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Just So You Know #1

Joey Alison Sayres
$5
Self-published

By Roberta Gregory

This is a very funny collection of short comics stories about life as a transgender woman. The style of cartooning is very simple but accomplished, with good layout, and excellent comic timing. And the characters are drawn with simple “happy face” faces accessorized by variations in hairdo, glasses, facial hair, etc., which makes them very easy to tell apart.

As Scott McCloud has pointed out in Understanding Comics, the more iconic and simple a cartoon character, the easier the average reader can identify with it. And there is much to identify with, even though the situations in this collection look specifically at transgender life, dealing with family and strangers, coming to grips with the situation oneself, taking hormones, changing one’s ID, etc. But, the short stories are told with humorous scenarios that everyone can relate to: overreacting to an imagined offense, “coming out” and discovering that people are likely to respond in an entirely different way than you had anticipated, and what you yourself think is important may not be the most important thing to someone else.

The humor has a very disarming quality. There is even a series of stories under the category, “Am I a Bitch Yet?” in which the author pokes fun at herself more than anyone else in the comic.

The comic looks at a wide range of situations faced by a person transitioning in today’s culture, taking the reader through the steps of going officially from Male to Female. The various stories are not presented exactly in the order that someone would go through in such a change, so this might be confusing to a reader who is not at all familiar with the process.

It is a good quality small press publication, with color cover and black and white interior. The comic even contains a glossary at the end to clear up some of the confusion about the terms used in gender reassignment. Its reader-friendliness makes it the perfect gift for any friends or family members of someone living through gender change—humor is an excellent way to educate people and get a message across.

Please visit Ms. Sayres’ website. Issue #1 appears to be sold out. Copies of the second issue and “Stupid Dreams”, a 165 paged collection of comics strips, are available.

Ms. Gregory’s review appears here courtesy of the author and Prism Comics. My sincere thanks!

September 5, 2017
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