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Frater Mine
A Curbside mini
Boys Will Be Boys Extended Edition
Summer Moved On

 

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Entries for May 2007:
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Saturday, May 26, 2007
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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Frater Mine

Category: fantasy, gay-friendly.
Author(s): Sean McGrath, Juan Romera.
Year of publication: 2005-.


Matt and Colleen meet again, from issue #1Here is a gay-inclusive fantasy comic, by a gay writer and an artist I assume is straight. But that's ok. Some of my best friends are straight.
The first arc of Frater Mine (issues #1-3) is an interesting take on the classic reunion story. Matt, Jake and Colleen are old friends who haven't seen each other in years. When Jake, seemingly in trouble, calls Matt (a disgruntled high-school teacher), he and Colleen (a writer and mother of a young girl) find themselves drawn again to the orbit of their unreliable friend--a friend who'd introduced them to magic a long time ago, with Colleen not trusting him for very personal reasons.
Writer Sean McGrath has created an interesting storyline. His characters are well-rounded, and the way he integrates Matt being gay in the small group dynamic shows that it isn't the point of the character at all, just one of the facets of his personality. In fact, the integration of the main aspects of the story (lost friendship and love, the rush and danger of magic, trust and betrayal) in a convincing whole is the strong point of this comic.
Matt's life is not easy, from issue #4The fourth, and latest, issue shows Matt trying to make sense of his life in the wake of the rather dramatic events of the previous issue, and clearly sets up an important change for this character. While Jake is more or less a cypher to the readers, the down-to-earth qualities of his friends contrast nicely with that. Those qualities also complement the fantasy elements, which don't feel like pyrotechnics but rather like moments revelatory of the characters' make-up.
Artist Juan Romera has improved a lot over the three issues he's drawn (#2 was drawn by Andres Barrientos, who exhibited a more fine art-inspired style, but less mastery of it, in my opinion). He went from rather interesting to quite convincing, all the while retaining his identity, with a noir style reminiscent of early Mignola. His use of shadows and white space seem perfectly suited to a story where nothing is black and white, while his line art has become more assured and able to express emotions and body language. It's good stuff.
The series is published by Making Comics Studios, and is available from them. Issues are supposed to be published semi-annually, and I hope the authors will be able to keep their schedule, because I've already grown attached to their very human and fallible characters.


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Saturday, May 12, 2007
Various news
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A Curbside mini



Robert Kirby has published a mini-comic of his Curbside strip (I've reviewed his first two book collections, here and here). It contains a few fun strips, as well as new episodes of his old Father 'n Son strip (a very funny take on the gay son/straight dad situation, with a dad who's too understanding for the son's tastes). Hopefully, it will be a prelude to the third collection, now that Kirby has completed his current storyline. The mini is available from the author for a dollar. The address is on his blog.


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Thursday, May 10, 2007
Blog review
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Boys Will Be Boys Extended Edition

Category: illustration.
Author(s): Joe Phillips.
Year of publication: 2007.


This new collection of gay art by Joe Phillips (available at Amazon) is in fact the new version of a 2003 book, which contained calendar art done by the artist at that date. Publisher Bruno Gmünder now offers a collection of calendar art from 2001 to 2006, which means you get about a hundred drawings by Phillips, a big treat in itself.
Art from 2002With this large collection, we have the opportunity of seeing how Phillips's art has evolved over that period: it seems less cartoony and tends to photo-realism, which, depending on your tastes in art, you'll appreciate or not. What largely remains is the ambiance of the drawings: full of life and humor, focusing on friendship, love and tenderness more than sex itself, it's decidedly different from a lot of gay-specific art. Phillips also keeps on showing young men of varied ethnicities, some obviously gay, some less so.
2006 artJoe Phillips has by now firmly established himself as an important gay artist, with an optimistic point of view and lush artwork, and this book should only confirm that reputation.


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007
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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Summer Moved On

Category: illustration.
Author(s): Michael Breyette.
Year of publication: 2007.


Michael Breyette is an artist whose work has long been featured on his website and in magazines. With the 80-page Summer Moved On (available for example at Amazon), publisher Bruno Gmünder gives the artist his first book collection, which is filled with muscled hunks, alone or in pairs.
Breyette's style is realistic, though usually not photo-realistic. The vibrant hues of his characters' skin are one of his strongest features, as is his ability to portray tenderness in what often looks like porn settings, without any sex being shown. wonderful, vibrant colorsI must admit I find the men he draws to be not very varied: white, well-built, very manly, traditionally handsome. But apart from the fact that there's nothing wrong in drawing that kind of men, he does it well. All those drawings show an easiness in the masculinity offered to the eyes of the viewer, which is in fact the contrary of what a lot of modern porn seems to portray. And as I wrote above, there's a moving tenderness in the couples scenes which make up about a fourth of the book.
a tender momentThere's a rather interesting dichotomy between the far above average physical types of men drawn here and the often everyday, casual circumstances which the artist has chosen to depict. That makes for a potent brew, probably all the more effective as there's a kind of voyeuristic aspect to showing scenes where the characters are supposed to feel safe from prying eyes.
Michael Breyette's men might be a bit conventional, but the artist's eye manages to convey an inner life that makes them far more than just pretty, manly guys.


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