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Best of 2022: Young Men In Love

Joe Glass and Matt Miner editors
Contributors listed below
Pete Carlsson book designer
A Wave Blue World

A Queer Romance Anthology

Kevin Wada’s stunning cover illustration to this anthology should be enough to draw attention to the quality contents in between the covers. The title is a clever riff on a couple old DC romance comics that were told sometimes happy often sad stories offering usually twisted platitudes about love and relationships to young girls and women of yesteryear.

What’s on offer here are fresh takes on romance stories featuring queer men in a variety of settings – spies, knights, ghosts, a fairy encounter at summer camp, elemental beings in love, pirates (who doesn’t love gay pirates after Our Flag Means Death?), slice of life, and more! With twenty stories by more than thirty creators there’s plenty to sample and enjoy by both familiar creators and others new to you. The variety does not stop there! The male bodies shown throughout come in a delicious and sexy range of shapes and sizes. In these stories you’ll find men of color and a range of backgrounds and circumstances from which they all come.

To find an anthology in which all the stories are centered on the theme of male romantic love is quite a wonderful treat especially since the topic often takes a back seat to action at least when it comics to superhero comics. The heart and enthusiasm of the creators for the project really shines through in their stories and Young Men In Love is one of the rare anthologies that I find every contribution to be enjoyable and satisfying. Of course queer men can’t be shoved into a “one size fits all” category and other readers may find a contribution falls short for them. Much of the appeal for me lies on the romance theme itself as I’ve find myself looking for more queer romance media to consume – something which I hope you, dear reader, understands is a pro intimacy desire and not an anti-sex attitude.

The Treasure Map to My Heart by Oliver Gerlach and Daryl Toh

Singling out one story in this anthology isn’t fair to the other nineteen but there is one in particular I’d like to mention. Another Name by Ned Barnett and Ian Bisbal is a story of a person realizing and coming to accept they’re a trans man. Its autiobiographical nature and Barnett’s sincere, soul searching questions as relayed through the protagonist are why the story caught my attention. The narrative also brought back memories of a similar situation a friend experienced some years ago. The way Barnett and Brisbal were able to convey so much emotional impact into a few pages is quite an accomplishment.

Young Men In Love is a sharp looking book thanks to the design work of Pete Carlsson. For starters the covers have French flaps. It’s a design element that elevates the book’s aesthetic from an average trade paperback to something special. It’s a sign that publisher A Wave Blue World believed the project was worthy of the extra production cost. Here’s an example of a book with French flaps. A simple grid panel layout featuring character headshots from the stories make the table of contents and opening pages into an exciting visual tease while a couple pages of concept art closes out the book. Carrying over the cover’s fireworks theme to illustrate story break pages is a nice touch as well.

Act of Grace by Anthony Oliveira and Nick Robles

Young Men In Love made for a satisfying read while at the same time left me wanting more! A new Young Men In Love collection every year sounds like a great tradition to start! Young Men In Love was recently nominated in GLAAD’s Media Awards Outstanding Original Graphic Novel/ Anthology category!

A Wave Blue World

Love Yourself by Joe Glass and Auguste Kanakis

Young Men In Love creators:
Second Star to the Right: Tate Brombal and Jacoby Salcedo
The Treasure Map to My Heart: Oliver Gerlach and Daryl Toh
Living: Terry Blas and Bradley Clayton
My Personal Super Scout: Josh Cornillon
Theater Kids: Dave Ebersole, Robert Ryan, and Vincent Batignole
Another Name: Ned Barnett and Ian Bisbal
Catch Me: Nico Vasillo
Long Day: David M Booher and Vic Regis
Act of Grace: Anthony Oliveira and Nick Robles
What Do I Get: Matt Miner, Ian McGinty, and Bradley Clayton
Meet Brute: Chris Sebela and DJ Kirkland
The Way Home: Paul Allor and Lane Lloyd
Thingaversary: Sina Grace
Love Yourself: Joe Glass and Auguste Kanakis
Big Man: Hamish Steele
Dancing on the Wind: Rich Douek and Chris Shehan
Tyrone & Jamal: Greg Anderson Elysee, David Brame, and Vincent Batignole
Bright Idea: Charles Pulliam-Moore, Dennis Yatras, Daryl Toh
A Bard’s Beloved: Jarrett Melendez and Josh Cornillon
Patelito: Little Corvus
And a special shout out to Lucas Gattoni as the letterer for every story!

January 31, 2023
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