Interview With Graphic Novelist Blue Delliquanti

Blue Delliquanti is a comic artist and writer based in Minneapolis. They are the creator of the science fiction comic O Human Star, which ran online from 2012 to 2020 at Blue is also the co-creator of the graphic novel Meal (with Soleil Ho), and their next book Across a Field of Starlight will be published by Random House Graphic in 2022. I got the chance to talk with Blue, which you can read below.

How would you describe the premise of O Human Star to first time readers?

O Human Star is about an inventor named Alastair Sterling who wakes up one morning to discover that he is in a robot body and sixteen years have passed since his untimely death. When he seeks out his former business partner (and lover) for answers, Al has to confront the consequences of a lot of painful memories between them – and he must face a world whose technology had advanced significantly due to innovations he made in life, and is therefore fixated on his legacy and identity.

What were some of the first comics/book/stories that inspired or influenced you as an artist?

I read comics omnivorously as a middle schooler in the early 00s, so that ranged from superhero comics, manga, webcomics, even Jhonen Vasquez’s alt comics. In terms of stuff whose influence you can trace to O Human Star, I think Mike Mignola’s Hellboy was an early case of a comic whose protagonist I found incredibly appealing. Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist was also a huge early influence on my art and the kind of stories I like to tell. But EK Weaver’s The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal was a roadmap for me – as a webcomic, a queer comic, and a comic about love.

Where did the inspiration for this story come from? What references from real-life or fiction have inspired you since its inception?

I like to tell this story because I can still hardly believe it happened, but the basic premise came to me almost fully formed in a dream. I wrote it down in a journal at the time, but the implied characters and conflict intrigued me, and I kept sketching them out until I had an outline for something much bigger. I researched the science behind the story’s technology, but I was really interested in evoking the melancholy tone from “softer” sci fi with similar themes that I love – like Stanisław Lem’s Solaris or Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto.

At previous conventions, including the 2018 panel hosted by Flame Con, Robots and Ro-Butts: How We Learned to Love Robots, you touched upon the connection between robots and LGBTQ+ narratives? Could you expand on this?

Absolutely. Queer audiences are attracted to stories about characters who are “othered” all the time, and that definitely extends to science fiction about aliens, monsters and robots. Robot narratives are often about transformation and augmentation – improving ourselves in ways that are often seen as strange by other people.

But I also believe, as we spend a significant amount of our lives developing our identity online, that we often find artifacts of our earlier selves that look very different from how we are now. Accepting that continuum as part of our identity is a universally human experience, but it’s especially impactful as a queer person.

Lucille Villas Santos, who in my opinion one of the best characters of O Human Star, is an accomplished prosthetist as well as a congenital amputee. What kind of research did you do in creating this character, and incorporating disability into sci-fi?

I think of all the technological fields that have advanced in the time I worked on OHS, prosthetics might have changed the most! Much of it comes down to the fact that prosthetic limbs were intricate and important to fine-tune for the user, and therefore very expensive – but technology like 3D printing have made it easier to fabricate and customize parts as needed, especially for children. There’s also been a cultural shift in how users discuss their prostheses and their identity – people will often choose limbs that are vibrant colors or interesting designs instead of one that is the closest to their skin tone and limb shape as they can get. Prostheses can be fashion statements or art pieces. Acceptance of disability can mean an opportunity for augmentation, and that idea informed Lucille’s motivations as a scientist and a person.

Body modification and transformation are strong themes within this story, both in terms of queer/trans narratives and technology. Was that exploration of dissonance/unification between appearance and self always present within the story?

Yes, although I expanded upon it much more as the story developed organically over the years. Al’s struggles with identity and legacy were always at the core of the story, but Lucille’s role developed over time as I realize just what a valuable foil she was in terms of perspective on this subject. Personal transformation – especially of the queer varieties – is tinged with this fear of loss. If you radically change yourself, will you lose your family or community? Your identity you spent years, if not decades, building? The specter of loss is at the center of Al and Brendan’s relationship. At one point in the story, meanwhile, Lucille says, “I can’t lose what I never had,” and I think that reflects a radical shift in how you perceive yourself and how you allow others to perceive you, no matter how you change.

