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"In general, I think chubby guys are sexy. There's more of them to hug!" Andrew French, Circles.
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June 19, 2010: I've launched a new version of this website as a Wordpress blog. This version won't be updated anymore.
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.
   
 

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On this page:

Sam Kieth's Zero Girl
Love #2
Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather
Dangerous
Howard Cruse's Swimmer
The Magic If
Xeric Grant for Tales of the Closet
At last, Havoc Inc. #10

 

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Entries for May 2004:
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Saturday, May 22, 2004
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Sam Kieth's Zero Girl

Category: coming-out, fantasy, gay-friendly.
Author(s): Sam Kieth.


Zero Girl: Full Circle is the second volume of Sam Kieth's story of circles, squares, and the highly metaphorical role they play in the characters' lives. In the first volume, Amy, a high school girl, fell in love with Tim, an older guy working at her school. Her problems with squares, which scared her, and circles, which protected her, were dealt in very weird and very moving ways by the author. In this new volume taking place 15 years later, Tim has a teenage daugther named Nikki, his wife (things didn't work out between him and Amy) is dead, and he calls Amy for help when Nikki shows strange mind-control powers linked to shapes.

Nikki unconsciously flirting with AmyAll this sounds like yet another fantasy story, but in the hands of Sam Kieth, Nikki's powers are clearly a metaphor for her coming-of-age, and her love/hate relationship with a young lesbian friend of her quickly puts her personality into perspective: Nikki refuses to face reality, whether it is her mother's death, or her own closetedness, even to herself.Nikki's mom... dead, but squarely in the middle of things
Sam Kieth has often shown he can write very interesting female characters, and his willingness to let his The Maxx characters be used in the now-defunct Gay Comix series had already proved he was sympathetic to gay & lesbian issues. But this time, he writes a believable young woman whose sexual orientation is no more and no less a part of her growing-up pains than the rest of her life.
The way he manages to blend those very real questions with his brand of quirkiness (as much in his art as in the story itself) is another proof of his talent: like all good fantasy stories, Zero Girl: Full Circle says a lot about the real world by building a more exciting, but also more dangerous imaginary world.

The trade paperback of this 5-issue mini-series is available everywhere, including from Mars Import.


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Review update
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Love #2


Author(s): Matt Fagan.


CoverMatt Fagan has published the second issue of his strip Love (available on the author's site), continuing the unending battle of lovers Jack and Pokie against their archenemy, Lack of Money and its minions, No Gas and No Electricity.
Well, I'm slightly misleading you there. While the author and the characters obviously like and know fantasy comics (there's a very funny strip with Jack & Pokie as Akbar & Jeff, and a pin-up inspired by a Fantastic Four cover), the story is still very much steeped in real life -which does include the perils of lack of money, after all.Jack and Pokie enjoying life
The warmth and love between the two main characters we'd witnessed in the first issue is still as strong as ever, and the addition of secondary characters like a punk singer friends with Jack, as well as a very weird straight neighboring couple, makes for more interaction in the strip and allows for more character development.
The storyline itself is also more ambitious, since those new characters, as well as the homeless guy from the first issue, are now part of Jack & Pokie's life, and their own stories make the strip denser. Matt Fagan seems to have decided to open up the cosy but small universe of Jack & Pokie, thus eliminating the risk of going around in circles.
Love can now only go forward and I can't wait to see where that will take us.


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Sunday, May 16, 2004
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather

Category: adventure, gay-friendly, humor.
Author(s): Howard Zimmerman, John Severin.


