Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
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 first issue of Tough, by writer Alex Woolfson, penciler Vitto and colorist Vincent Lee (with a painted cover by Winona Nelson), a story about a teenager who faces the perils of peer pressure when he gets caught up in a group of guys about to do some gay-bashing.
One thing that drove me nuts this whole issue is who does Vitto remind me of, art-wise? I think I’m going with Dan Jurgens inked by Bill Sienkiewicz – that interesting mixture of clean lines and still sort of a grainy edge to it all.
Anyhow, this story opens with a teenager being “vouched for” by his friend as they try to hang out with some other kids. Soon, it becomes evident that their plan for the evening involves harassing gay kids…
Woolfson does an excellent job quickly developing the personalities of all the other guys before we get into any gay-bashing. It’s one thing to just have the other guys just be GAY BASHERS, but by first developing their personalities a bit, you can make the dilemma facing the protagonist, Mike, even greater, since we can see the sort of charisma that exudes from “cooler” kids when you’re a teen.
Then they begin “just scaring” a kid, and Mike thinks things have gone too far…
You can really feel the tension and the strength of courage that it took for Mike to stand up to his friends.
Woolfson and Vitti follow this with a satisfying release after the tension and fret of the previous pages. In the end, this issue mostly amounts to an elaborate “meet cute” story for Mike and his new friend, Rob, but boy, what a meet cute!
This was really well done.
You can buy a copy here (you can also check out a ton of more preview pages there). I’ll probably review Tough #2 before the month is up (since the two issues are different enough, I think).
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