What are some of your favorite elements of comics/graphic novel medium? What craft elements/techniques stand out to you the most?

Pacing. A comic artist has control over the way readers perceive the passage of time in a comic in a way that is really exciting to recognize when an artist does it well. I love experimenting with ways to make a quiet moment seem to stretch for ages, or to make a fight scene seem fast-paced and exciting. I also really enjoy stories that are wordless or dialogue-free, but still communicate loads of information.

What’s a question no one has asked you yet or that you wish was asked?

I always like sharing a weird or interesting fact like I learned while researching something for a comic – maybe it wasn’t useful for the purposes of the comic, but I’m never going to forget it. Once I had to look up what was the safest way to fall into water from a great height, and that’s how I learned that clenching your butt was essential unless you want rushing water to destroy all of your internal organs. Unrelatedly, I also have a new worst fear!

What advice would you give to those who may want to create their own stories or are already in the process?

Make sure you’re making time for hobbies that aren’t art or writing related! Over the last couple years I got into urban foraging and playing mahjong, and they make for immensely satisfying breaks from my daily comics routine. The perspectives you gain from those pastimes or those communities can also keep you from being in the same bubble in terms of creative problem solving.

Are there any projects you are currently working on or project ideas you are currently nursing and are at liberty to speak about?

I’m currently finishing a YA graphic novel for Random House Graphic called Across a Field of Starlight that’s also very sci fi and queer. Keep an eye out for it in 2022!

Finally, what LGBTQ+ books/comics would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?

Two queer prose books I’ve read recently that I really liked were The Breath of the Sun by Isaac R. Fellman and Small Beauty by Jia Qing Wilson-Yang. Displacement by Kiku Hughes is an absolutely gorgeous graphic novel that came out last year. I’ve also adored Pseudonym Jones’ online comics – she’s got an incredible aesthetic and sense of humor and I look forward to every update in her characters’ lives.

Interview with Peter Wartman and Xanthe Bouma

Peter Wartman has been drawing monsters, robots, and spaceships since he figured out how to hold a pencil. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he works as a designer by day and a comic artist the rest of the time. Xanthe Bouma is an illustrator based in Southern California. Their work includes picture books, such as Little Sid, fashion illustration, and comics.

I had the opportunity to interview to both Peter and Xanthe on their latest project at Scholastic, The Dragon Prince: Through the Moon, which you can read below.

First of all, how did you get assigned to work on this comic? How aware were you of the show prior to working on Through the Moon?

PW: I was already a fan of the show! It’s absolutely the kind of story I love, and I hopped on it as soon as it was available on Netflix.

I honestly have no idea how I got the project – I just got an email one day asking if I’d like to work on it. I assume they found me through my work on the Avatar comics or my creator owned work (Over the Wall and Stonebreaker).

XB: One of the senior designers at Scholastic approached me, having known my work. She thought I might be a good match for the book, and since I got really into the show around the season 2 premiere and made a bunch of Dragon Prince fanart, I was, of course, stoked.

You’ve been a writer and an artist for quite a few fandoms before, including Avatar the Last Airbender, What was the process like working on a story with an already established universe? What’s it like balancing keeping consistent with the story’s original voice while including your own elements? Would you describe it as writing professional fan-fiction?

PW: The great thing about starting with an established universe – especially a fantasy universe – is that you can skip all the setup. No need to introduce the characters or magic systems or anything else; the readers will already be familiar with what’s going on, and you can jump right into the story. I was lucky in that Through the Moon touched on a lot of themes I’m already interested in (although I can’t really get into specifics without spoilers), so I didn’t find it too hard to work that in. My biggest goal was just to keep true to the characters – if they feel right everything else should fall into place.

The biggest difference from fan-fiction is that I was working closely with the show runners. It was based on a story outline they provided and we went through a lot of revisions and edits to make sure everything fit. Otherwise, yeah, the experience is probably pretty close.

As an artist who has drawn their own original works and collaborated with other writers and artists on their property, how would you say the artistic process varies? What stays the same?

