Jerome Stueartis creating the Further Adventures of Yukon Cornelius, Queer Hero
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Thank you! This is the level where you can keep tabs on what I'm doing, see some art, get a story excerpt, find out what's happening in my Columbus adventure every month. You receive access to my Patreon posts and a newsletter of all the things I’m working on and planning to do, what events I will attend—your way of being a part of my fun.
Well, you are along for the ride! For this level, you will get chapters of an ongoing serial that I'm creating just for Patreon--a space opera about a retired nurse who sells her home, buys a spaceship, recruits her son to fly it, but has to deal with the former captain who is part of the deal--as well as her own home health care nurse, the nurse's 10 year old daughter, and a host of other characters as they start out on an easy tour of the sacred sites of the galaxy, only to be caught up in much more intrigue than they planned on. I will be creating a chapter a month for this, with illustrations! The first ones will be crude---as I'm just learning digital illustration--but the joy is going to be watching me learn how to make these illustrations better.
Yukon Cornelius is the big bearded prospector in the 1964 Rankin/Bass stop-motion animated Christmas movie, "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." The script was written by Romeo Muller, pictured below, a gay writer, and the movie has a lot of gay subtext about discrimination, bullying, and the search for acceptance and inclusion. More on the gay subtext of this movie can be found on Vulture. What we know about Yukon is that he is a dogmusher, searches for a peppermint mine (or silver and gold), and is on his way to pick up his "life-sustaining supplies of cornmeal, gun powder, ham hocks, and guitar strings" when he runs into Rudolph and friend wandering in the north. He also has a strange knowledge of the Abominable Snowman, and a fondness for peanut butter.
Queer Heroes: We don't have a lot of them. We certainly have no queer adventure heroes. Queer kids (and adults) need to see themselves represented in media, in stories, so that they know that people like them did great things too! So I decided to give Yukon Cornelius his own full life--tell his backstory, his adventures, and talk about his talent for charming monsters.
When I came to the Columbus College of Art and Design, this became my first project--give this character a full life in 8-10 paintings that show his character arc. I'm an acrylic painter and illustrator, and giving Yukon Cornelius life became my semester goal.
Toxic Masculine Heroes vs. Yukon Cornelius: I wanted to design a hero who would be more about communication, negotiation, empathy, protection and less about aggression, posturing, violence, and weapons. While the movie had Yukon with a gun, he doesnt use it against the Abominable Snowmonster, and I thought that was interesting. So I created a hero who doesnt know at first that he's a monster magnet, a monster charmer, but who learns that monsters come to him.
I created a life of monster encounters for him... illustrating these moments where Yukon meets up with "monsters" who turn out not to be the monsters everyone thinks they are. In the stories, humans turn out to be worse monsters. Eventually, in the late 80s and early 90s, when a cosmic alien force attacks people on the margins of society, and cryptids, governments do nothing to help, hoping the cosmic alien forces will take away the marginal people and the cryptids.
I chose a style given to heroic characters in literature--the illustrator NC Wyeth. His style gave every male hero a chance to look heroic. I wanted that for Yukon Cornelius, and I wanted to make him rounder, more queer, and less aggressive than Wyeth's heroes---this isn't a sword bearing Arthur, a bow-wielding Robin Hood, or pirates from Treasure Island.
(Still working on updating this site---everything below this line is older material. thank you for your patience!)
Why Patreon? Why Now?
What you can get--and what others can get:For anyone who gives a dollar a month, you can get story excerpts and art and news of my Columbus adventures! This is the easiest and the widest tier--giving you news about all that I'm doing plus art and writing. </h5><h5>From there, the levels offer you everything in the preceding levels + :</h5>
- all my art that I produce,
- chapters of a serialized space opera with queer characters only available here--with illustrations!,
- and for the fellow writers who want to learn more about craft, the levels go up to include writing videos answering YOUR questions (the videos may become available to everyone if we reach certain goals, but you will always guide the questions),
- reading lists and discussions of other books,
- personal critiques of your writing,
- and, at the highest level, personalized perks that include portraits of people you love and signed books.
Also, as we meet certain goals, I will pay it forward by dedicating 10% of my earnings to patronizing other queer artists and writers, and I will tell you about that in posts. I already give $40 a month to other artists/writers and magazines that support queer writers/artists. My goal is to bring others with me if I rise, and will tell you about them and why I support them. You'll (hopefully, if Patreon helps me display them properly) be able to see everyone I support here.
For those who may not be familiar with my writing, my latest story was published in F&SF (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction) in March/April 2019. The novelette, “Postlude to the Afternoon of a Faun,” was about mentoring, about jazz, about how you change a life in midstream---sorta like I’m doing. Life imitating art, or vice versa.
I write science fiction and fantasy, but also queer literary stories/novellas. My work falls in between a lot of categories. My first book of collected short fiction, The Angels of Our Better Beasts , came out last year from ChiZine Publications. I’m a 2007 Clarion graduate, a Lambda Literary Fellow, and a Milton Fellow. I write science fiction, fantasy, and mainstream short stories and am working into novellas and novels. My work has been published or is forthcoming in Tor.com, Lightspeed’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction, Fantasy, Geist, Geez, On Spec, Joyland . I’ve co-edited three anthologies: Imaginarium 4, Wrestling with Gods: Tesseracts 18 , and Inhuman. I tend to touch on the spiritual side of my characters and my worlds —trying to understand their (and our) search for something deeper in the chaos that we live in.
My fiction can be about a talking dog that saves a gay deacon's life on a cold night in the Yukon, or about trying to figure out how to be a gay man from working as a park ranger in Teddy Roosevelt's house on Long Island trying to learn from Roosevelt, to a woman blazing through the stars to see all the sacred places in the galaxy before she dies. People are sacred. What they do to find peace, to find safety, to find meaning in the world and in their lives is fascinating to me. I'll use tropes from literary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, horror, mystery--all to discover what people are doing to find something real.
I’ve always been an artist, since I was a kid, doing cartoons on the edges of flip tablets, imagining adventures of skunks and raccoons. I started doing pencil portraits in front of the local Piggly Wiggly in Caruthersville, MO when I was 15. This girl forced me to. I didn’t want to. I was happy drawing portraits of celebrities from the TV Guide, and she stood there and said she wanted a picture of herself! Well, I didn’t know anything about live sketching someone. But she wouldn’t leave, and she was determined that I could do it. So I did. And that was my first live portrait. Since then, I’ve turned to portraiture every time I’m low on money. Gaining more skill, slowly, dabbling in other mediums until now I do portraits in acrylic. I’d love to move into oils one day. </h5><h5>
But more than portraits, I like doing pictures of people in community. We see so much art where people are isolated and alone. I want to expand past portraits to paint community, groups, people interacting. I just finished a show called Communion, where I did portraits of people drinking coffee, and I could arrange them in a way to make them seem like they were all in conversation with each other. </h5><h5>
How we build community is important. It's something I want to explore. I want to explore this in painting and in writing. I'd love for you to be part of that journey with me. If you'd like to come along, please consider becoming one of my patrons! I would love to have your companionship on this journey. </h5><h5>
BOOKS I've edited or written: