Mar 12, 2015

The Gay Boy of "Soup to Nutz"

Soup to Nutz (2000-) is a newspaper comic strip about a working-class Roman Catholic family, with a truculent, clueless Dad, a faux-cheery Mom, dopey older son Royboy, and self-possessed daughter Babs.  It is ostensibly sent in the contemporary era, but often references the 1970s, with macaroni casseroles, G.I. Joes, and confusing Elton John's "Tiny Dancer" with "Tony Danza."

The central character is 6-year old Andrew, a smart, sensitive, boy with gender-atypical interests that constantly startle or offend everyone around him. He lip-synchs to Whitney Houston and the Village People, plays with Barbie dolls, studies ballet (in a tutu).

Referencing gay-favorite The Wizard of Oz, he asks why Dorothy would ever want to leave Oz and return to the oppression of Kansas.

He decides to befriend Peter Pan even though Royboy warns that Peter Pan is a “fairy,” homophobic slang for “gay.

Sometimes Royboy just comes right out and calls him a "fairy."

Other strips suggest that Andrew has same-sex interests as well.  He gets crushes on Justin Bieber and the Brawny  Paper Towel Man.  He gazes in open-mouthed awe at the physique of a muscular superhero.

 He is usually unfazed by the bemusement or contempt of his family and friends.  When Royboy complains,  “You’re not normal.”  Andrew responds: “Why be normal when you can be happy?”
In an interview, cartoonist Rick Stromoski agrees that Andrew might be gay, but refuses positive identification, stating that Andrew is six years old and doesn’t know yet.  Besides, he is popular among both gay and straight men who felt like outsiders because they played with dolls and didn’t like sports.