XB: When I’m working on something alone, it’s a lot of hats to wear and they don’t always fit… so I try to trust my sensibilities while still being self-critical. Collaborators will take some of that load off. They notice and do things I can’t, so what stays the same is having trust, I guess – relinquishing some artistic control and trusting them with their strengths as part of the process. What those strengths are and how other artists, writers and editors play to them is the different part. I get to learn other people’s creative language and hope they’ll be willing to learn mine, which is very different from being in my own head. That and I’m a little neater when I share sketches with other people…!

In terms of The Dragon Prince timeline, Through the Moon, takes place between the end of season 3 and the unreleased season 4. How would you say the events that take place in the graphic novel affect future storylines?

PW: I have no idea! I’m excited to find out.

XB: It seems especially emotionally affecting, particularly for Rayla and Callum. The whole team composition changes going forward in the show now, right? Things can’t really go back to how they were before. I was excited when I finished reading the script because I was like “WHAT does this mean for them next?!”

What were your favorite characters to write/ draw and why?

PW: Rayla is my favorite character in the Dragon Prince – I think her struggles trying to figure out where she belongs / where she comes from resonate the most with me. 

That, and she can parkour everywhere, which is neat.

XB: Indulging in the Rayla/Callum interactions, because I’m a sap. Absolute favorite was drawing sad Soren, that was truly fulfilling. Peter wrote such an emotionally complex moment for him!

What drew you to the comics medium? Do you remember the stories that first inspired you as creatives?

PW: I honestly think the biggest thing about comics for me is that its the only visual storytelling medium that you can conceivably do on your own or as part of a small team. I’m also fascinated by some of the weird things in the language of comics – the way time passes in panels on a page, for example, is very strange, and it’s kind of magic that it all works.

The first comic I can think of that really opened my eyes to what was possible in the medium was Hellboy. Otomo’s Akira was also mind-blowing. Neither of those were the first comics I read, but they were what made me fall in love with the medium.

XB: Garfield and CLAMP… which maybe explains everything. Basically, Sunday strips like Calvin and Hobbes got me interested, then discovering shoujo manga, BL, and webcomics kept that going. When I was 9, I read this punk pamphlet about how anyone can make a zine so then I was like “okay… time to self-insert me and my friends in an original Digimon comic and distribute it at school.”

What advice do you have to give for people working on their own projects/ wanting to enter the comic book industry?

PW: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It took me seven years from graduating college until I started making enough money to live off comics full time. What’s more, every path in comics is different, and the industry is always changing, which makes giving advice hard. That said, you can’t go too wrong making work that you love, and I think it’s essential to reach out to your peers and stay connected.

Also: never sign a contract without getting a someone to look over it first.

XB: Comics take long and often don’t pay well, so make the art/stories you earnestly enjoy making for whatever reasons feel right to you and share with the communities you want to speak to. That said, not everything that comes along will be a dream job. That’s fine – even in art, sometimes work is just work. Choose your battles, know your value, read your contracts, take care of yourself!

Are there any projects you are currently working on or project ideas you are currently nursing and are at liberty to speak about?

PW: I’m currently working on drawing more Avatar: The Last Airbender books with Faith Erin Hicks!  

XB: I’ve been working on the sci-fi adventure series 5 Worlds for the last six years… and we are about to finish the final book, The Emerald Gate! So that’s a huge conclusion. Can’t report much beyond that, but I can say I’m working on developing my own stories next. Yeehaw!

Finally, what comics/books would you recommend to the readers of Geeks OUT?

PW: A comic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is Miyazaki’s Nausicaa (which the film is partially based on). It goes in a lot of cool and weird places that I think fans of the Dragon Prince will enjoy, and it’s only two volumes long.

XB: I revisited SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki recently! The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang is an amazing book. This Is Not Fiction by Nicole Mannino is a fun rom-com that’s free to read online. A favorite contemporary manga: Dungeon Meshi by Ryōko Kui; and, finally, a favorite classic manga: Rose of Versailles by Riyoko Ikeda.

