Tuesday, January 25

And You Dress Funny Too

Chris mentioned to me that this week had been designated "No Name-Calling Week" which amused me. And then, as I read more, I was intrigued to learn that this anti-bullying was inspired by James Howe, author of the Bunnicula series of children's books. I was even more surprised to see PlanetOut.com describe the book The Misfits, as being "written by Jason (sic) Howe, an openly gay author of children's books." This surprised me a bit because Howe's late wife Deborah was the co-writer of Bunnicula (although it was first published in the late '70s and he could have come out since then). But it was the fact that at least one biography described him as being currently married to a woman that confused me. A little online digging does reveal an interview where Howe describes himself as gay.
How do you mean it was Joe who motivated you? Was there a real Joe?

In a way. I was drawing on my own life to some extent. I'm gay, and to a degree was like Joe as a boy, but unlike Joe, I couldn't deal with who I was in a healthy, self-accepting way. I was filled with the same homophobia that permeated the culture I grew up in. Thank goodness, the climate is changing, and though it is still a terrible struggle for many gay young people, many are also able to see themselves reflected in positive ways, not only in the real people who are out and visible but in fictional characters from popular culture, movies, TV shows, and books.

If Howe is indeed gay, I'm interested to see if there were any underlying gay sensibilities that were especially appealing to me about his books in the first place. And if not, they were still great stories that I still admire two decades after having first read them.