Book review: End of the Rainbow, volume 1, by Matt Cresswell and Thom Vollans

Cresswell End of the RainbowEnd of the Rainbow: Volume 1. Matt Cresswell and Thom Vollans. Lethe Press, 2014. $20. 116p. PB. 9781590214411.

End of the Rainbow is a delightful webcomic set on Manchester’s Canal Street (of Queer as Folk fame). The strip takes its name from a fictional gay bookshop that plays a central role in the lives of many of its characters. Within this light-hearted, character-driven tale of a group of queer and trans folks, members of the group can count on their friendships (and literary-themed cheesecakes baked by the bookshop’s owner) to endure whatever life has in store for them, whether it be first love, coming out, tricky family dynamics, or the loss of loved ones. The comic rarely engages in serious discussions of the issues facing today’s queer community, instead filling its panels with a celebration of friendship and all things gay.

The black-and-white sketch art adds to the charm of the comic, although it sometimes appears overly amateurish. The layout can feel crowded and perplexing, and it can occasionally be difficult to tell some of the characters apart.

This omnibus brings together the first 74 pages of the strip, along with bonus comics and notes from the comic’s two creators. A particularly fun extra is a guide to Canal Street, narrated by one of the characters, that includes a nice map of Manchester’s gay village and makes special note of places mentioned in the comic.

This lovely volume does justice to a charming webcomic and is recommended for libraries that collect graphic novels.

Jane Sandberg
Linn-Benton Community College


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