Follow Peter on Twitter @Peter_Wartman, and Instagram @peterwartman

Follow Xanthe on Tumblr @yumbles, Twitter @xoxobouma, and Instagram @xoxoboh

The Geeks OUT Podcast: A Tale of Two Twins

The Geeks OUT Podcast

Opinions, reviews, incisive discussions of queer geek ideas in pop culture, and the particularly cutting brand of shade that you can only get from a couple of queer geeks all in highly digestible weekly doses.

In this week’s episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Geeks OUT President, Nic Gitau, as they discuss the latest revelations from WandaVision, check out the new Coming 2 America trailer, and celebrate the new writer for the Blade reboot, Stacy Osei-Kuffour as our Strong Female Character of the Week.



KEVIN:  New SAG, NAACP Image Awards, and Golden Globe Nominations
NIC: Latest WandaVision introduces a new look to an old character



KEVIN: In & Of Itself, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riverdale, X-Factor
NIC: The Magicians, Remote Control, The Secret Commonwealth, RPDG



Watchmen writer, Stacy Osei-Kuffour tapped to write Blade reboot



Jen Richards cast in Clarice to address the Buffalo Bill problem



New trailer for Coming 2 America




• Crazy Rich Asians director taking on Wicked movie adaptation
• New trailer for Marvel’s Behind the Mask documentary
• New trailer for The Map of Tiny Pretty Things



• New ad promotes the new Paramount+ streaming service
• The CW renews almost all of their shows for new seasons
• More guest hosts announced for Jeopardy
• New trailer for Punky Brewster revival
• New teaser for The Nevers
• Creators of Haunting at Hill House are adapting The Midnight Club for Netflix
• New trailer for City of Ghosts
• Ryan Coogler developing Wakanda series for Disney+



• Yara Flor is getting her own Wonder Girl series in May
• Controversial artist includes anti-semetic art in Immortal Hulk panel
• James Tynion IV introduces a new Batman rogue, Miracle Molly



• KEVIN: Aaron Taylor Johnson (Quicksilver)
• NIC: Evan Peters (Quicksilver)

Interview with Casey McQuiston

Casey McQuiston is the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue, as well as a pie enthusiast. She writes books about smart people with bad manners falling in love. Born and raised in southern Louisiana, she now lives in New York City with her poodle mix and personal assistant, Pepper.  I had the opportunity to interview her, which you can read below.

How did you know you wanted to be an author? 

Honest, I can’t remember not wanting to be an author, so it’s hard to answer this. I’ve always gravitated to storytelling and books, as far back as preschool, and I always dreamed of writing my own one day. I started and abandoned a dozen novels throughout my teens, and eventually tried to find a job that seemed more practical, but I could always tell I wouldn’t really be fulfilled until I gave it a real try. I’m so glad I did, because five-year-old me was right: writing books is what makes me happiest. 

What books inspired you growing up and inspire you now? 

Growing up, I loved fantasy novels and voice-y, contemporary comedies. I was into all the big escapist blockbuster series like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings and things that made me laugh like Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson series, plus whatever raunchy supermarket romances I could steal from my older sister. Now, I read across all genres, looking for anybody doing something cool with voice or craft. Some of my favorites lately have been The Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir, Hanif Abdurraqib’s backlist, basically any romance novels by Alyssa Cole or Talia Hibbert, My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell, and good old fashioned Jane Austen. 

Your debut novel, Red, White, and Royal Blue, can be described as a very contemporary book entranced in the here and now. What was it like writing in such a precarious time while creating a novel filled with so much joy and hope? 

It was hard, but at the same time, it was easier than it would have been if I tried to write the same book right now. I conceived the idea in early 2016 and wrote it in 2016 and 2017, while I was still relatively close to the feelings of hope and optimism I felt when I voted in my first election and helped re-elect Obama. I think the reason it works is because I was still able to access that. I wanted to create something that could be a small amount of sustenance for readers who wanted a momentary escape, and that was the motivation that kept me reaching for joy when I was writing. 

Could you tell us any trivia about the main characters of Red, White, and Royal Blue, Alex and Henry that we might not know yet? 

For Alex, his favorite Whataburger order is a patty melt with bacon. For Henry, his moon is in virgo. 

