Emma Vieceli writes (with co-writer Malin Ryden) and draws the webcomic Breaks, which can be described as “what if Archie and Jughead starred in a boys’ love manga?” It’s been running for four and a half years and is still going, updating weekly.
The first storyline has been collected by Soaring Penguin Press, which is how I was introduced to the series. I was glad to meet these characters, but I found the book not quite as satisfying as I had hoped, for two reasons: The romantic promise of the series is barely established by the end of the book, and many of the incidents will be familiar to readers of teen stories.
Ian is the tall, freckled redhead. He’s a wisecracker, always with the smart remark, and dating Amilah. Courtland is newer at school; he lives with his brother Harvey, and there are rumors of some serious trouble in his past. (They’re the two on the cover.) Spencer is the local tough guy, who hassles Courtland because he won’t kowtow to him.
This is a slow burn, as the boys posture and threaten and circle each other. Most of the plot in this book revolves around someone getting beaten up, and then the question of whether he’s going to tell the authorities. It took a little for me to get used to the art, as well. It’s all sepia monochrome, which looks good on screen, but requires a bit more focus (and a good light source) when trying to read in print. The expressions are terrific, though, and the dialogue authentic. I just wished that things moved along a little more quickly. Perhaps that’s unrealistic, and the authors seem to be going for realism.