Monday, June 19, 2006

Fish, Fish, Fish

Tim Fish is an up and coming indie artist. He's actually been around for quite some time, but it just starting to get some of the attention he deserves.

So far his seminal work is Calvacade of Boys, a series detailing the lives of several different gay men. It's a very entertaining read. Some of it strikes home as very accurate despite occasionally falling into a stereotypical short-hand. You can really see Tim's progress as an artist and writer through the course of the series. I fully recommend it for anybody who enjoys slice-of-life comics, romance comics, and almost any gay man I think would enjoy it.

His latest release is Strugglers, which is actually an updating and amplification of an earlier work of his, Meet Me in Saint Louis. Strugglers is a prequel of sorts to Calvacade. It focuses partly on Tighe during a phase in his life when he's just graduated college and not yet fully dealt with his sexuality. It also is the story of his two roommates, Alison and Tracey, good friends and recent college graduates trying to make it in the indie music scene in St. Louis, Missouri and also dealing with the realities of post-college life.

Strugglers is very much the coming-of-age story, a collegiate Huck Finn in some ways. Although the indie music scene lifestyle of these characters is one that I don't know much about or really even relate to much, I still found myself engrossed in their story. You really begin to care about each of them and get frustrated when they don't make the decisions that are best for them. (I found myself particularly frustrated with Tighe, but that's probably my own projections.) Although this is an earlier work than Calvacade, it feels a bit more well rounded, quite probably because of the additional material that Fish has added to fill out the story more. The new material is pretty obvious because Fish's art current art style is a bit more clean and a finer line than his earlier work. The change is noticeable without being jarring and I found the comparison of styles interesting. Fish's style feels loose and bold, but is actually minimistaclly expressive and full of movement; you can feel the constant dynanism of his pages.

Strugglers might very well escape your radar, but you would be making a mistake. Even if you're not interested in Fish's exploits of gay romance in Calvacade (and you really should, it's quite good stuff), you're still certain to enjoy Strugglers if you've ever wondered what you were going to do with your life.

Fish also has a collection of short pieces he's done in Something Fishy This Way Comes, which is due out in August. Any local comic book shop retailer should be able to order it for you. If they refuse, you can order it through Fish's own website.

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