‘Liebestrasse’ is the Season’s Must Read LGBTQ Graphic Novel About Romance in a Time of Fascism

In Liebestrasse, Sam, an American banker, meets Philip, a German art critic, while living and working in Berlin. The freedom of the Weimar Republic is over as the Nazis win power and their sweet, bilingual romance is quickly hit with an unspeakable reality as Philip is arrested and disappears. Sam desperately searches for Philip with the help of Philip’s sister and their friends. Eventually the political situation around Sam has deteriorated enough that he is forced to return to the United States. Terrorized by the things he saw, Sam eventually returns to Berlin for answers as the post-war reconstruction begins in 1952. But his survivor’s guilt and shattered heart have sent him on a fool’s errand, across a city, country and world that have been forever and horrifically altered.

“There have been countless comics, books, films and television shows about Germany’s descent into fascism because it’s essential that these stories continue to be told,” said writer Greg Lockard.

“After touring the campsite at Auschwitz, I sat on a bench in the Planty Krakowskie outside the walled city of Krakow, in a surreal daze,” says artist Tim Fish. “To escape the horror I struggled to comprehend, my mind kept jumping back to the week prior while I visited the camp Theresienstadt. The Nazis had made a significant effort in maintaining the camp conditions and records in an effort to convince the Red Cross they were treating its inhabitants humanely. As a result, the camp museum contains dozens of biographies of its residents. While I was there, it became obvious to me who the gay men were. Instead of facts such as “had three children,” it said things such as “was active in the Berlin theatre.” Sitting in the Planty, I kept thinking of those men…how happy they were in a progressive and tolerant society, and how abruptly it ended. I drew several sketches of a couple, broken apart by the war…one German, sent to a camp, and one American, forced to flee Berlin.”

“Tim and I have been friends and collaborators for over 15 years and we co-created this graphic novel to shine a light on a troubling period of world history, from a perspective that will hopefully allow for new discussions and thinking,” said Lockard. “This is the story of two gay men in Nazi Germany, told by two gay comic creators living in America. We hope the story of Liebestrasse will resonate with readers everywhere.”

GAYNRD interviewed writer Greg Lockard

Was this story based on a real relationship? Fortunately, no. Of course, as writers and artists, there are elements pulled from our lives. From the things we see and hear; all the information we are consuming day-in and day-out. Those things all go into the fiction we create. But none of these characters exist as humans outside of our heads… but hopefully, now in the minds of our readers as well.

I do hope the emotions are very real. I hope the anxiety and terror are palpable. I hope the ache of loss rings true. Those are the things that were pulled from real life and I want to transfer to the readers as the characters experience them.

What makes this story relevant today? The parallels between the end of the Weimar Era and today’s global political landscape are overwhelmingly close. We hope readers see those parallels. Our characters didn’t act in time to save each other. In the 1930s, the entire world failed to save itself and this cannot be repeated. Hopefully, not only LGBTQ people recognize these alarming similarities and also recognize the threat to other minority groups.

We started working on this story before the 2016 election in the U.S. and the global rise of right-wing voices and neo-Nazi rhetoric became far too loud to ignore. You can’t turn on your computer or television without seeing the amplified voices of racist/Anti-Semetic/transphobic/misogynistic/homophobic people all over the world. We are here to stand against these threats; we are here to say “this will not be tolerated.”

Do you have any more collaborations planned? We don’t have anything concrete currently planned but Tim and I have been friends and collaborators for a very long time. We are both very proud of the results of our hard work in 

Liebestrasse and are thinking about how to repeat the process with a new story in the future. The team at Comixology Originals gave us so much creative freedom and behind-the-scenes support as well. It would be wonderful to work with them again as well.

 

As part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive content, Liebestrasse ia available, at no additional cost, for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, and comiXology Unlimited, and for purchase on Kindle and comiXology. ComiXology Unlimited now offers over 25,000 comics, graphic novels and manga for just $5.99 a month with a 30-day free trial at comixology.com/unlimited.

For more updates on comiXology Originals, check out http://comixologyoriginals.com.

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