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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:

Howard Cruse's new strip
Strugglers
Allure
Stanley and the mask of mystery
Stripped
Fan translations of Ebine Yamaji's yuri mangas

 

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Entries for October 2006:
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Sunday, October 29, 2006
Various news
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Howard Cruse's new strip


Author(s): Howard Cruse.


Howard Cruse has announced on his blog that he's launched a new strip, a very different endeavor from his previous works. Mark the Art Guy is a commercial strip for the Creative Suite 2 software from Adobe Systems, but there's the Cruse humor and the Cruse art to stop it from being a simple running ad. The art is as good as anything I've seen from Cruse, and the humor is gentle without being stupid. Definitely worth your time.
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Sunday, October 15, 2006
Review update
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Strugglers


Author(s): Tim Fish.


coverStrugglers is the revised and enlarged new version of Tim Fish's Meet Me in Saint Louie, his 2001 shortish graphic novel.
A kind of prequel to Cavalcade of Boys (also recently republished as one 550-page book), it follows Tighe, one of the main characters from CoB, as he, well, struggles with his being gay while entering college and sharing a flat with Tracey and Alison, two young women.
With now more than 100 pages (instead of 56 in the first version), Fish takes the time to develop each character, including Mike, another young gay guy who lives in the same building as Tighe, but who's already out of the closet. The new chapters are drawn in Fish's current style, which is rounder than his older style, but it seems to me the differences in style suit quite well a story which is about young adults wondering about what their life will be, and what they want it to be.
Apart from those welcome additions, this edition boasts a very good printing quality, with thick, white paper and an afterword by the author where he details what happened to his characters afterwards, as well as the winding road that lead to the current version, from what began as a personal journal but quickly morphed into fiction.
CoB's new version is also printed on good, white paper, and includes notes and miscellaneous art by the author. I'm very happy to see Tim Fish's moving and funny real-life drama collected in two books which, in my opinion, should be on every gay reader's shelf. Go to Fish's site for details about where you can buy those books.
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Saturday, October 14, 2006
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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Allure

Category: illustration.
Author(s): Robert Richards.
Year of publication: 2006.


The latest illustration book from publisher Bruno Gmünder  (available from Amazon and other booksellers) is a collection from US artist Robert W. Richards, whose realistic but varied style gives us pictures ranging from porn star portraits to elegant decadence among the handsome and muscled.

Among those almost 100 drawings are a number of scenes which look like they're stills from gay porn films. Maybe they are. I don't know the porn stars well enough to recognize them. They're very realistically drawn (but don't look like photographs, either), with warm skin colors which enhance the atmosphere of the pieces. That being said, I must admit they're not my favorites.

a porn scene a wonderfully atmospheric scene male with a softer edge

I have a soft spot for the portraits or scenes done in a rougher style, and the ones where there's a slight but interesting blurring of masculine and feminine codes in the drawings, with a use of colors judiciously placed.
I think it's a pity that this book doesn't show us more of those more atmospheric pieces, but I might be in the minority here. What's sure is that Allure is another good book showcasing a talented gay artist, and we certainly need more of that.
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Added, 10/29: Publisher Bruno Gmünder now has a semi-official blog at http://www.queer-art.blogspot.com/, with information about the books and excerpts.


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Sunday, October 08, 2006
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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Stanley and the mask of mystery

Category: humor.
Author(s): David Shenton.
Year of publication: 1983.


Coincidences are fun: I just reviewed the Stripped anthology, and it includes a strip by David Shenton, whose work was unknown to me until a few weeks ago.
Stanley in his bathroomStanley and the mask of mystery is Shenton's first graphic novel, published in 1983 by the now-defunct British Gay Men's Press. As you can imagine, it has been out-of-print for a long time, which is a real shame. Stanley is a gay man who lives in the UK and who can definitely be called a clone: he's got the muscles, the moustache, and the checkered shirt that goes with it. One day, waking up, he finds a leather mask and boots in his bed... and has no idea how they arrived there. What follows is an unpredictable romp through Stanley's days, as the author puts everything but the kitchen sink in the 56 large-sized pages of this book: we've got games, puzzles, aerobic lessons, personal ads from a gay magazine, excerpt from a children's book (ok, not the usual kind...) and lots of other wild ideas presented with a packed storytelling which creates an extremely dense reading experience (think 80's Howard Chaykin, if that means anything to you).
David Shenton's art style is as whimsical as his ideas. It seems he can draw everything, and enjoys doing so. The humor is gentle but politically relevant: a page showing public lavatories filled with guys wearing false noses and moustaches has two bobbies spying each other in the stalls as they're trying to play spot-the-queers, for example. The main character's search for the origin of the mask will lead him to an unexpected place, and reminds me of the first strip in the Howard Cruse's Wendel strips, another funny coincidence.
coverThe author has done three other graphic novels, two of which are collection of strips, with the third being a complete adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play Salomé, a 1986 full-color effort published by Quartet Books, which is worth searching for, since it's visually brilliant--and it includes an openly gay subplot implicit in Wilde's writing.
Lastly, David Shenton is currently writing and drawing a very funny and weird online gay-themed strip, Get Her!, which he intends to collect in print when it's finished.
All of these works, which are only a small part of Shenton's production over the years (as can be seen on his website), show a sensibility which seems to me to be far from the current main gay representations, and is all the more precious for it.


