Kirby, Rob, ed. Three, #1. Minneapolis: Robert Kirby, 2010. Paperback. 32pp. $6.25. ISBN: 9780615377346.
Kirby, Rob, ed. Three, #2. Minneapolis: Robert Kirby, 2011. Paperback. 32pp. $6.25. ISBN: 9780615480619.
Three is a full-color graphic anthology serial edited and published by Robert Kirby, artist/author of the comic strip â€œCurbsideâ€ and the editor of cartoon zine Boy Trouble. Once again, as with Boy Trouble, Kirby did both the editing and publishing himself, allowing him and his fellow GLBT cartoonists the opportunity to more directly reach their fans.
Issue 1, â€œDebut Issue!,â€ has stories by Eric Orner, Joey Alison Sayers, and Robert Kirby. Ornerâ€™s piece, â€œWeekends Abroad,â€ tells us of one Tel Aviv weekend in particular. The narrator, a gay American Jew in Israel on a short-term contract that keeps getting extended, escapes Jerusalem to the more lively, cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. As he wanders lost through the city, he sees its beauty and humanity and realizes Israel has become his home. The panels of this story are tinted yellow, and I was impressed with how well that worked, both to highlight the bodies in the bar and the sun on the beach.
â€œNumber One,â€ by Joey Alison Sayers, shows three women working for a yard service agency. One of them has to use the bathroom of the lady whose property they are working on, and the owner is not pleased. Sayers uses vibrant, full color for this exploration of class and culture, where the lady of the house turns out to have less social grace than the laborers.
Robert Kirby didnâ€™t just edit this issue â€“ he contributed the bittersweet â€œFreedom Flight.â€ The narrator, Drew, has a long history of fading into the background. One day, brushed off by his boyfriend, he decides to just walk, exploring his life without a partner. Eventually, he wanders back home to his indifferent boyfriend, who never even noticed heâ€™d left.
Issue #2 contains three stories, each a collaboration between two people. â€œDragon,â€ the first, is written by Sina Evil and drawn by Jon Macy. The story is of a young comic artist who, upon meeting his idol, immediately develops a crush on him. He wants to be with this man but knows he only has two days before he must return to London. That might be for the best â€“ heâ€™ll do anything to feel closer. The artwork is gorgeous, erotic without being explicit, and combines with the storyline to create a subtle air of yearning.
Jenifer Camper and Michael Fahy worked together on â€œHelp Wanted.â€ They alternated strip by strip on this fun and funny tale of Leo, a gay man who falls in love with Raoul, a Brazilian FTM. It opened up a whole new world of experiences for Leo, including parenthood.
The third story, â€œNothinâ€™ but Trouble,â€ has Craig Bostick and David Kelley each telling one side of a hustler pick-up. A country singer falls for his one-night-stand, but the hustler is strictly business. After they meet again â€“ and the hustler saves the singer from a gay-bashing â€“ they part, each realizing they canâ€™t be together, but a little wistful nonetheless.
I ordered both of these at the same time, directly from robkirbycomics.com. I canâ€™t promise youâ€™ll get the same bonus I did, but editor Rob Kirby included a quick sketch and thank you note on a post-it note. Issue #3 is due out in 2012. I recommend this anthology zine for public and high school libraries serving GLBT populations, and for academic libraries with zine, comic book, or GLBT collections.
Reviewed by, John Bradford
Head, Automation & Technical Services
Villa Park (IL) Public Library