This is the first collection of the online gay comics anthology Young Bottoms in Love. Co-editor Brett Hopkins is drawing two stories written by Jay Laird and two by Richard Ruane, which count among the most realistic of the anthology. That suits the artist's style very well, although he's capable of drawing fantasy settings, as can be seen in our collaboration.
The first story is a wry comment on the worrying obsession for "straight-acting" on the part of some gay men. In the guise of a romance story, a lot is said about the absurdity of trying to pass for straight, and the body language of the characters works as well as Jay Laird's very funny dialogue.
The second story is far darker, when the threat of gay-bashing make the main protagonist grow as a person. One of the less funny, but most valuable, of all the instalments of the anthology.
The last two stories are definitely the cutest. It begins with two shy guys who can't get around to approaching each other, imagining instead what could happen were they more outgoing. Richard Ruane manages to make us laugh with and not at the characters, despite their blunders and awkwardness, and Brett Hopkins draws twenty-somethings without having resort to tons of muscles or fashion accessories. The fact that the writer and the artist intend to reunite for a follow-up to those two stories can only delight us.
This comic, with its high productions values which make good use of the vibrant and warm colors by Hopkins himself, is a great introduction to an artist who, hopefully, will keep us entertained for years to come.