Stuck Rubber Baby (1995)



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As a young gay man leading a closeted life in the 1960s American South, Toland Polk tries his best to keep a low profile. He’s aware of the racial injustice all around him—the segregationist politicians, the corrupt cops, the violent Klan members—but he feels powerless to make a difference. That all changes when he crosses paths with an impassioned coed named Ginger Raines.

Ginger introduces him to a lively and diverse group of civil rights activists, folk singers, and night club performers—men and women who live authentically despite the conformist values of their hometown. Emboldened by this new community, Toland joins the local protests and even finds the courage to venture into a gay bar.

No longer content to stay on the sidelines, Toland joins his friends as they fight against bigotry. But in Clayfield, Alabama, that can be dangerous—even deadly.

From: Macmillan Publishers

Notes on This Title

This title is set in the American South in the 1960s. There are depictions of racist and homophobic violence, as well as frequent usage of racist and homophobic language. The main character is a white gay man; the supporting cast includes a Black gay man.


Stonewall Book Award Nominee for Literature (1996)
Harvey Awards for Best Graphic Album of Original Work (1996)
UK Comic Art Award for Best Original Graphic Novel/One-Shot (1996)
Prix du Festival d'Angoulême for Prix du patrimoine (2022)
Lambda Literary Award Nominee for Photography/Visual Arts (1995)
Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Graphic Album-New (1996)


“Stuck Rubber Baby’s depth of characterization, setting, psychological insight, and history make it a perfect example of how a graphic novel is not simply a compilation of cartoons.” (Source: Lambda Literary)

Stuck Rubber Baby is a deft, accomplished and deeply felt account of a very volatile time, but it’s also the story of a flawed, confused person working hard to make himself less so.” (Source: NPR)


The Beat: “Howard Cruse dives into queer comics history & his own career as a cartoonist

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