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Zane & Tyler #1

Chayne Avery
Russell Garcia
Boy Meets Hero Comics
$3.99 (24 pages) POD/IndyPlanet
$2.99 Ebook/Lulu

Review by Joe Palmer

The Boy Meets Hero guys venture into the comedic slice of life genre in Zane & Tyler #1, or more accurately: The Wacky, Random, & Fantabulous Adventures of Zane & Tyler. So yes, lots of wackiness but there’s also an emphasis on mature here because this isn’t Kevin Keller in Riverdale! Then add a light touch of soap opera. Here’s the
premise: 22 year old, recent college grads and self proclaimed geeksters (comics, Star Wars and sci fi) Zane MacKenzie and Tyler Delgado are best friends since they met in college (just look at them arms around each other on the cover!) who share an apartment in Albuquerque. They also work together at a local bookstore and make trips to the comic shop together! In fact, people see them together so much they understandably think they’re lovers. The fact that aren’t lovers and best buds instead is a dynamic that provides tension and laughs. Zane can’t seem to find another gay guy, let alone one who meets his very specific geek requirements for dating and Tyler always manages to say the wrong thing to his…girlfriends. Maybe they should be lovers because they complement each other in every other way. It isn’t like Zane would turn down Tyler…but Avery and Garcia threw in a nice twist that complicates the possibility of a romantic relationship: Tyler also thinks of Zane like the brother he doesn’t have. In their “origin story” we learn Zane was thinking anything but brotherly thoughts when the guys literally run into each other late one night on the college quad. No spoilers but I will say it’s sweet and sexy and involves public nudity, stealth, and comics!

Here’s the main quality that I like about this new book and the characters: Avery and Garcia infuse Zane and Tyler’s characters with a tone of playfulness that’s very appealing. Not that their Boy Meets Hero stories are devoid of either humor or playful antics between its two male leads. Maybe Garcia and Avery are simply having a bit more fun and cutting loose themselves working in a different genre. Maybe I simply want a comic with a gay character(s) or theme that entertains even while poking at gay and straight tropes, a story where the characters or plot doesn’t hinge on some tragedy or abuse or have much angst. Sure, Zane and Tyler are a little stressed out when prospective relationships go bust, but they get over it and get their geek on. Plus, these guys are incredibly loyal and supportive of one another when things don’t go as hoped. Tyler’s there for Zane when he learns hot geek Diego didn’t work out. He knows Zane so well he already knows why Diego isn’t “Mr Right” (a point of contention I’ve seen with gay and straight geeks no less). Tyler’s half irritated and half admiring reaction is classic! Zane is there for Tyler, encouraging his upcoming drummer gig (even offering to loan Tyler his – ahem – rubber shirt), rounding up moral support at the gig with coworker Zoe (herself seriously crushing on Tyler and is really quite likeable), and offering his – ahem – services to poor Zane in his tightie whities after new girlfriend Brittany becomes former girlfriend just as they’re getting really intimate. Playing Street Fighter would never be the same if only. Zane really shows his love for Tyler in the closing scene when he surprises Tyler with a six pack of cream soda (it’s another part of their origin story!) and an elusive first issue!

Certainly the art style here in Zane & Tyler is similar to their previous work though a bit looser and perhaps sharing a tad sensibility with Archie comics house style. We’ll never see Kevin Keller having sex though unless you create some slash. Can you imagine the outrage of One Million Moms over that? I digress though I can’t help but imagine that Kevin might have a little fun with Zane before getting married to Clay Walker. The bedroom scene with Zane and Diego is funny and hot in a four color way. Brittany is all too predictable and flat as a character, and yes, that’s the point being made. If more girlfriend mishaps are planned for Tyler I think it would make an interesting turn if one was, say, a little too GGG with cos playing rather than celebutant vain and shallow.

On one hand, Zane and Tyler seem made for each other. On the other hand, the idea that a straight guy and a gay guy can be such best buds without being lovers is really appealing. And there’s the dilemma for me as a reader: should they stay friends or should they become lovers? We’ve seen this situation a hundred times before where the magical spark between a straight man and woman disappears shortly after sexual tension is altered or removed from the dynamic. Will they? Won’t they? Will they? Stop! Just make another issue already!

Like Boy Meets Hero on Facebook and visit the Boy Meets Hero site.

Buy a print copy from Indy Planet or a PDF version from Lulu.

March 7, 2015
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