Author Archives: Suzanne Forbes

About Suzanne Forbes

Suzanne Forbes is a traditionally trained figurative artist who makes documentary art of queer culture and Berlin life. She also works in mixed media. She is a former New Yorker who immigrated to Berlin with her third husband and their two cats. Her work is crowdfunded by the support of her Patrons on Patreon; you could help! In previous lives Suzanne was a graffiti artist in downtown NY, a courtroom artist for CBS and CNN, a penciller for DC Comics on Star Trek, and a live-drawing chronicler of Bay Area alternative culture.

The last New Mutants post!

Rahne and Danielle together at last art by Danilo Beyruth and Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum April 21, I opened the last, hardest box of old sketchbooks.

I found wondrous things. Love letters to my late beloved Rob Sawyer, even more New Mutants slash art of Rahne and Dani, a sketch of my friend Chris Claremont made in fall 1986. I even found the first portraits I ever drew, coming soon.

I have been archiving my 80s and 90s art since April 2019.

Self-portraits from the ’80s! The archiving project was very hard. So hard it dragged to a halt by mid-2020. I have only barely resurrected it the last couple months.

Chris Claremont by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably Fall 1986I had no idea I’d drawn Chris!

I don’t remember drawing this, but based on the sketchbook it was I’m estimating it was drawn in the Fall of ’86. Chris Claremont was a great comfort to me in the terrible Fall of 1986.

Danielle Moonstar by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum circa 1985 and 1986More drawings of Dani, from ’85 and ’86.

I was working so hard to draw the New Mutants as individuals, especially Rahne and Dani. Trying to give them distinct bodies, faces and characters, as co-creator Bob McLeod and defining artist Bill Sienkiewicz had.

Rahne and Dani 80s fashions by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum probably 1985And of course ’80s fashion!

Wow, ’80s fashion. It wasn’t all bad.

Danielle and Rahne by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum circa 1985 and 1986At the same time, I was trying to learn to draw superheroes!

I had to learn the standards and aesthetic of comics, and so much technical stuff. Perspective! I have so much respect for the young woman I was and how hard I worked for my dream.

Rahne Shan and Illyana by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel Ketchum circa 1985 and 1986Learning to draw expressions! And movement!

1985 was a long, long year of my life. I was at Parsons, in the Illustration Program, and also studying preferred anatomy texts of comic artists all the time. And I was a junkie, on weekends.

Rahne Dani slash 1985 by Suzanne Forbes working as Rachel KetchumThe New Mutants, the X-Men and the Teen Titans kept me going.

I was really, really depressed and profoundly traumatized, but also so goddam determined. All I cared about were comics, my friends, and getting high on the weekends.

And then my favorite character Danielle was attacked and threatened with sexual assault, in New Mutants 35!

Jesus! I was so angry, I wrote this letter to Chris in one of my sketchbooks. I was gonna send it to the New Mutants’ letter column. Ultimately, as I got drunker that night, I sent a telegram instead! I occasionally sent drunk telegrams, in the ’80s.

Finding this letter as a midlife, long-healing queer, I love that angry girl.

Although I am saddened at how ignorant I was. Today I know that American families who have a Native American great-grandmother are families who participated in harm, not “part American Indian”. I also didn’t know the term “survivor” back then, or identify as one yet.

I was really worried that there was gonna be a Dark Mirage storyline!

I’m sure there has been, by now! But there wasn’t, then. And oddly enough, I wound up finding a lot to like about the man who wrote the story, despite his long history of writing bad things happening to women. In 1986 I met Chris Claremont, and got together with Rob.

Joy seemed to burst through the carapace of struggle, for a time.

The passion I felt for comics and the career ahead conjoined with love and hope. I went to San Diego Comic Con on a cloud of youth, ambition and drugs. And then tragedy, trauma, all the things that happened in New York in the ’80s to junkies and queers, and descent into deep addiction.

So that when I finally broke into comics in ’93, I wound up working for DC, on Star Trek, and never did get to draw teenage superheroes.

It’s OK.

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color artist Rahne and Dani together pageThere is a new generation of amazing people working in comics.

I almost never buy comics, but when there’s buzz about a New Mutants arc, I perk up my ears. Vita Ayala, a trans non-binary Afro-Puerto-Rican writer from NYC, has been doing fantastic New Mutants work. (Their twitter is here, website here!)

I saw the panel above shared online a couple months ago and ordered the issue (plus Ayala’s other NM work), but it only arrived in Berlin today.

