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CSBG Archive

Month of LGBT Comics – Frater Mine: Family Reunion

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books with LGBT themes (LGBT standing for “Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender”), based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Here is an archive of the comics featured so far!

The month continues with the trade paperback collection of the first (three-issue) story arc of Frater Mine, titled “Family Reunion,” by Sean McGrath, Juan Romera, Andres Barrientos, Ed Brisson and cover artists Scott McGrath and Dan MacHold.

First off, wow, what a sweet cover by McGrath’s brother, Scott. Quite awesome.

Frater Mine is about three friends who all know magic. They were as close as close could be for years until various things broke them apart. Now, sixteen years later, with two thirds of the trio in the midst of living “normal” lives, the other third of the group drags them back into the world of magic – whether they want to or not.

The three friends are named Matt, Colleen and Jake. Matt is gay, but in the first volume at least, that is just part of his personality – it doesn’t actually have an active bearing on the story itself, which is mostly about re-igniting the interest in magic for Matt and Colleen, who, as I noted before, gave up the magic life years ago.

This trade collects the first three issues of the Frater Mine ongoing series, and these three issues set-up the main series, which is about Matt re-embracing his magical abilities and, in effect, becoming a superhero for the 21st Century.

The artwork is done by Juan Romera for issues #1 and 3 and Andres Barrientos for #2. Barrientos’ style is a LOT different than Romera (and I’m pretty sure Barrientos even changes Colleen’s hair color, unless that was just a matter of shade in the Romera issues and she’s a blonde the whole series).

Romera improves by leaps and bounds from the first issue to the third.

Ed Brisson is the letterer on the series.

Here are some sample pages from the first issue…

By the third issue, Romera’s art seems much more polished. It has a Mike Mignola-esque feel to it. And, of course, when your story involves going to “the void” on a mission from Heaven itself to confront a demon, then having a Hellboy vibe to your artwork is a real plus.

While in future issues, I’m sure McGrath will focus in on the very idea of what it is means to be a “modern” superhero, this story deals more with the feelings involved when close friends that have grown apart are thrown back together. It’s amazing how quickly old patterns can be re-learned, but at the same time, old grudges don’t need to be re-learned, as they have never been forgotten. Jake is a loose cannon, the kind of loose cannon where you don’t want to be next to when he goes off. Here, he double and triple crosses all sorts of supernatural entities (and that’d even believing that the role of Heaven, which we know only from him, is for real).

This book has exemplary characterization work by McGrath, who has created complex and believable characters here that have relationships that seem like they are real people (granted, they are based on real friends of McGrath, but that doesn’t say much – it’s one thing to NOTE that someone is based on a real person, it’s a whole other thing to actually make them FEEL like a real person – McGrath pulls that off with ease).

This is a compelling series that has opened up well with this introductory storyline. And seeing as how Romera will likely only get better as time goes by, the future is bright for this series (and it’s not like the present is chump change, either!).

Click here to buy a copy of the trade.



i got up this morning and read and email from a telling me that you had said some wonderful things about “frater mine” on your website. she wasn’t kidding! you’ve truly made my week, which is saying a great deal since it’s both monday AND before noon (two things i don’t do well). thank you so much!

if your readers are interested, i have some free comics for download on my website – http://www.orthocomics.com. they’re in the right-hand column “free OC comics and stuff”. free stuff is always good. it’s why i frequent sam’s club at lunchtime.

thanks again!


Thank you, Brian, for helping introduce Sean’s work to a larger audience. From the beginning of Frater Mine, I have admired the almost off-hand realism and many of the same things you noted as far as characters and themes. I love that, just like real life, Matt happens to be gay, but that this isn’t a gay comic or even a comic about him being gay. It’s not even especially noticeable; it just…is. I love in these first books that the frustrations of teaching teenagers seem absolutely true, even though I’ve never been in such a classroom. Of course, Sean has, which helps, but again, I admire the way he draws on personal experience without it feeling autobiographical. (You did know Sean is a magician, right?) Especially, I love Matt using his magic inappropriately to punish some of the kids, completely understandably, and regrettably. I love that Matt is so human, and moral, and faulty, and confused, and passionate. I love it that Jake, his dark side, is both nemesis and best friend.
Sorry. I’m rambling. I love this work. I wish it were in color. I wish we could get him a grant so he could just sit and write comics all day. I wish he had time to make lots more Frater Mine and still put out a few Goddesses, too.

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hey brian! sean here again. i don’t know why i didn’t mention him before, but a lot of credit has to be given to ed brisson, the letterer for “frater mine”. he literally gives my words life and meaning and movement. without him, the stories wouldn’t flow as well as they do. ed is a freelancer who deserves to be a professional in the biz.



Thank you for featuring Frater Mine and bringing some much deserved attention to the work of Sean, Juan. Andres, and Ed!

Well deserved praise! Sean gives the spark of his unique personality to characters that are real and not inconsequentially gay, but it shapes the story like being gay shapes a person’s life: in a kind of, “yeah, who cares, get on with the story!” kind of way that is, by it’s unspoken nature is the strongest kind of affirmation. Sean moved back east last year and left folks like me, here in Austin, TX who had just started to really appreciate his talents as a writer, playwright and also an awesome cook, he left our mouths watering for more! When tallent like that meets equally talented graphic artists, the result is worthy of more recognition. Great review, Brian!
Sean Loraas
Austin, Tx

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