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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.
   
 
The first collection.

Leonard & Larry


A series of strips, collected in four volumes, Palliard Press, 1993, 1996, 2000, 2003.
More about the fourth volume here.
A small collection was first published in Gay Comix Special #1, 1992, Bob Ross.
Those strips are included in the first volume.
ISBN: 1-884568-00-9, 1-884568-04-1, 1-884568-05-X, 1-884568-06-8.
Buy the books from Amazon.

Category: humor, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Tim Barela.
Website: http://www.leonardandlarry.com
The second collection
The third collection.

Leonard is a photographer. Larry is the proud owner of a leather shop. They live in West Hollywood. This is so... stereotyped, right? Wrong. Since 1984, Tim Barela has managed to make those two characters - and a host of others - act like real people, or at least as real as it gets in sitcom heaven.

Leonard & Larry first appeared in Gay Comix # 5, following a rejection by The Advocate, where the strip would later be housed for a couple of years, before being picked up by the Frontiers magazine which still publishes it. There, readers discovered the lives of Leonard and his lover Larry, two men in their thirties, and of already so many other characters the reprint volumes would need longer and longer introductions to keep track of all of them.
All these people interact in realistic settings, albeit far funnier ones than any found in reality. The main realistic device is the fact that the characters age. For example, Larry's two sons - yes, he'd been married before meeting Leonard - were young teenagers when we first met them. Right now, they're both adults, one of them has two kids, and the other a lover who's fathered a baby with a lesbian friend. As you can see, family, kids, and all these themes which for a long time were often missing from most gay fiction always played a big part in Barela's stories.
As for the art, it has evolved a lot, even if Barela still has a slight tendency to draw heads a bit too large for the bodies. I guess that comes from watching TV too closely. Barela is particularly adept at body language, especially face expressions (which is no small thing since most male characters are either sporting a moustache or a beard). As wordy as the strip usually is, Barela always avoids drawing talking heads.
A page from the third collection. Thematically, the stories range from funny takes on gay foibles to the various pleasures of parenthood (and grand-parenthood, since Larry has some problems with being one). Sometimes, Barela puts his characters in more whimsical situations, like the times one of them has a conversation with Brahms and Tchaikosvki, two of the favorite composers of the author - which gives him the opportunity to portrait a Tchaikosvki far less in the closet than he was during his life.

Leonard & Larry is probably the closest we'll ever get to a good gay sitcom. Not that I'm particularly fond of sitcoms in general, but whether you are or not, whether you like your men bearded or not, you'll find this strip is one of the best things that ever happened to gay funny strips.
The first strip.
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