My Comrade, No. 2: 60 Photos [RuPaul, Tabboo!]
New York: My Comrade, 1988. Photography by Keith Kotick and John Boyer. Xerox. Saddle stapled. Unpaginated. 7 x 8 ½ in. Very good. Item #6400
The second issue of My Comrade, published in spring 1988, is the “60 Photos” issue, with pages upon pages of photographic comic spreads featuring RuPaul, Tabboo!, Keoki, Hapi Phace, John Boyer, and many more.
Published by drag queen Linda Simpson [aka Les Simpson], My Comrade was an underground gay culture zine that set itself apart from the deluge of Xeroxed zines popping up in New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Through parody of both mainstream tabloid magazines and the self-serious gay press, a campy and ironic sensibility, and radical left sympathies and sloganeering, My Comrade captured the zeitgeist of the gay downtown scene. Publishing 11 issues between 1987 and 1994, and three issues since, My Comrade documents the last years of underground gay culture before marriage equality and representation at elite levels of American society became the primary drivers of gay politics and aesthetic production. My Comrade was briefly revived from 2004 to 2006, and again on the occasion of the exhibition “My Comrade Magazine: Happy 35th Gay Anniversary” at Howl! in 2022.
The original run of the magazine showcased nightlife personalities and community members through imaginative photo spreads, interviews, columns, and more. Drag queens including RuPaul, Lady Bunny, Mona Foot, Lipsynka, and others frequently appear. Simpson’s downtown scene centered around the Pyramid Club, and My Comrade features heavy coverage of Pyramid parties and performers. After a few issues, My Comrade expanded into a larger and more professional looking magazine format. During that time, the magazine also began running double issues: My Comrade, largely focused on gay men and drag queens; and Sister!, dedicated to the lesbian community. Sister! had similar design and content with photo essays, interviews, and spreads but covered specifically lesbians and lesbian spaces. Although Sister! only lasted a few issues, its representation and involvement of the lesbian community is notable; the lesbian community was often overlooked in other gay nightlife publications and documentation of the time.