Month of LGBT Comics - Wandering Son

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!

The month continues with Shimura Takako's Wandering Son (as translated by Matt Thorn), a poignant tale of two adolescents dealing with gender identity issues (a boy who is a girl and a girl who is a boy).

Shimura introduces us to the main figure in the first part of this series, Shuichi, as he joins a new school. As you can see, Shuichi has a unique problem...

Shuichi befriends a girl in his class, Yoshino, and as we soon learn, they have a very similar problem. Shuichi wants to be a girl while the reverse holds true for Yoshino.

Shimura brings the conflict within Shuichi's mind along so beautifully. Look at the emotion in these pages...

The tension is palatable. Eventually, Shuichi gives the dress to his sister, but he soon dreams about it...

It is astonishing how well Shimura brings things to a slow boil, until the story is bubbling with emotion. You really feel the pain that Shuichi is going through as he deals with the fact that he is, well, you know, a she. There is a real sensitivity to this work that I found extremely appealing. Shimura really captures the awkwardness of it all - the idea that these feelings that Shuichi is having, how can he possibly hope to voice them?

As noted in the book, while Yoshino's inner conflict is no less harsh than Shuichi's, it is a lot easier for Yoshino to express her changes than it is for Shuichi, as girls can have "boy" haircuts and no one really thinks much of it...

Perhaps the most intriguing player in this volume is their classmate, Saori, who has an uncanny sense of perception when it comes to their gender identity issues. Saori comes up with a plan to allow her friend Shuichi to be like a woman for a time, at least. It's quite clever and very, very adorable.

The whole book is adorable. This is a great, all ages take on a very difficult to express subject. Shimura's art has so much life to it and expresses so much emotion that it is just amazing to read.


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