Tina Horn may not be a familiar name to comic fans. She’s a journalist and writer, focusing on sex work, queer communities, and sex positivity. She has experience in the mediums of film, audio, podcasts, and as of early 2019, comic books, when her DC Vertigo title Safe Sex will be released.
As with the other guests on the DC Vertigo panel, who are writing upcoming Vertigo titles but don’t have much if any experience with comics in the past, Horn was asked “Why comics?” Her response was simple and enthusiastic: “I love comics!” Vertigo especially, as she noted “Vertigo is extremely my s--t.”
Vertigo comics is exploring societal issues with its new line of comics, but the imprint’s roots are very much in horror. Horn said that the point of writing fiction like this is asking yourself what scares you? And the answer for her is the way that marginalized groups do the work of the oppressor by fighting one another. “I wanted to comment on things that I see in my life. This is a very personal story — not autobiographical, but the themes are extremely emotionally important to me,” she said.
Safe Sex focuses on what she described as “a ragtag team of sex workers,” the Dirty Minds are “sex workers, queers and sex rebels.” Horn, who is primarily a nonfiction writer, said these characters are not based on any individual person, but collectively based on the communities she studies.
That was what drew her to writing fiction in the first place. She said she feels it’s important to have stories about communities she’s a part of so that they are represented by people who know what they’re talking about, and not by “people on safari,” as she put it.
The Dirty Minds live in a dystopian, authoritarian world where even physical pleasure is regulated and policed by “the man.” This group of freedom fighters is fighting for their right to love in this oppressive world.
Safe Sex hits shelves in early 2019.