Friday, August 24, 2007

Strugglers

Tim Fish

Strugglers is a great little graphic novel from Tim Fish, creator of Cavalcade of Boys, the series of gay romance graphic novels that the author is primarily known for. Strugglers is, in fact, a prequel of sorts to the series, as one of the characters from this book (Tighe) actually moves on to become a part of the antics of that series. This particular tale, however, is self-contained, telling his story before he moves on to California, when he moves in with two female roommates in Saint Louis, Missouri, where things are a little foreign and everyone seems to be in a band. In fact, both of his roommates join bands before too long and compete with one another while Tighe struggles with his conflicting emotions about the boy next door. This is a really great book from Tim Fish. While some of his other projects are aggressively gay, this one has less emphasis on it, focusing instead on three individuals with different degrees of aspiration, struggling to find out where they fit in this world in the face of parents, relationships, careers, and each other. It's very much a slice-of-life tale that examines the short period of time when these three cross paths in Saint Louis, in a refreshing, often funny, tale that's expertly told. I wish there were more comics out there like this, and it's unfortunate, but I don't think that this is going to get much notice merely because it's from a creator that writes for a primarily gay audience. Quite a few gay comics that I've read are crap and are overpraised by the gay community. Kind of like manga magazines, who are overenthusiastic about everything manga, without really criticizing any of it. The same goes for gay comics. It's not good just because it showcases gay lifestyles. Most of it sucks, and that fact really doesn't seem to be acknowledged. But there are a few diamonds in the rough, like in any media, and this is one of them. But it will be criminally overlooked because of it's intended audience, even though it falls under the general umbrella of comics. Flipping through Strugglers for the first time, I didn't think I'd like it much, to be honest. The art didn't really grab me. But as I read it, I very quickly began to like the cartoony style of the artist and was pulled in to a great story with great characters who had fun conversations with witty banter. I hope people check this book out. It really is one of the better graphic novels that I've read in recent memory. A+

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