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Turnover


A 100-page anthology, The Institute for Gay Men's Health, 2006.
Available from the publisher as a print copy, or as free multiple pdf files.

Category: aids, autobiography, fantasy, humor, slice-of-life.

Author(s): Gary Gregerson, Colter Jacobsen, Steve MacIsaac, Glen Hanson, Allan Neuwirth, Patrick "Pato" Hebert, Victor E. Hodge, Enzo Ybarra, Drub, Jason Guillermo Luz.
Website: Publisher's download page. 0 comment - add a comment.

Panels from Luz's story

It's not everyday a major actor in the fight against AIDS publishes a collection of gay-themed comics. Well, here's a very varied collection from The Institute for Gay Men's Health, a collaboration between AIDS Project Los Angeles and Gay Men's Health Crisis.
Centered on HIV prevention, this large-format, very well printed volume is edited by Jaime Cortez, no stranger to comics since he's drawn Sexile, a real-life story about a transgender Cuban woman who travels to the USA (available as a pdf file from this page).

We find some well-known names in this anthology: Glen Hanson & Allan Neuwirth give us a slice of their Chelsea Boys series, where one of their main characters gets into a sexual rampage. As the rest of the series, it's rather light-hearted, but never stupid. And we have the pleasure of seeing the art in black & white. Then, there's Steve MacIsaac, of Sticky fame, who writes and draws a double narration story, with two men having sex while we see the inner thoughts of the one being fucked. He thinks of being safe, being so worried about something happening that when a disaster strucks, it's almost a relief... Not light stuff, and MacIsaac does it really well, with a matter-of-fact tone that works very well in this situation.
Victor E. Hodge, who's the author of the series Black Gay Boy (it's quite good, and I like what I've read, but since I haven't been able to find more than a few issues, I haven't reviewed it yet), also offers a few pages of his work, in which a friendship is found between two black gay males, one of whom wishes for something more. It's nicely told and has a real-life vibe to it. The last artist I'd already heard of is the one using the pen name Drub, whose site shows his "horny homo punk trash art", as he calls it himself. In Turnover, he writes and draws a very funny and irreverent story of three unlikely friends (a punk, a three-piece suit guy, and a skater) fighting against a virtual porn baron with a sinister agenda. Drawn in a clean style with regular storytelling, this is a fun but clever satire of today's mores.

The other contributions to the book are also strong, and varied enough to be of interest to many people: Gary Gregerson & Colter Jacobsen tell the life of the narrator of this very realistically-drawn story, from his childhood to his adult age, through self-loathing to acceptance. A classical story, told with a wry humor and an openess that makes it work. Enzo Ibarra gives us an autobiographical story about losing a close friend, drawn in a photographic style, looking more like illustrations than comics - as does Patrick Hebert's story, a poetic text almost without image. Last is Jason Guillermo Luz with a story powerfully told in small, numerous panels with an almost naive, iconic style and a very repetitive storytelling showing a young man fed up with his routine who goes to a bar to find companionship. Very, very good comics, in my opinion.

As you can see, Turnover is a good collection of thematically-unified stories with extremely varied styles and point of views. I wish we'd get more anthologies of that quality, even though we have to keep in mind this one was published to fight a disease which seems to be taken for granted in the Western world, while it keeps killing more and more people worldwide.

Drub shows the consequences of virtuality
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