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Steven’s Comics

“WE ARE FAMILY”
David Kelly

Review by Joe Palmer

Please note that this review was written and published on this website sometime during 2002 and the information in the last paragraph is obviously out of date.  I thought it might be nice to reprint it in advance of Northwest Press’ printing of a Steven’s Comics collection.

Steven is a blond, blue eyed kid who’s about eleven years old. You might think he’d have the perfect life. As Steven takes us through his life we find out that it’s really bittersweet. His parents are divorced; Beverley is bitter and his father is resentful; his home life is always changing. What makes Steven an interesting character to read about is that despite all the obstacles that are thrown in his path he never gives up.

Oh, and it hasn’t quite dawned on him yet that he’s gay.

Christopher is his best and possibly only friend. They sneak into Christopher’s sister’s bed room to look at her teen idol posters, watch American Bandstand together, wait in line to get Darth Vader’s autograph, and dance to Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”. On the other hand, Steven has to live with his bitter mother who finds a redneck loser for a boyfriend whom she allows to move in, and who makes life hellish for Steven. Rusty, the new boyfriend, eventually convinces Beverly to send the youngest kids off to live with their grandmother. Despite the new surroundings and strange new relatives, Steven’s life seems to take a turn for the good after moving to his grandmother’s trailer at the end of the story.

It should be easy for adult LGBT folk to relate to Kelly’s characters and story here. At one time or another we’ve all felt unwelcomed or despised by other kids in school. We’ve probably all had dysfunctional parents. And we’ve all had that first innocent crush on a friend probably without realizing what it was. What makes the story great is that Kelly writes with such charm that you’re compelled to cheer Steven through all the pitfalls in his life.

David Kelly has other comics featuring Steven. Issue #2 has early strips. Issue #4 is titled “New Best Friend”. Then there’s Steven’s Comics – Odds & Ends which is mainly strips and one-offs. Also available is an anthology comic called Boy Trouble . Issues #1 – 3 can be ordered. All About Boys, a new comic, should be out September 2002 after its debut at Small Press Expo.

January 26, 2011
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