September 7, 2011

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SPX Spotlight: Katie Omberg's Gay Kid 2

This is part of Panel Patter's SPX Spotlight, a series of reviews of work from creators or publishers who will be attending SPX in 2011 leading up to the show on September 10th and 11th, 2011!

Gay Kid #2
Written by Katie Omberg
Illustrated by Katie Omberg
Self-Published

Katie Omberg continues her look backwards at life growing up as a gay child, this time with a focus on how clothing impacted on her life.  While all kids tend to have issues with their parents relating to how they are dressed, Omberg's problems stemmed from a big issue:  Her mother's insistence that she be as girly as possible.

The story begins when Omberg gets a younger sister and begins to perceive the world a bit differently.  Instead of wearing pretty colors, like a good girl, she opted for things that had black in them.  Her mother quipped that she was  "the goth child."  As time progresses, however, things grow worse.

As Omberg's mother expects her to weark clothes that fit her proscribed gender, Omberg tries harder and harder to bring a sense of self-identity to what she wears.  It leads to constant questioning--why can't she just do what the other girls do?

It's an issue that doesn't have a solid resolution, but there is a happy ending.  At her father's wedding, Omberg is allowed to dress formally as she pleases--and finds something that works for her at last.

Like the first issue of Gay Kid, which I reviewed awhile back, this is an important chronicle of what it's like to grow up being different from your peers and what your family expects of you.  I do wish Omberg would go a little longer with these, as I think there's a lot to say on the subject.  When I finish the comic, I leave with a lot of unanswered questions.  Maybe if they're collected at some point, she can build around the original stories a bit more.

Gay Kid 2 is a perfect pick up for someone you know who has identity issues or for yourself if you've ever known what it's like to be different.  You don't have to be gay to appreciate what going against the grain means.  Gay Kid 3 is scheduled to be finished at SPX this year, so make sure you pick up all three issues if possible.  They're good--if a bit short--reading.