As one can tell by your writing, you seem to be a fan of tropes. What are some of your favorite tropes, and what are some tropes we can expect from your writing in the future?

Obviously, one of my all-time favorites is enemies or rivals to lovers—so much banter and tension, plus the idea I think many of us covet, which is that someone could see the very worst of us first and fall in love with us anyway. I also love gratuitous karaoke scenes, forced proximity, star-crossed lovers, and a grumpy character falling for a sunshine character. One trope I haven’t explored yet in a main romance pairing is best friends to lovers, so I definitely have that one at the top of my to-do list. 

To quote a friend, where do you get all your amazing dad shirts? 

Haha, thank you for asking! I’m so proud of my collection, so I’m happy they seem to be something people associate with me. I get them from all over! Some are thrifted or vintage, some are from the men’s section of Forever 21 or Target, some are from Ragstock, some are from Madewell, and I have one that a friend brought back from the Philippines for me. 

What can you tell us about your forthcoming book, One Last Stop? Any minor spoilers you can give to the readers of Geeks OUT? 

I can tell you that I love this book so much. The jacket copy covers the basics: it’s about a struggling waitress/student who falls for a girl on her subway commute who turns out to be displaced in time from the 1970s. What there wasn’t room to mention is that it’s also very much about finding family and community. It’s a love letters two weird roommates who saved your life in your early twenties, dive bars, 24-hour diners, drag shows, and queer history. I can also tell you that it will make you very hungry. Food plays a major role in the book—especially fried chicken and dumplings. 

What’s a question no one has asked you yet or that you wish was asked more? 

I feel like you already nailed it when you asked about my dad shirts! They’re my pride and joy, so I could talk about them all the time. But also more people should ask me what my favorite cocktail is (it’s a paloma). 

What advice would you give to those who may want to create their own stories or are struggling in the process? 

Write for yourself and for your characters. Say what you mean, and say it for no other reason then because it is what you want to say. The purpose of writing is not to have your point of view validated by others—it is to have a point of view and write it. 

Finally, what queer books would you recommend to others?

A lot of my recommendations are up there under what books inspire me! To add a few, I’d definitely like to shout out all of Danez Smith’s poetry, anything by Akwaeke Emezi, Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me by Mariko Tamaki, and The Locked Tomb series (again).

The Geeks OUT Podcast: GameStop Saga: The Snyder Cut

The Geeks OUT Podcast

Opinions, reviews, incisive discussions of queer geek ideas in pop culture, and the particularly cutting brand of shade that you can only get from a couple of queer geeks all in highly digestible weekly doses.

In this week’s episode super-sized episode of the Geeks OUT Podcast, Kevin is joined by Fwee Carter, as they discuss the epic battle of new GameStop investors vs. hedge fund companies, get excited for the new Godzilla vs. Kong trailer, and celebrate the nominees of the 2021 GLAAD Media Awards in This Week in Queer. 



KEVIN:  Redditors support GameStop by taking on Wall Street
FWEE: Netflix is developing the queer webcomic Heartstopper



KEVIN: Palmer, The Hardy Boys, Fate: The Winx Saga
FWEE: WandaVision, Digimon 2020



Netflix developing anime Tomb Raider series 



Nominations for the GLAAD Media Awards announced



New trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong




• Warner Bros. promotes all the movies premiering on HBO Max this year
• HBO Max announces the Snyder Cut is coming March 18
• Netflix developing animated musical based on The Witch Boy
• New trailer for Raya and the Last Dragon
• Kevin Hart joins Cate Blanchett in Borderlands movie
• Luke Evans joins the live-action Pinocchio movie



• Canadian/CW series Trickster canceled due to fake indigenous co-creator
• New trailer for the final season of Black Lightning
• Tim Drake has been added to season 3 of Titans
• New trailer for It’s a Sin
• New teaser for The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
• New trailer for The Snoopy Show
• Main cast for The Sandman announced



• You can no longer have sex with Keanu in Cyberpunk 2077
• According to Activision Blizzard, policies to hire diverse workers is too hard
• Konami shutters all 3 production divisions in restructure



• KEVIN: Monica/Geraldine
• FWEE: Darcy