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EVENINGS OUT

 


July 29, 2011

Evenings Out

‘Three’ two is one amazing book

One of the greatest cultural tragedies to face the LGBT community was the discontinuation, in rather short order, of both the “Curbside” and “Dykes to Watch Out For” comic strips three years ago.

After years of being steadfast friends to readers of LGBT newspapers, their absence was felt most acutely. Somehow, the levity brought to queer newspapers was no longer there, and no amount of Ethan Green or other strips could make up for it.

Robert Kirby, the sexy beast behind “Curbside,” has been far from idle, putting out his Boy Trouble volumes and his other collaborative project, Three. The second issue of Three just hit the shelves, featuring another trio of stories. However, being a horrible tease, Kirby only edited this issue, and did not contribute to it in a tangible way.

This issue’s stories consist of a ménage á trois of collaborative submissions from some top names in contemporary queer comics. The first is “Dragon” by Sina Evil and Jon Macy, then comes Jennifer Camper and Michael Fahy’s “Help Wanted,” and the volume wraps up with Craig Bostick and David Kelly’s “Nothin’ But Trouble.”

Sina Evil (whose real name, Sina Shamsavari, is so melodic it makes me plotz) and Jon Macy are a truly dynamic duo. Macy’s art is vibrant and achingly erotic, and the story of a young comic creator meeting (and bedding) his idol seems, perhaps, a little autobiographical. It’s a strangely sweet story of lust replacing love, and Macy’s art once again makes one long for the heady pre-internet days of youth when it was acceptable to masturbate to comic book art.

There is in the story a certain acceptance of reality that demarcates the line between childhood fantasy and adult expectations that is infinitely heartbreaking, and it is put forward so eloquently that it simply adds to the tragedy of the everyday.

Camper and Fahy also turn in an intriguing tale of the differences between expectations and reality, although in a very different way. A gay man learns that his sexuality is either more fluid than he thought, or the transman with whom he falls in love is far manlier than most of the men he has been with. The course of true love, however, ne’er did run smooth, and the story shows that a speed bump could really be a ramp to jump to a higher level of happiness.

Fahy and Camper are both always amazing, and the fact that Alison Bechdel is better known by the public at large than Jennifer Camper is ever so slightly tragic. Camper is not only a top-notch creator, she is also a brilliant scholar of the medium.

In the final story, Bostick and Kelly present the two sides of a one-night stand that blossoms into longing and obsession, as one draws the story from a country singer’s perspective, while the other draws from the point of view of the hustler with whom he bonds.

What could have easily been a trite tale winds up a hopeful story at the end, both in terms of the narrative and the glimpse of the stories that will be in the third issue of Three (Ed Luce’s Wuvable Oaf, Carrie McNinch and a comic jam with more than a half-dozen creators, including Kirby, Camper, Dianne DiMassa, Howard Cruse and other absolute luminaries).

If your local LGBT bookstore does not have Three, or you don’t have a local LGBT bookstore (they are an endangered species), go to www.robkirbycomics.com to order Three #2. Some copies of the first issue, as well as some of his other work, are also available.

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