One of the first gay pulp fiction series, an Affectionate Parody
of James Bond
and The Man From UNCLE
written by Victor J. Banis under the pseudonym of Don Holliday, shortly before Stonewall.
Jackie Holmes is a swishy, wealthy gay man living in California in the 1960s. He is also a Bugatti mechanic, an expert on diamonds, an expert marksman, and a spy. Specifically, he's employed full-time by a clandestine organization known as C.A.M.P., dedicated to the protection and advancement of homosexuals everywhere. With the help of his burly assistant Rich and whatever poor sorry straight INTERPOL stuck him with, Jackie foils thieves and crime rings, flounces around and is generally fabulous, and always manages to seduce his partner in the end.
Works in the series include:
- The Man from C.A.M.P.
- Color Him Gay
- The Watercress File
- The Son Goes Down
- Gothic Gaye
- Holiday Gay
- Rally Round the Fag
- The Gay Dogs
- Blow the Man Down
- Sex and the Single Gay, a self-help book (no, really)
- The C.A.M.P. Guide to Astrology (no, really)
- The C.A.M.P. Cookbook (I am not making any of this up!)
- Gay-Safe (not by Banis)
- "Jackie Returns", a short story
By and large considered to be notable mostly inasmuch as being one of the first queer novels published before Stonewall, but they're pretty fun of their own right too, despite being written in a few days each, and some of the prose being kind of rough.
After these being out of print for a very long time, anthology collections are starting to come out—hooray!
The Man from C.A.M.P. provides examples of:
- All Gays are Promiscuous: Well, not all. But Jackie is, and most of the people he meets are.
- Author Tract: There are weird Anvilicious moments of Gay Aesop scattered throughout, where two of the gay cast (pick two, any two) will drop what they're doing and wish airily for a world in which their love is accepted.
- Biggus Dickus: Rich.
- Butch Lesbian: Big Daddy, from the first novella.
- Camp Gay: Duh.
- Cast Full of Gay
- Depraved Homosexual: You meet a few of these. Like the one in the first novella, who takes Jackie home, only to tie him to the bed and attempt to castrate him.
- Drag Queen: Somehow, Jackie seems to always end up in drag.
- And once dressed as a young girl...
- Gayngst: Not just avoided, but dragged out of the closet, punched repeatedly in the face, and shot dead with a jeweled derringer.
- Gayngster: A lot of the antagonists are this.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: John Holmes, the ludicrously well-hung porn star, became a phenomenon after these books.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Jackie's conquests are sometimes outright stated to be this.
- Magical Queer: Played with. Jackie seems to get stuck with a lot of homophobic partners solely to teach them lessons about tolerance. But he's absurdly competent, too, with his own motivations, and thus doesn't really fit the bill. Plus they always end up screwing in the end.
- No Bisexuals: Subverted: if Jackie gets a partner over the course of the book, the partner will always, always start out as an incredibly bigoted homophobe. And he will always—always—wind up having sex with Jackie by the end of the book.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Avoided: Banis himself is a gay man and writes the gay scene very realistically. Yes, there are older people and less attractive people.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Jackie and his sidekick Rich, but don't worry, they get along great (possibly even because of the contrast).
- Situational Sexuality: There's something about working cases with Jackie...
- Spy Fiction: Martini, with one of those fun frilly umbrellas on top.
- Straight Gay: The INTERPOL agent who acts as a C.A.M.P. liason, Lou Upton, might be one of these.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders
- Weapon of Choice: Jackie's jeweled derringer. "Small and deadly...like me."