The Spiderboi Files began in August 2007 after I moved to San Francisco. Having completed an intensive, long serial work that took up the greater part of that year, I was eager to begin writing within the parameters of a radically different practice.
I started by cutting up kari edwards’ a day in the life of p. and obedience* with old journal entries and mashing them with that particular day’s experience of being a gender-variant queer stuck in a random mall job in the middle of suburban California. I shoplifted structures from that environment and stole overheard text. I was inspired by the idea of “files” or case studies as segments of a larger whole (The X-Files and Max Wolf Valerio’s The Testosterone Files), as well as by the idea of documenting my ongoing confrontations with gender assumption. I also wanted to expose and confuse my own trans-identification with consumer culture’s promise of providing the power to choose and create identity.
I decided to write and complete one poem per day in a rather rough and imperfect manner. After several months I had collected about 50 some pages of Spiderboi’s journey, a character that draws from the power of the Spider and the Web as well as the popular Spiderman, a young man bitten by a Spider (a symbol of creative, feminine energy) and thus transformed. The super-hero archetype became a way to explore gender transition and gender transformation in relation to the desire to be fully embodied.
In late 2007 and early 2008 I began the process of inking the poems out into panels. I was further intrigued by the idea of a graphic poem-novel and the “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” novels I remember reading as a kid. I wanted to explore the idea of “choice” in relation to gender (versus sexuality) by placing that choice in the hands of the reader in the exact places in which those choices were difficult for me.
The result is a living document of my first year living in San Francisco and identifying as trans. Through poetry, spoken word, graphic novel, web comic, and hand-sewn chapbook, the web of Spiderboi is the force-field a gender-variant person must build to envelop themselves in the strength that allows for change, individuation and transformation.
Volume 1 contains [rodent, [freebox cunt, [THE EMBARCADERO, [add your difference and [anachronistic.
* [THE EMBARCADERO and [freebox cunt contain cut-ups from kari edwards’ obedience.
“Exploring Gender in an Unexpected Package” by Emerson Whitney at Hyperallergic (October 24, 2011)
Exhibition and Publication History
THE SPIDERBOI FILES, Volume 1 chapbook, Handmade/Homemade Exhibit 2011, Pace University, Westchester (March 2011)
[theridion grallator, [unisex and [princess or soldier (panels) in Masculine Femininities Zine, Issue 4 (December 10, 2010)
[nausea of night (panel) in Drunken Boat #12 (2010)
[berdache (text form)in Here is a Pen: An Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets (Achiote Press, 2009)
[cute little dyke (panel) in Queef Zine (Issue 1, 2009)
[rodent and [anachronistic, UC Berkeley Queer + Asian Conference Art Exhibition, Berkeley, May 2, 2009
IT ALL STARTED WITH A BOY WHO COULD CLIMB WALLS AT NIGHT (The Spiderboi Files), Fresh Meat in the Gallery, San Francisco, 2008