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Comic Book / Stuck Rubber Baby

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Stuck Rubber Baby is a 1995 graphic novel by Howard Cruse set in the early 1960s in the fictional Southern town of Clayfield. The story revolves around Toland Polk, a young white man who drifts into the integrationist movement in Clayfield, becoming involved with a young woman named Ginger while simultaneously struggling with his own homosexuality.

A winner of the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album.

Stuck Rubber Tropes:

  • Bald of Authority: Reverend Harland Pepper.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Averted with Toland and Ginger.
  • Bury Your Gays: Poor, poor Sammy. there's also a mention early on of a bank president murdered by some young men who had claimed he was giving them funny looks, and who were subsequently let off scot free.
  • Camp Gay: Esmeraldus, Sammy, and Bernard.
  • Civil Rights Movement: The backdrop for the story. Emmett Till's murder and the March On Washington are plot points.
  • Coming-Out Story: most of the story.
  • Drag Queen: Esmeraldus.
  • Driven to Suicide: The police's alternate explanation for Sammy's death.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Toland's parents believe that white people were smarter and overall better than black people but they forbade him from ever saying the n-word.
  • Gaydar: Most people seem to be able to pick up on Toland's gayness when they first meet, then believe him when he claims to be straight.
  • Gay Moment: Toland has so many of these, you'd think the others would start not believing him...
  • Hello, Sailor!: When we first see him, Sammy is in his Navy uniform.
  • Jerkass: Orley, Sutton Chopper, and pretty much every police officer who appears.
  • The '60s
  • Straight Gay: Les and Toland himself.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sammy, extremely drunk and somewhat depressed at being turned down by Toland, gets Toland to drive him over to the headquarters of the Dixie Patriot, the local racist newspaper which had featured him on the front page describing him as a "Nigger Loving Queer," so he can ask for copies of the picture. It doesn't go well...
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: how most of the white citizens of Clayfield view the staff of the blatantly racist newspaper the Dixie Patriot.