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Side by Side

Buy from Amazon.
A 120-page hardcover, Bruno Gmünder, 2008.

Category: erotica.

Author(s): Mioki.

Writer/artist Mioki was one of the better surprises of the 2006 anthology Stripped, and a number of people asked me if I knew whether he'd done anything else--I didn't. So, I'm glad to say that he now has, with this thick graphic novel showcasing the two teenage characters introduced in Stripped.
Rick (the dark-haired one) and Evan (the blond one) are childhood best friends. Rick is gay, decides to tell straight stud Evan...who's not fazed in the least, not even when Rick adds that he's in love with him. They do fool around, but after finishing high school, Evan decides to leave their small town, and Rick is left holding his dick--literally. Fortunately, that's only the beginning of their story.
Side by Side is a charming and sexy blend of real-life situations (Rick doesn't have it easy with his family) and porn settings (Rick has sex with other men in various places, including a conveniently empty locker room), with stunning art and colors. Extremely realistic and detailed, Mioki's style brings a timeless quality to the story, which is firmly set in the present. His men are classically handsome in the Hollywood mode, and the shaded, flat colors add a lot to the thin, assured line of the artist.
The most noticeable aspect of the book is the numerous sex scenes, where the characters enjoy themselves and each other, and that will probably help sales. But another aspect which I enjoyed even more is the light and gently self-mocking humor, for example with Evan and Rick exchanging barbs, or the illustration of the difficulties of intimacy with two guys squashing little Cupids with swats. It seems to me that this kind of thing adds to the realism of the characters and shows that the author doesn't take himself too seriously.
Side by Side is the kind of book you buy because the art looks great and there's lot of sex, but then come back to because there's a strong sense of fun and the characters are engaging. The author is working on the continuation of Rick and Evan's story, so let's hope this book will sell well enough to give us the pleasure of reading more of Mioki's work.

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