New Comic Puts Gay Men in the Superhero and Villain Roles
BY Jacob Anderson-Minshall
May 01 2013 5:00 AM ET
Husbands is a Web-based sitcom that revolves around two gay celebrities (an athlete and an actor) who wake up from a drunken night in Las Vegas and find themselves married. Not wanting to set back marriage equality by getting divorced, Cheeks and Brady decide to stick it out and find they may be perfect mates after all. This graphic novel of the same name, Husbands (Dark Horse Books, $14.99) — written by the Web series creators Brad Bell (a.k.a. Cheeks) and Jane Espenson (writer and executive producer of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) — is an anthology of six Husbands comics previously published by Dark Horse Digital. It features the art of Ron Chan, Natalie Nourigat, M.S. Corley, Ben Dewey, and Tania del Rio.
Each installment exploits the artistic styling and traditional storyline of an iconic comic genre, drawing Cheeks and Brady as characters in superhero, spy, fairy tale, detective, intergalactic war, and Riverdale High stories (the latter being home of the famed Archie gang). The book opens with the newlyweds unwrapping wedding presents and discovering that one gift is a comic book that magically transports them into these different realms, where they must learn some important lessons before they can return to the land of flesh and bone.
That plot device is apropos, because this graphic novel is reminiscent of a self-published one-off you can have made starring your favorite nephew as the hero of his very own comic book. That’s not to say Husbands isn’t an enjoyable diversion. It is. But this certainly isn’t a dark, postmodern, cutting-edge, or even deeply engaging graphic novel. However, if you are a fan of the Web series, adorable gay couples, and wit, you won’t be disappointed. The comic book characters stay true to their on-screen Husbands personas even when they are playing superhero versus villain or alien versus space hero.