In conjunction with Prism Comics, the preeminent website for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) comics and creators, every day this month I will be detailing one good comic book/graphic novel with LGBT themes.
Here's an archive of the featured works so far!
Today we look at a graphic novel about a family divided by the topic of gay marriage.
Maria's Wedding was written by the writing team of Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir and was drawn by Jose Garibaldi. It came out about five years ago from Oni Press, soon before DeFilippis and Weird became involved in the mighty Marvel mutant world of X-Men comics.
The book details a large Italian family that had a riff over the marriage of one of the third generation sons in the family marrying another man. The man's brother said some awfully harsh things about the members of his family who did not attend the wedding, but now the whole group is together again for the wedding of another one of the third generation, and everyone is expectedly on edge.
The main protagonist of the book, Frankie Pirelli, was based on DiFilippis himself, and the problems he had with his extended family when his own brother married another man.
Frankie is a man who, to everyone else, seems to say whatever he happens to be thinking, which causes a lot of anxiety among the other members of the family. However, at the same time, Frankie tends to believe that he is censoring himself most of the time, and actually wants to say even MORE than what he says.
The best part of the book is clearly the characterizations that DiFilippis and Weir come up with for the family members. There are a LOT of characters to get through in less than ninety pages, and Garibaldi draws them all looking fairly similar (as they ARE all related, after all), yet by the end of the book, you not only feel like you know all the characters, you feel as if you can almost predict what will happen next for them. That ability to present such a vivid portrait of people is a great skill.
Garibaldi's art style is fun and loose (just look at that cover!), but he manages to get across emotions well, which results in a pleasant read.
The topic of familial acceptance for an "out" member of the family is a tough one to deal with, and DiFilippis and Weir handle it with dignity, realism and a whole lot of heart (and some laughs, for good measure!).
Here is a five page preview of the book...
You can order the book from Oni Press here. Be sure to check out DiFilippis and Weir's website here, especially where they talk about Maria's Wedding. You'd be surprised at who got very angry at DiFilippis over the book.