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 begins with Michelle Gruben’s delightful book, Bits and Pieces, a collection of her Girlfiend comics, which is a series of one page comics about lesbian love and/or sex. Each comic is a distinct story, so you can only imagine how many ideas Gruben had to come up with to fill nearly 100 pages of one-page comics in this volume!!
Gruben keeps a very cool-looking website, Girlfiend Comics, where all of these stories originally appeared. The print collection is just as polished as the website. It’s always nice to see high-quality independently made comic books (as well as comic book sites).
Gruben’s art style is quite simple, but there is a real sense of charm to her style and she tells her stories well, which is important when you only have a single page to get across an entire story.
There is a good deal of sex in Gruben’s strips – always for the sake of the story, but still, there is a lot of sex and nudity. There are also plenty of strips without either sex or nudity. Since there were so many stories without sex or nudity, I figured I’d share some of those for the sample strips. I just felt it was important to note that there IS plenty of “adult content” in the collection. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this is a “G-rated” comic book, especially since Gruben has a very “all-ages” style of artwork (then again, so does Colleen Coover, so obviously that doesn’t mean anything). To wit, one story contains an ode to silicone “Silicone makes my hair soft and shiny…silicone beads feel great in my heinie” – complete with visual aid, so, yeah, be forewarned!
I’d say that the best word to describe Gruben’s work is “charming.” No matter what the theme of the story is, the stories tend to be quite charming.
For instance, here is a tale of lost love…
happily lost love…
and happily continued love…
Plus, a tale of self-discovery…
As you can see from these samples, Gruben’s stories are all over the place. In the span of a few pages, for instance, she tells of a story about love between baseball rivals and then a story about a woman falling in love with her robot! Truly, this is an eclectic collection of stories!
Up top, I noted how remarkable it was for Gruben to come up with so many different ideas for these stories, and I’ll re-state that – it is quite striking to see the variety she brings to the table, with just her genial charm being the connective tissue between the stories. Some standout stories included:
– a date between two women where both of them are just going through the motions of the date but really want to get back home and get naked – it was hilarious seeing their thought balloons contrasted with what they were saying out loud, or even the contrast in each other’s thought balloons “Woah, take it slow” “Fuck me now”. Very cute.
– An adorable story about a young teen trying to gain the favor of the most popular girl at summer camp.
– A woman in a new relationship being ill-equipped to deal with Valentine’s Day “I got you a card…and a Milky Way”
– A striking bit with women explaining what went wrong with their last relationship in four words. “Me? Gay. Her? Confused.”
– The story of the small town prom queen and her secret girlfriend
With nearly 100 stories, you’re bound to find dozens of stories that appeal to your particular senses!
This is a great collection. Recommended. Check out her website on info on how to buy this book when it goes up for sale (which should be really soon, if not already)!