Tough Love: High School Confidential
This story of two boys falling in love in high school and the struggles they face was previously published as a series of minicomics by Abby Denson, and I think I preferred those to this square-bound graphic novel presentation. The art is so minimal and rough — it looks in some cases as if it was done with a Sharpie — that the book format of Tough Love: High School Confidential doesn’t show it to advantage. On photocopy paper, roughly stapled, the story looks like something the artist had to get out to serve as a message; here, it looks amateurish.
The storytelling doesn’t do anything to help that impression. Boy meets boy, boy acknowledges to himself he’s gay, boys date, boys fight homophobia, family and friends are supportive. It’s all told in mostly head shots, often straight on. The dialogue is pedestrian, the challenges predictable and overcome without much struggle.
I agree with Greg McElhatton that it would be a great book for teens. It could serve as a model, both for alternate relationships and for the idea that anyone can make comics. (That idea is supported by the list of gay resources in the back.) Find out more about Denson’s influences in this online interview.