The first five years of Greg Fox‘s series of strips about a Bed & Breakfast house run by and filled with gay guys has finally been collected in a nice book.
Rereading the Kyle’s Bed & Breakfast1 strips in chronological order made me even more aware of the soap opera aspects of the stories. They’re mainly about who’s dating whom, who doesn’t like whom, and the ever-changing list of guests which complement the five stable characters: Kyle, owner of the house, a nice and rather reserved guy who does his best so that everybody gets along as well as they can, sometimes to the detriment of his own private life; Richard, long-time friend of Kyle and typical gay guy; Brad, the young and closeted jock; Lance, a complete guppie and Eduardo, another young guy, whose coming-out got him thrown out of his family home.
The interactions between those five, very different men drives the strip. Fox introduced those characters as one-dimensional stereotypes, and strip by strip, gave them more rounded personnalities. Brad is the best example of that: he seemed like a self-absorbed jerk at first, only interested in his sport career, but his living surrounded by all manners of gay men made him question his prejudice and he began to envision something else for himself than a life in the closet.
And even if most of the men portrayed by Greg Fox are physically far above the average guy, real-life issues, like aids or aging, permeate the strip, and the romances (usually) between the regular characters and the guests are not treated in a melodramatic way, but often make the readers discover a new side to the characters. The guests are also very varied: a young priest questioning his reasons for taking orders, an older guy who’s been in the closet all his life, a shady French guy, a young gay father, etc.
Greg Fox’s art is now solid and his characters’ body language is more delineated than at the beginning. He’s definitely of the realistic school of art, and since he does seem to like to draw half-naked guys, that gives us a lot of eye candy.
There’s something to be said for stories spanning years, so between his fondness for the variety of the male body and the continuing development of his characters, Greg Fox should be able to keep on doing his strip for a long time.