Oni Press 2018
Written by Wendy Xu
Illustrated by Ryan Maniulit
Lettered b Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
It's college reunion time! Who'd have thought that it's already been fifteen years since Keg-Stand Craig and the new Dad on the block went to college? This one's like a buddy cop comedy, only there are no cops and more avoiding old flames while trying to stifle an existential breakdown, bro.
I will preface this with it’s a lot like Yaoi only done in and for Americans it’s based right off an interactive video game where you play a Dad and seduce other Dad’s. Now I’m old school and who knew there would be a market for such a game, after all seducing dad’s in real life is a lot harder than you’d think so being able to do it in a game well I think that gives off a false sense of security when attempting it. Now that I have done my old person venting duties lets get on with this show.
This is a completely cute and charming little story that in some ways reminds me of a feature film that I absolutely adored, Big Eden. The opening is fantastic as we’re introduced to Bro/Dude and former roommate and his daughter. Now I don’t know much about their backgrounds but part of what makes this work is that it engages the reader in a way you wouldn’t expect. When we see them these characters have established lives already so the reader then gets the opportunity to flesh out their pasts. So while it may not be on the same level as the game the book is still immersible and interactive.
I do like the whole overall vibe that is created here and how the ebb & flow of the story contributes to that. There are just those times where moments are created and it is up to you to decide if you will capitalise on it. I think the way that we see things reveal themselves to us and how suddenly the tension, the companionship and all the old feelings rush back to them as they try to hide them from the other. Wendy really impresses me with the writing here there is subtlety and boldness or just shyness that permeates and there are characters who are catalysts to the change that happens. All of it is wonderfully represented and yes it feels too good to be true or like something from the British Film Institute but that doesn’t diminish that wholesome feeling.
By keeping the interiors as far from Manga as possible works to it’s advantage. As does the use of an all-ages style that isn’t afraid to show a fair amount of actual detail work. Though be careful Craig’s hand when standing there naked asking for help looks like the mannequin or reference doll that was used to create it in the first place. The utilisation of page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a decent eye for storytelling. Just remember that backgrounds are our friends so let em stand out, expand the moment and the scope of the story. For the most part they are but don’t be afraid to do more.
Dadstagram heh okay that’s cute. So was the whirlwind night of unexpected romance and a little nudging from Craig’s mum the possibilities here for two dads to reunite and begin something new. Granted while New Dad has one daughter and Craig has three younger ones it would be interesting to see how this moved forward. That’s the thing though this isn’t moving forward at least not to my knowledge. I want to see what happens with these two so maybe Angel Love was ahead of her time this here isn’t and I want to finally learn his name and watch their romance grow or crash n burn.