Month of LGBT Comics – Side by Side: The Journal of a Small Town Boy
Every day this month I’ll be reviewing a different comic book with LGBT themes (LGBT standing for “Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender”), based on submissions from the creators of the comic books themselves. Here is an archive of the comics featured so far!
The month continues with Mioki’s erotic tale of two best friends who become much more than just friends in Side by Side: The Journal of a Small Town Guy.
Warning: There is a LOT of sex in this comic, and there’s a sample page ahead with some of that sex. So be forewarned!
The first 20 or so pages of Side by Side sets up the relationship of Rick and Evan, two best friends from a small town. Rick is gay and he fantasizes about his best friend a lot. Evan is very understanding with his friend, and even “lets” him do stuff with him on occasion.
Mioki handles Rick’s coming out to Evan very nicely.
After graduation, Evan moves to the big city and eventually, after some more time being stuck in small town hell with bigoted siblings, Rick moves to the city and begins living with Evan. Once there, Evan reveals that he, too, is gay. The two then have sex and become a couple.
This takes us to roughly page 46.
The drama of the book ends around this time. Up until page 46, you have this cute budding romance between two best friends in a small town, with one friend getting out of the town and throwing a life preserver, of sorts, to his counterpart as they embark on a new journey together. It’s very romantic. You can really tell the care Mioki put into it all as Evan and Rick have anal sex for the first time and clearly reach a turning point in their lives.
The comic, though, is not 46 pages. It is 119.
Up until now, there had been plenty of nudity and sex (including some heterosexual sex as Evan makes time with all the eligible ladies in the small town), but it served the story of the two guys discovering their love for each other.
Then it basically just becomes a big ol’ porn comic.
By the way, while Mioki does good work on the character designs in general, his sex scenes have a certain stiffness to them (no pun intended). They’re not particularly fluid (as you can see, I think, in the above page).
So the rest of the comic is essentially that sample page, just obviously different positions and different partners (Evan’s friends visit him and get into the act, and then we see the escapades of Evan’s friends, as well).
There is obviously nothing wrong with a porn comic. If you are into comics where hunky men have a lot of sex for dozens and dozens of pages, this is definitely the comic for you. And yes, Evan and Rick’s scenes have more visceral impact because we ARE invested in them, but here’s my issue…
1. You can have tons of sex scenes and still have a plot
2. While we’re invested in Rick and Evan enough to care about them, there are a bunch of characters we don’t really learn much about, except that they’re having sex.
Every time a new character would be introduced, I thought, “okay, we’ll see a change in the story here,” but nope, just more sex.
In effect, I guess I would say that this is really a Tale of Two Comics – a charming romance between two friends as they move from “just friends” into soulmates and then a porn comic.
If you’re into either, then this comic is for you!
You can buy a copy of Side by Side on Amazon.com here.