Review: Fast Friends

Artist(s): Dale Lazarov, Michael Broderick.

The latest wordless erotic graphic novel written by Dale Lazarov, the most grounded in real life among his now impressive catalog, also happens to be one of his best. Working with an artist of Michael Broderick‘s caliber can’t have hurt.

Fast Friends1 is set in the 1960s and follows two men, both unhappy in love, who meet in a café and quickly fall in bed–and maybe more than that. Not a very original plot, obviously, but what sets it apart is, indeed, everything else.

As you can see from the image on the right, Lazarov and Broderick reference the classic gay pulps of the 50s and 60s2, with their lurid cover art and even more lurid taglines. Fast Friends‘s version is actually pretty restrained. Other references to the attitude of the period to sexuality abound, with various characters reading magazines and comics titled Sordid Romance and Forsaken Love. In fact, magazine covers are used to describe characters, which is a fun and clever way to convey information in a wordless comic (with for example a thug reading something called Cold Blooded).

The settings are portrayed with care (see above that rather wonderful page of the café where the protagonists meet) and the artist also uses various techniques to create an ambiance of warmth and intimacy, such as background-free or partly monochromatic panels focusing on a character. I must say I could spend hours looking at that detailed body language and those fancy plumes of smoke.
Both the line art and the storytelling are simply sharp and elegant, and I enjoyed that greatly.
For those of you with a knowledge of comics history, I’ll add that that Broderick’s style reminded me of Ken Steacy’s work, an artist with a unique style who worked in comics mainly in the 80s and the 90s. Here‘s an example of his work, and here‘s his website.

I haven’t written about the fact that this is an explicit erotic comic, but yes, there’s lot of sex in there–about half the pages are of naked, hot male bodies shown in various positions that monotheistic religions disapprove of. So, you know, you’re in good hands.
Even better than that, and as usual in Lazarov’s comics, the characters are seen having fun together. Even betterer than that, the guys in this comic are not Greek gods (not that I have anything against those), but simply look like reasonably fit men. Another thing that grounds this story.

Fast Friends is in my opinion an excellent book, and not only for the hot sex. I hope we’ll see more sequential art by Michael Broderick, who’d already published two illustration books, but who’s definitely made an impression on me with this graphic novel.

  1. The 60-page hardcover is published by Bruno Gmünder and is available for example at Amazon.
  2. See among lots more here for a gallery of covers and here for an analysis of the genre

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