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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 upcoming Northwest Press collection of David Kelly’s Steven’s Comics, titled Rainy Day Recess. This is a wonderful comic book collection and you really ought to pick up a copy when it comes out.
Steven’s Comics began as a venue for David Kelly to tell a fictionalized account of the time his mother bought him a Wonder Woman action figure when David was a kid. That story alone would make for a great mini-comic, as it perfectly captures the fears and anxieties of a gay child. The idea that simply wanting a certain kind of toy could create such turmoil is a sad (but true) statement about what it is like to grow up “different.”
The stories then continued on a regular basis for a number of years and Northwest Press is now collecting these strips into a collection (it’s due out sometime this month, I believe).
Kelly captures the ups and downs of Steven’s life beautifully. A simple, yet important, facet of this collection is the fact that while Steven goes through a whole pile of garbage for being who he is, he also has simple enjoyments the same way that pretty much every kid has simple enjoyments in life. So the balance between feeling sorry for Steven and feeling happy for his enjoyments is crucial to the power of Kelly’s work, and it makes for an excellent series of comics.
Here’s a series of strips from when Steven stays over at the home of his best friend, who seems to be very similar to Steven…
But along with this happy stuff, Steven has to deal with his mother’s relationship with a new boyfriend…
Then things get even worse when Steven and his brother end up having to live with Steven’s grandmother…
Kelly’s artwork is strong and tells the story well, but it is the story that really sells this comic. Wow, what a conveyance of emotion. Steven is such an easy kid to relate to that your heart breaks for him at times, but you also can admire him for his willingness to just keep on keeping on, as what else is a kid supposed to do?
Dan Savage wrote the introduction and he used an interesting word to describe the book, but I think it is an apt one – “beautiful.” This really is a beautiful piece of work. I’m glad that Northwest Press is collecting this comic and you would do well by picking a copy up when it is released later this month.
You can read a preview of the comic here.
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