The Times I Knew I was Gay
By Eleanor Crewes
Published by Good Comics
This is not going to be an average review.
I usually take notes about a comic as I read. I have a terrible memory and I find that I remember the moments and story beats better this way.
This time I didn’t.
I’ll be honest and admit that I found writing this particular review a challenge. For those that don’t know me, I am a forty-something man. I am heterosexual. I can’t draw a stick figure and I didn’t go to University. So the world that Eleanor describes is completely alien to me. The world I grew up in was a very different experience. The events, affairs, fashions and feelings are often unfamiliar to me, a man who grew up in a less diverse and altogether more judgmental period.
So as I read, I purposely put my pen down and concentrated on what was in front of me and figuring out what the creator was really communicating.
But, I came away having learned a lot. I came away with an understanding of the life that Eleanor so cleverly describes and that of gay women in general. I also found this comic a hugely heart warming experience.
Suddenly, I’m struck by the feeling that I am walking on egg shells. I feel like some people might say that I am not allowed to describe my old grumpy bastard feelings about this comic. But I remind myself that the creator has made a comic for everyone. For those who feel the same way possibly as she does and for those who need to understand how others may feel. And that is me.
And yes, I think I do understand a bit better.
Not fully understanding this lifestyle has not stopped me realising that this is a very well executed comic. It has smart and real dialogue. It has moments of really touching drama and moments of fun.
(I’m not a hundred percent sure how Tinder works but it did make me laugh as Eleanor turned it off!)
The art has a sketchbook quality that seems to be done with a purpose stylistically. The time passes in the narrative with cunning, as you jump along and occasionally back and forth in the creators life.
Eleanor makes use of white stark backgrounds on a lot of the pages to emphasise the loneliness of the situation. The faces and movements of the characters are done with a smile that rises up off the page to the reader.
This is a highly recommended read.
Do you know what I am most proud of? I’m most proud that comics exist. And amongst these comics are books that will educate us. Like this one.
Nicely done, Eleanor – and nicely done, Good Comics.
• Eleanor Crewes is online at www.eleanorcrewesillustration.co.uk
Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer – his hips don’t lie.
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