'Husbands:' Advance Hardcover Review

 

22099Husbands is a web-based sitcom created by Jane Espenson and Brad “Cheeks” Bell which follows newlyweds Cheeks and Brady as they sort through the early days of their marriage. If you haven't seen it and are looking for a funny, gay sitcom-style show, check out the first two seasons at husbandstheseries.com. Not content to challenge only one medium, Cheeks (the writer) and Espenson have tried their hand at a comic series that takes Cheeks (the character) and Brady on a wild and genre-hopping journey to tell another set of stories that challenges the assumptions of heteronormativity.


Husbands (the comic) begins when the couple discovers among their wedding gifts, a book that transports them from one dimension to another. Each of the book's issues focuses on a different genre from superheroes to secret agents, Victorian era mystery to science fiction. The story makes excellent use of genre conventions to quickly establish the “problem” of the issue and introduce the characters. The tales themselves are a bit cliché in every case, but there's something about placing two men as the leads and as love interests that turns these clichés on their head and makes them into something special, which is exactly what Husbands (the one you watch) did for romantic comedy. Husbands (the one you read) is fast-paced and able to deliver a whole story in a condensed space. I was a little frustrated early on by how often Cheeks (the one made of pencils and ink) was placed in a damsel in distress role. This made it seem like Brady and Cheeks were falling into the stereotype of having a “top” and “bottom” in their relationship, but an issue in the series addressed this issue perfectly and is probably my favorite entry of the series.

Husbands (the one with actors) is brilliantly funny, and Husbands (the one with artists) holds true to that. Cheeks' (the writer) and Espenson's talent for writing banter transfers over regardless of which genre the boys happen to occupy at the time. They bring in the specific language and style of each of the worlds and yet manage to keep Husbands' charm. Though a part of the antics, Cheeks' (the character) best friend, Haley, isn't used very much, usually being forced into some background role, and her cameos feel rather forced at times. One rather atypical character I found myself rather liking is the narrator, who always has something funny to add about the situation and provides another level of humor on what could have been a cut-and-dried inclusion in the comic.

This hardcover collection also includes some extra stuff in the back from script notes to sketches, and a more in-depth explanation of what the writers were trying to accomplish in each of the issues. For me a highlight of Husbands has always been hearing all the careful attention the writers have put into the characters and the series. I'm glad that they were able to include it here.

Husbands (both!) are well-worth checking out as both an early example of what will hopefully be the introduction of more shows and comics starring LGBT characters and for a bit of comedy wrapped up in a sweet romance story that spans not only genres, but also mediums.

 

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 01 January 2019 00:03

Kristine Chester, Fanbase Press Senior Contributor

Favorite Comic Book SeriesAtomic Robo
Favorite D&D Class:  Wizard
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:  Cookies N' Cream

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