Monday, October 01, 2007

MAN-datory Military Service,

When I was on tour with my band in Europe two summers ago, the guy who booked our tour suggested that we not drive ourselves, and found three drivers, all German dudes, who would take turns navigating the European highways and generally babysitting us. The first was the wonderfully funny Andre Springer, the second was the amazingly calm Daniel Dutsky, and the third was a young buck named Patrick who spoke pretty much perfect English with a slight California accent, because he had gone to some of high school in Las Vegas. So convincing was his English, that when he did speak German it was really surprising to us. You couldn't help but think "how did that surfer get so good at German?" Patrick alluded to the fact that he had just gotten out of some form of public service, and we also found out that he had learned to drive stick shift just weeks before he met up with us, solely for the purpose of being able to drive us on the tour. It was just a tad rough at first, but he sure did get the hang of it!

When i asked Patrick about what he did for his mandatory public service to the German government, he told this story:

gay brigade

At first I did not believe this story. I tried looking up more information about it on the internet, and my searches for "German gay military" found nothing, so I held off on finishing the comic because it seemed pretty possible that the gay army brigade thing was a rumor. Then one day I was talking to a dreadlocked-pseudo-hippie German guy at the hostel I was staying at in Mexico City, and I luckily remembered to get a fact check about this curious piece of information. Sure enough, the dreadlocked German said that it was real (to his dismay as well, as he also had considered pulling the gay card to get out of military service), and so I now felt like I was cleared to finish the comic and scan it and stuff.

* Not that I am trying to stereotype what gay men look like in my depiction of the gay brigade, but as you may be able to see, I sort of wrote the comic in red pen and then didn't come back to it until months later, at which point after much internal struggle, I had determined that the "best" way to clearly depict a gay division of the German army was, in fact, to pull out all the stops and use every stereotype available. That's what you do in the world of comics, I am told. Do they look gay enough?

** A better title for the name of this hypothetical sitcom or reality show would be most welcome. Help me, please.

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