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Curbside


An ongoing series of strips.
This first collection of 80 pages was self-published in 1998 by Robert Kirby.
ISBN: 0-9663241-0-2.
Buy from Amazon.
The second collection has been published in October 2002.

Category: autobiography, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Robert Kirby.
Website: http://www.curb-side.com/.


Curbside is Robert Kirby's life - and his friends', too. Or so it seems. I don't know him, so I can't say for sure. What I can say is that it's funny, often sexy, and not as shallow as one might think at first sight.

Kirby chronicles his relationship with his lover, the hours spent hanging out at the local bar chatting with friends, but also mainstream gay fads (for which he finds clever parodies) or his insecurities, without making himself look like a loser. We laugh with him rather than at him. The life of these gay 20-somethings, their loves, their friendships, all of that is staged with warmth and humor.
Kirby draws himself in a very cartoony way, but his friends and passing strangers are portrayed in a slightly more realistic way. This objectification of some of the people in the strip (particularly the cuter ones) makes me think that Kirby knows that he can only imagine other characters' motivations and lives, while his own life is an open book in which he chooses some chapters for representation. And as Scott McCloud asserted in Understanding Comics, the more cartoony the drawing is, the better the reader identifies with the character. So, yes, we do identify more with Kirby-as-a-character than with anybody else in the strip.

Kirby, who also co-created the 'zine Boy Trouble, is among the numerous artists who are working on slice-of-life comics. But among gay strips, it's still rare that a creator chooses his own (probably fictionalised) life as a subject. Curbside shows us that gay strips can succeed while blending reality with humor.


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