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Welcome to a new series, Webcomics Wednesday, in which I review comics of feminist interest. Most of these will be queer youth focussed because that is how my taste in webcomics runs. If you’re not familiar with webcomics, they’re essentially serialised comics posted on the web, generally published one to three times a week.

Blue by Patricia Grullon (sadTakara)

Blue begins when Chris finds a mysterious young woman collapsed in garbage outside her front door. Chris looks after her for the night and they part ways the next morning. A month later, Chris can’t stop thinking about her. And then the stranger turns up outside her door again, this time to stay.

Firstly, Blue is worth reading for a rare quality: its positive, rounded focus on young queer characters. Laci is a bubbly teenager with a few things on her plate and a fair bit of insight into Chris. Chris isn’t sure of herself, but she’s doing her best for them both. And they’re just gorgeous together. We barely see characters besides Chris and Laci, which gives us a chance to settle into knowing them and their relationship slowly and well. (Although I hope we get to meet Gabby again.) Grullon doesn’t have to use flashy characteristics, she lets impressions and facts gradually build up, which is refreshing.

But it’s not only the storyline that has something to say. Laci and Chris start off with cookie cutter skinny bodies and faces. As the comic progresses, the characters move from generically pretty to gorgeous and individual. Laci is drawn as positively chubby starting in Chapter 2; I remember reading that this was always intended but not initially realised. Comic characters are so often visually interchangeable; this is part of a unique style that does Patricia Grullon credit. It’s a gradual but dramatic change and it’s interesting rather than distracting to see it develop. The contrast is best illustrated when you view the current header graphic and the old one (still on the fan art page through the link), which Grullon retired a few weeks ago. All the way through, the linework is gorgeous. When we come to the watercolour shading, it’s always just so. I often think comics look better in colour, but Blue is lovely in black and white – which is not to denigrate Grullon’s colour work at all!

At times, it moves at a pace that would be called slow for most comics, but it’s so engaging that you’ll keep coming back update after update. As in, it’s been running since April 2008 and I still have no idea why it’s called Blue, but that’s okay (maybe it’s not meant to be explicit?).

Usually I’m loathe to mention age for fear of being condescending, but it’s worth mentioning here. Patricia Grullon is seventeen years old and she has been a staple of the lesbian webcomics world for more than two years now. This is a testament to her truly beautiful art as well as her ability to create charming, lovable characters. It’s an amazing achievement for anyone, much less someone who has had relatively little time to perfect her skill.

It’s under 100 pages thus far, so if you’re looking to get started reading webcomics, this is a nicely sized introduction. (Because, trust me, with some of the comics I’ll be reviewing, you’re going to want to stay up till the early hours three nights in a row to get through the back issues… who, me?)

Light-hearted lesbian love drawn by a young queer artist – what more could you want?

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