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!
Today we take the debut issue of Ned Hugar's fun series about a guy who illegally keeps bees in his apartment in the city. That's just the backdrop for basically a character-based series about a guy (Will) and his friends and their various misadventures. It's a well-told story with a nice group of compelling characters.
First off, Hugar has a great art style - his characters are extremely expressive, which really helps sell his brand of comedy, which involves a nice mixture of character-based stuff as well as over-the-top almost slapstick.
Our introduction to the main character, Will, is done quite well...
Hugar derives some strong comedy out of Will's upbeat attitude...
But here's some of the more slapsticky stuff, as Will sees someone he wants to avoid.
That was some really strong comic storytelling there. It reminded me a lot of Kyle Baker's work (which is a great compliment, since Baker is AMAZING). The design work also reminds me of Paul Pope.
We meet the next friend in the group where we see what Will does with the honey he produces with his bees...
Will's friends are compelling enough characters that they have their own plots in this debut issue (I think Hugar is calling it a #0 issue). Hugar has developed them all well enough that their interactions flow naturally and a great deal of humor is derived just from the straightforward banter you'd expect from a group of friends.
In this issue, Will re-connects with an old boyfriend, and wonders whether his secrecy over his beekeeping is keeping him from developing a real HUMAN relationship. It's an interesting and recurring theme throughout the issue about how Will identifies with his bees, probably too much so.
This is 36 pages of full-color, which is a rarity in the world of independent comics. I wonder, though, since this is a #0 issue, whether the beekeeping stuff will become even more prominent when the series "really" begins, which I think would be a bit if a shame. Hugar has developed a very interesting cast, and while the whole bee angle with Will is intriguing and is an interesting backdrop for the series, I like it better as a backdrop to their lives rather than the forefront of it all.
That, though, is worrying about something that hasn't even happened yet, so that's probably silly of me. I should just appreciate this quality comic for what it is, a quality comic with good characters, great art and a lot of good humor.
Check out Hugar's page here to buy a copy (you can buy an online copy for just a buck!).