Comic fans who love sci-fi, action, and gay romance won’t want to miss Alex Woolfson and Winona Nelson’s new graphic novel Artifice. Not only because the story features gay protagonists, but because the comic portrays their relationship as completely normal.
Artifice is firmly planted in the yaoi — a.k.a. boys’ love or BL — comics genre. Yaoi, a Japanese manga genre focusing on gay men, is mostly written for and by women and is immensely popular in Japan, with a small,but avid fan base in the United States.
Originally appearing as a comic on Woolfson’s website, Yaoi911, Artifice will be available in a collected print edition on May 1.
An official synopsis of the action-romance reads:
Deacon, a prototype android soldier, was ordered by his corporate masters to eliminate a team of scientists who knew too much and he has failed spectacularly. Not only did he let one of his targets live -- 19-year-old human outcast, Jeff Linnell -- he attacked the team sent to retrieve him. Now the Corporation demands answers and they have employed the brilliant and ruthless robopsychologist Clarice Maven to get them.
Deacon seems desperate to conceal the shocking events that took place on Da Vinci 4, but what chance does he have fighting an adversary who can control his every move?
Many LGBT comic fans will certainly find the romance between Deacon and Jeff refreshing, as their relationship is treated like any other conventional story element — as least as conventional as a love between a young man and an android assassin (think Blade Runner meets The Terminator) could be.
As The Atlantic’s Noah Berlatsky points out, “The mainstream isn't exactly interested in gay protagonists in its pulp genre product at the moment. But reading Artifice, you can almost see that future in which gayness in sci-fi is neither disavowed, nor avant-garde, but simply normal.”
Artifice is available for preorder at Amazon.com.