Three #1 Edited by Robert Kirby

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Three #1
Edited by Robert Kirby
Self-published

Three orange cover FINALWEBRobert Kirby‘s Three anthology collects comics from three queer creators in one wonderful, concise book.  The first issue showcases work from Kirby, Eric Orner and Joey Alison Sayers. The stories are true, fictional, funny, sobering and educational.  Everybody has their own thing to say and that’s great.  I like anthologies like this and MOME that let creators loose and don’t restrict them to one topic.  The diverse styles and subjects build a conversation instead of blasting a statement, and that experience appeals to me most as a reader.

While still an infant in its first issue, I get the impression that Three will always have a place on its pages for queer creators writing whatever they feel like, with queer themes coming up and being addressed or not from time to time.  It’s just nice to know that because it’s queer-driven, it’s also queer-friendly — like much of indie comics, really, but more obvious.

Orner’s story “Weekends Abroad” observes Israeli gay culture through one American homosexual’s experience living, working and cruising abroad.  It’s written from a first-person perspective and I wonder how much of it borrows from Orner’s own experience.  It’s told in an authoritative, knowing way, like autobio might be, but it’s definitely got a story-like structure.  He weaves experience and discovery into understanding with natural ability.

The main character of “Weekends Abroad” was kicked out of Hebrew school at age 12 for run-of-the-mill boyhood shenanigans and as a result never learned to speak Hebrew.  As the story opens, he finds himself two years into a work contract based in Israel and he’s still ignorant of the language.  On weekends, he escapes the religiously devout city where he lives to enjoy the more relaxed Tel Aviv.  There he finds English street graffiti that lights his imagination, limited companionship, fickle friendship and signs of life that do not resemble his own.

It’s always exciting to me when Sayers comes out with new material.  She’s consistently a great story-teller, her artwork is clear and she’s very direct about her point of view.  (Please read Just So You Know if you haven’t already.)  Her contribution to Three is an autobio story called “Number One” in which she uses a stranger’s bathroom.  The stranger turns out to be really strange.

Kirby’s story “Freedom Flight” depicts a guy struggling to leave an unhappy relationship with a man who takes him for granted.  He feels like a shadow in his own relationship, like he doesn’t even exist, but his partner’s health issues make him feel useful in some respect, so he’s always decided to stay.  It’s the kind of situation that makes you think one of these people is a crutch for the other, and maybe both are in some ways.

A surprising amount of talent can be packed into 32-pages.  Anthologies like this and Papercutter benefit a lot from the brevity and scope of the work, while keeping the size and price manageable.  Three totally captured my attention and delivered something wonderful at each turn.  I have big hopes for the continuation of this series since I really enjoyed issue #1.

Three is a glossy, full-color comic measuring 7″x8.5″.  It costs $6.25 and can be purchased through the editor HERE.

Sarah Morean

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