No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics chronicles the evolution of queer comics through five LGBTQ+ artists. Along the way it also looks at the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. The film chronicles the milestones and challenges the queer community has faced. The tales told work as a good primer even if there are some missed opportunities along the way.
The documentary is a refreshing look at the LGBTQ+ community. No Straights Lines covers new ground. (Ironically, there are two films about queer comics at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. This offers a fresh perspective even when the subjects may not be new. This is most evident when the documentary touches on the AIDS crisis.
No Straight Lines is divided into separate vignettes. This allows director Vivian Kleiman to spend time with each of the artists. This works for the most part, though the film can be a little disjointed at times. This is seen most in the haphazard way things unfold. When not dealing with the core artists, No Straight Lines has trouble tying everything together. In these moments, the film is less like a documentary about queer comics and more a series of facts.
This is not to say No Straight Lines is not interesting. On the contrary, it is a fascinating watch that ties the works of the past into the current state of the industry. The film is filled with funny moments and inspiring stories. The documentary has not shortage of beautiful art. The interviewees created works specifically for No Straight Lines. It is a nice touch that adds an even more personal layer to the film.
No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics is a fine starting point. The documentary is an erratic watch, but it tells an important story. It looks at diversity in comics and the people who revolutionized an industry. There are plenty of queer trailblazers whose stories have been left untold. It is great to see more of them are finally being heard.
The Tribeca Film Festival takes place from June 9 – June 20
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