MacIsaac, Steve, Justin Hall, and Ilya. Shirtlifter #4. 2008. Long Beach, CA: Drawn, Out Press, 2011. 80pp. $12.95. ISBN: 9780979134944.
Iâ€™ve been waiting for issue #4. I liked the first two issues of Shirtlifter â€“ but I was hooked by MacIsaacâ€™s story, â€œUnpacking,â€ that started in Shirtlifter #3.
Shirtlifter #4 picks up the story of Matt, a Vancouver graphic designer just out of an eight-year relationship, and Conner, a closeted and married man from Australia via California. Matt is gun-shy because of how his ex hurt him â€“ and Conner doesnâ€™t think two men can love each other. But the sex is good so they keep seeing each other, anyway, giving the spark between them the chance to grow.
As I said in my review of the first three issues of Shirtlifter (GLBTRT Newsletter, Spring 2011), when looking at MacIsaacâ€™s work, I am reminded of Japanese gay erotic manga artist Gengoro Tagame. MacIsaac, though, creates more realistic gay men, in more likely scenarios. Still, both clearly share a taste for musclebears.
Between the two chapters of â€œUnpackingâ€ is work by two other artists. Justin Hall gives us another excerpt from his graphic novel The LiarÂ â€• Ariel is hitchhiking away from his relationships and responsibilities. Barry picks him up, and Ariel starts preparing Barry to be the next victim of his charm.
Ilya contributes seven strips from his â€œDickâ€ cartoon, which follows the course of a slow and romantic conversation over dinner and after. The humorous effect is heightened by the bright colors â€“ giving a rest from the effective but dark and saturated palettes of MacIsaac and Hall.
Reviewed by, John Bradford
Head, Automation & Technical Services
Villa Park (IL) Public Library