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color artist Rahne and Dani together panelThat’s ok, today is soon enough to see this joy, this miracle.

A whole New Mutants comic about queer community, restorative justice, personal and community accountability, healing trauma, and women kissing women! The beautiful art is by Danilo Beyruth as Artist and Dan Brown as color artist. Dani and Rahne share a beautiful scene of honesty and connection and intimacy.

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color IllyanaWhat an incredible experience, to see it all said out loud.

Well, written out loud, anyway! At last, at last! Illyana speaks on rage and trauma, telling your own story, and the most important things, connection and community. Xi’an gets together with a woman character I learned is Galura, a Filipina mutant who’s also canonically a lesbian!

New Mutants 2022 issue 24 written by Vita Ayala Danilo Beyruth Artist Dan Brown color artist community justiceXi’an, Galura, Dani and Rahne confront a long-term agent of harm with tenets of restorative justice.

Rahne chooses to give forgiveness and Xi’an chooses not to. Plus the Proudstar brothers hug! Both Dani and Ororo express personal accountability and the intent to do better, and Ororo speaks about community accountability as well. What a wonderful voyage into the present and future of comics. So grateful to Vita Ayala for the work they’re doing!

Everything I hoped for as a young woman who loved these characters and this medium, and more. Can’t wait to see the next issue, and so glad I’m done opening boxes.

Rahne-and-Dani-slash-by-Rachel-Ketchum-circa1985More New Mutants stuff:

New Mutants Movie lesbian love story fan art!

My Rahne and Dani lovebird custom Marvel Legends action figures

Douglock action figures

Rahne and Dani slash art from the 80’s

The love story of me, P, the New Mutants, and Chris (trigger warning for really a lot of bad stuff)

Christopher Street Day ice cream party with gay X-Men!

How the New Mutants film re-connected me with my queerness

A New York City subway station and subway under a dollhouse in Berlin, with superheroes.

These ’80s drawings had never been photographed; until now, no record of them existed – if we had a fire or flood they would just be gone forever.

I am so grateful to my Patrons on Patreon, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to take time to document my art archives.

 

Noeline la Bouche for Black Fae Day!

Noeline la Bouche for Black Fae Day 2 by Suzanne Forbes May 14 2022What a great adventure!

Do you know about Black Fae Day? On the second Saturday in May, Black fantasy lovers and their allies celebrate positive Black representation in fantasy!

When my beloved friend and muse Noéline la Bouche hosted Uncaged Cabaret’s “Return of the Fling”, I loved the fantasy look she created. I asked if they would be interested in being sponsored to create a look for Black Fae Day, and doing a zoom life drawing session in it.

Noeline la Bouche for Black Fae Day by Suzanne Forbes May 12 2022Noéline said yes! Look at this amazing look!

You can see the selfie photo session Noéline did here. They chose materials and costume components and I ordered them, and I booked her for the session at the highest rate I could possibly afford as well paying for makeup time.

I’m so grateful that my Patrons make supporting creative equity like this possible!

Noéline is a consummate professional and we convened for the zoom session with them completely in costume and makeup, set up with camera and beautifully lit. We took breaks as needed for our disabled bodies, and got to visit too. Because working with Noéline is a safe space for me, I experimented a LOT with the Liquitex Acrylic Ink I’ve been trying!

Noeline la Bouche for Black Fae Day 2 by Suzanne Forbes May 14 2022 detailI am so glad Black Fae Day exists.

“We are showing the world that Black people deserve more positive representation in mainstream fantasy and fairytales! We’re out here and magical. Will you join us in uplifting minority voices?”

Learn about Black Fae Day Founder Jasmine la Fleur and co-founder Carlos Williams Jr. here. Follow on twitter here!

Insta here, linktree, website, IRL celebration. Venmo to support this wonderful event!

If you’re interested in disabled performer life and building the emotional intelligence to cope with radical physical challenge, I highly recommend reading Noéline’s posts.

And of course paying her some money because we don’t take the labor of Black femmes for free!

Noéline’s website here, Insta here, burlesque accessory line here, Paypal.me here!

Noéline in a headpiece I made! And as the Goddess Yemaya last month.

Many other Noeline drawings in my Noéline Muse Album on flickr.

I am so grateful to my Patreon Patrons, whose monthly financial support makes it possible for me to continue documenting Berlin performers as a vaccinated but Covid-vulnerable disabled person.