rubber Stick Baby, is a graphic novel about growing up in the south and deals with not only homophobia and racism but a hundred other things as well, only as Howard could do them.

But he was also generous with his time, encouraging anyone who needed it. He was a fan of “Doc and Raider” and occasionally sent me notes about things he’d read that he particularly liked. During one especially bleak period, he made a point of directing people here… just as I’m sure he did for other cartoonists, because that’s just the kind of guy he was.

He died today after a bout with cancer, something he didnt talk much about, even with friends. But he leaves behind an amazing legacy of not only artwork but friendship, and he will be sorely, sorely missed.