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Saturday, October 07, 2006
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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Stripped

Category: erotica, illustration.
Author(s): Tom Bouden, Michael Breyette, Dave Davenport, Justin Hall, Ian Hanks, Glen Hanson, Ralf König, Logan, Steve Maclsaac, Joe Phillips, Brad Rader, David Shenton.
Year of publication: 2006.


With the Stripped anthology (available from any bookseller, including Amazon), publisher Bruno Gmünder has assembled an excellent collection of illustrations and short strips by gay artists from the USA, Europe, Japan, etc. Here's the complete list of contributors:
Aru, Axel, Beau, Tom Bouden, Michael Breyette, Michael Broderick, David Cantero, René Capone, Angel de Castro, Marc Ming Chan, Dave Davenport, Marc DeBauch, Patrick Fillion, Franze & Andärle, Ted Fusby, Andrew Georgiou, E. Gibbons, Xavier Gicquel, Justin Hall, Craig Hamilton, Ian Hanks, Glen Hanson (who also drew the cover), James Huctwith, Tom Jones, JJ Kirby, Roy Klang, Ralf König, Kumoki, Logan, Roland Maas, Steve Maclsaac, Martin Meyer, Jörg Meyer-Bothling, Mioki, Allan Neuwirth, P239COM, Ralf Paschke, Joe Phillips, Sean Platter, Player, Brad Rader, Miguel Angel Reyes, Robert W. Richards, SATT, Christian Schilling, Kinu Sekigushi, Sepp of Vienna, David Shenton, Hector Silva, Douglas Simonson, Ira C Smith, S T Monkey, Gengoroh Tagame, Steve Walker & Ross Watson.
I don't even know all of them!

Michael Breyette Ian Hanks Logan Mioki David Shenton

As you can imagine, the variety of styles and ambiances is impressive. From Michael Breyette's almost photo-realistic style to Ian Hanks's rounder and very sensual work, from Logan's hairy bears to Mioki's college twinks, there's something for everyone. Themes run from graphic sex to tender scenes, from real- life to fantasy and science-fiction. I must admit I would have liked to see more comics than there is, but that's only my personal tastes--but still, we get comics by Justin Hall, Ralf König or David Shenton, among almost a dozen cartoonists included here. And anyway, a large part of the illustrations themselves have storytelling aspects and are not only exposition scenes, which is not surprising since most of them are at least erotic, which lends itself to pictures telling a story.
Those 350 pages are certainly a good primer of what's being done nowadays by gay artists, or at least by some of them--the contact and website references at the end of the book are also a very nice idea. I only hope the publisher will give us more comics/illustrations books in the near future and won't content itself with teasing us with the breadth of art presented here.
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Added, 10/29: Publisher Bruno Gmünder now has a semi-official blog at http://www.queer-art.blogspot.com/, with information about the books and excerpts.


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Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Various news
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Fan translations of Ebine Yamaji's yuri mangas


Author(s): Ebine Yamaji.


coverI don't usually link to scanned comics, but this is a special case: Ebine Yamaji, a female manga author, is completely unknown in the USA, while a number of her books have been translated in French (that's how I know them, obviously). Thanks to Dirk Deppey's ¡Journalista! blog, I've learned that a site dedicated to presenting yuri authors has scanned and translated two of her books, Indigo Blue and Free Soul.
While I have some reservations about most of the yaoi I've read (knowing I'm not the target of that genre), I absolutely love Ebine Yamaji's work: it's clearly not a fantasy for straight men (yaoi is a fantasy for straight women), and her lesbian characters feel real--there's also a strong feeling of the story not being done by a straight author. I also like her spare but emotional line and storytelling. So, go here fo the first book, and there for the second one.
Then, try to convince a publisher to do a proper English edition of Ebine Yamaji's work.
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Update 10/04: Here's the link to Love my Life, another book by Ebine Yamaji.


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