Much maligned when it was published by Marvel last year, Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather has been a good surprise for me. Written by TV-writer Ron Zimmerman and drawn by veteran artist John Severin (who worked on the original incarnation of the character in the 50's), this comedy takes place in a believable Western setting, visually speaking. Severin may be in his eighties, but he's still a great draughtsman, and the faces of the characters, the backgrounds, the clothes... all that lends a weight to the fairly light story.
A bunch of bad guysOf course, what made the news when the 5-issue mini-series (available from Mars Import as a trade paperback) was published was the way the Rawhide Kid was to be portrayed: as a rather precious gay guy always impeccable dressed. The story uses lots of the clichés of the genre : as any other Western hero, Rawhide Kid rides into a small town at the beginning, and quickly finds himself embroiled in a fight between a (rather helpless) sheriff and a gang of bloodthirsty outlaws. He becomes friends with the sheriff whom he finds very attractive, flirts heavily with him (but alas, to no avail), and gets an instant admirer in the person of the sheriff's son who thinks his father is a coward. The Kid will play psychologist for that family, and of course, will help defeat the outlaws.
The Kid showing his stuff to a clueless sheriffSo, the interesting part in this series is not really the story, which is predictable. In my opinion, it's how the portrayal of the Rawhide Kid manages to combine lots of very funny innuendo (see image at left) and a questioning of traditional masculinity with a tough guy attitude which, ironically, makes the Kid the personal hero of all the town boys. The adults might not know what to make of a straight-shooting (pun intended) dandy, but the sheriff's son does: he wants him as a father.
While its tongue is firmly stuck in its cheek, this mini-series does in fact tackle serious themes, and casually subverts a few given of Westerns - even if in this case, it is done in a anachronistic way. I'm not sure the Rawhide Kid will be back any time soon in this incarnation, but I wish readers had more of a sense of humor. Positive portrayal of non-butch gay characters is rare in general audience works, and if only for that, Rawhide Kid: Slap Leather must be commended.


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Saturday, May 15, 2004

Dangerous



I'd missed this new gay erotic anthology from Radio Comix when it was published last summer. So, here is a review of Dangerous, a varied romp through gay fantasies from a group of female artists, including Daria McGrain, who seems to enjoy that kind of thing very much.

 


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Saturday, May 08, 2004
Blog review
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.

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Howard Cruse's Swimmer

Category: gay-friendly.
Author(s): Howard Cruse.


Howard Cruse has a new book out, and it's a very different one from Wendel or Stuck Rubber Baby.
Firstly, The Swimmer with a Rope in His Teeth (Prometheus Books, 2004. ISBN: 1-59102-181-2) is not a graphic novel, but an illustrated book, from a story by Jeanne E. Schaffer, an old-time friend of Cruse.
Secondly, there's nothing gay in there, but there's plenty of food for thought.
The Swimmer is a fable, I'd say for adults not because of violence or sex, but because there's no clear-cut morality in this tale.
One of Howard Cruse's illustrationsIn a land divided by a very large river, one bank is home to the Land of Good and Happiness, the other one to the Land of Evil and Woe. A man from the Land of Good decides to swim across and bring a long rope to the other side, so that the unfortunate inhabitants of that side can also cross the river. What happens next reminds us that fables don't need to have a happy ending to be enriching -in fact, it's often the contrary.
Cruse's work on this book has a timeless quality, thanks to the woodblock-like style he's adopted. It is well suited to the atmosphere of the story, which does not take place in a specific time period. It's always interesting to see an artist deciding to change his style for a particular story, and these spare and elegant illustrations are another proof of Cruse's talents.
You can order this book from any bookshop, or directly from Howard Cruse. Take some time to visit his site, he's just largely updated it.


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Sunday, May 02, 2004

The Magic If



Cover by Martin RedmondAs promised a few weeks ago, here is my review of Craig McKenney and Gervasio's The Magic If.
Leaving the fantasy elements of magic for the real-life show-business of vanishing turtle doves and sleight of hands, this story is firmly set in reality and in the difficulties of facing one's shortcomings, professional as well as personnal.
A very promising first comic.


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Saturday, May 01, 2004
Various news
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Xeric Grant for Tales of the Closet



Cover for the sixth issueIvan Velez has received a Xeric Grant for the publication of a collection of his series Tales of the Closet. The Xeric Grant is intended for self-publishers, and other queer artists like Justin Hall (A Sacred Text) and Dennis Tucker (Tales from Birdbun Theatre), among others, have already received such grants. Tales of the Closet is an unfinished series begun at the end of the 80's, which Velez now intends to finish in collection form.
You can find more about the series here.
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Various news
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At last, Havoc Inc. #10



Cover for issue #10At last, the 10th issue of the very entertaining series Havoc Inc. will be out in July. We've been waiting a long time for what will be the last part of the current storyline. If you pre-order your comics, you can do so for this issue with the May issue of the Previews magazine.


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