By Joe Glass
I stumbled across a true delight on Tumblr the other day.
In a little corner of the world of procrastination that is Tumblr, I found Bakersfield, Earth by David Quantic and Tamra Bonvillain.
The comic tells the story of Betrice, resident of the titular Californian city with a secret: Betrice is actually an alien from Jupiter, a member of a race known as the Corporeals who are immortal and capable of donning human forms like clothes. Hiding among the earthlings while the rest of her species have long since returned home, Betrice has gone from body to body of centuries to continue to enjoy the material, Earth life.
Her most recent body though, comes with an extra perk Betrice didn't expect: this time she's woken up a drag queen.
Betrice, over the centuries, has of course taken male and female forms and lived it up in debauchery and fun as either sex, but for the first time, and to Betrice's delight, she gets to be both!
Always picking outsiders at their moment of death, so that she is neither stealing someone's life away or likely to face the complications caused by any differences in demeanour or lifestyle, Betrice has often found herself on the receiving end of hatred, bullying and worse. But for some reason, she just ain't gonna take it anymore, and we see Betrice fight back in her own private revolution.
In a story that contains drama and a hefty dollop of comedy, Quantic weaves a great, sometimes slapstick, always irreverent tale that hooks you fast and makes you want more, taking much of the sentiment of the story from his own queer experience of feeling like an 'alien trapped in a human's body'. This comes through wonderfully, without being too preachy, and also being perfectly accessible to anyone: I am neither trans nor a drag queen, though I am gay, but I felt I knew exactly how Betrice felt.
The art by Bonvillain is really great too, fitting the feel of the book wonderfully, from its gorgeous painted sections to its more traditional comic art. It's great to see an LGBTQ book by LGBTQ creators that is accessible to anyone, LGBTQ or otherwise.
You can read all of the fantastic first issue over at the Bakersfield, Earth Tumblr, but there is also a shop where you can order physical copies. Naturally, if you want to support LGBTQ comics and creators, or new voices in the medium, this is the best option…even if you read the whole thing online, grab yourself a print copy too to show your support and it's great to have too.
Joe Glass is a Bleeding Cool contributor, and creator/writer of LGBTQ superhero team comic The Pride, which is available on Comixology and at The Pride Store. He is also a co-writer on Welsh horror-comedy series, Stiffs, which can be bought at the Stiffs Store and is now also available on Comixology. You can follow him on twitter and tumblr.