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 Melaina’s Bewildered Bisexual, a mini-comic about her coming to terms with her shifting sexuality.
This comic is a rarity for a mini-comic, in that it is in full-color. That’s rare to see in a 12-page mini-comic.
Anyhow, this is an engaging and heartfelt examination by the writer/artist, Melainia, about how, after being a lesbian for 14 years, suddenly she found herself only attracted to/interested in dating men. This was after having a 10-year committed relationship (I can’t tell if the relationship was 10 years or if they were married for 10 years and in a relationship for even longer) with a woman.
Melaina expertly captures, well, as the title notes, the bewildering nature of her situation. She spends four pages showing various interesting theories about her situation, citing Rudolf Steiner (Austrian teacher of anthroposophy), her friend Cheryl (an astrologer), Alfred Kinsey (sexologist) and Daryl Vocat (gay activist).
Her art style is loose, but effective. She tells her story well through a strong combination of words and pictures.
However, right after telling the story of a traumatic experience during her teens with her first love (a man), the book has a bit of an abrupt turn. Ultimately, I think this comic suffers a tad from formatitis, a term I wrote about awhile back in reference to stories that seemed to be hurt by their format (you can read the full definition here, but generally speaking I mean stories that are padded because they need to fill more pages or tales that don’t have enough pages to tell the full story). You see, right after she tells the story about her traumatic experience with the guy, the book pretty much abruptly ends.
This is because, naturally, it’s a mini-comic. It’s only 12 pages long. Either she forces an ending at that point or notes in the comic itself that her story doesn’t really HAVE an ending – neither option is particularly appetizing, so it certainly is not like I blame her – it is the format, not her. Still, it ends the book on a bit of a disappointing note (the ending is basically “None of the four theories apply to me, so why bother examining this issue anymore?”). However, it is worth noting that the disappointment of the ending comes about because of the quality of the work leading up to that point – if the book was not high quality, then I wouldn’t care about it ending (you know, “terrible food, and such small portions!”). It is because I felt that she was on a real roll that the ending coming at that point seemed like running into a brick wall.
So while I would recommend this comic, I’d like to see Melaina’s work on a comic with a more standard narrative structure – she is a talented comic book storyteller, I’d like to see a full-length story from her.
Check out Melaina’s website here to see where to buy this comic (or her other comics)!