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18 June 2004

RIP Kate Worley

In an earlier post I mentioned a comic book/graphic novel that I used to enjoy called Omaha the Cat Dancer. This was written by Reed Waller and Kate Worley and illustrated by Reed, and in the post I linked to, it was mentioned that Kate had cancer, which had been in remission, but was at that time returned. Just a few days after I posted that, on June 6, 2004, Kate lost her life to the cancer. Kate was a really talented writer and a fixture in the comic book scene in the 1980s, when she and Reed lived and worked in Minneapolis. I was very grieved to hear of her passing. Here is a great tribute to her on the blog of one who is obviously a kindred spirit. And here is a long excerpt:
"There's actually a whole subgenre of funny-animal-porn comics, but Worley and Waller were the lions of it. By their example, they raised the bar not only for the quality of comics writing, but for the freedom of expression of the medium, and by extension our sexual freedom in society at large. Worley and Waller both came out as bisexual in the late 1980's, making them among the first publically openly queer creators in comics. (Other gay-identified creators before them had usually used pen-names.) Although both creators seem to be closer to the low end of hte Kinsey scale, Omaha included characters of assorted orientations, and the couple proudly contributed a 5-page story and the cover for the "funny animals" issue of Gay Comics. And above all, they celebrated sex as the potentially joyful, perfectly natural, part of everyday life it is.
"Omaha came to a rather abrupt end when Worley and Waller broke up, an acrimonious split that seemed completely irreconcilable. She later remarried, to cartoonist Jim Vance (best known for the excellent graphic novel Kings In Disguise) and had two children. Part of the sad irony of Worley's death at this particular time is the fact that the wounds between her and Waller had finally healed enough that they had recently begun work on new Omaha material, to finish a planned reprint of the series. Unfortunately, her cancer returned at the same time, and she only got a little bit written before she was overtaken by it. Waller has said that he and Vance intend to finish the project in her memory, based on her notes and what they both know of her plans for the story."

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