August 31, 2013

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SPX Spotlight 2013: Tony Breed and Finn and Charlie are Hitched

Welcome to another entry in the 2013 SPX Spotlight series!  For the next month, I'll be highlighting creators and publishers who will be at the best convention, the Small Press Expo.  You can check out all of my spotlights for SPX from both this year and prior years here.

I'm always on the lookout for interesting webcomics, especially ones with ties to SPX, and last year I was introduced to Finn and Charlie are Hitched and my comics-reading life was better for it.

Publishing weekly, usually on Tuesdays, Tony  Breed's characters wind their way through daily life talking about the kinds of things that most people do, though taken to some comedic extremes. Not unlike Curls, it has the feel of a comic that could easily be in the newspaper, making it a good addition for folks who enjoy that style of comic.

The thing that makes Finn and Charlie different is that the center of the comic is a gay married couple, their family, and (mostly gay) friends. But like the best stories that involve queer characters, that's just a part of the lives of those involved. Sure, it might come up a bit more often as part of the plot, but Breed doesn't have his characters jumping up and down screaming HEY LOOK WE ARE SAME GENDER ISN'T THAT SO DIFFERENT AND PLEASE READ US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know there are comics out there that do that.

Breed, thankfully, isn't one of them. Recently, he commented on one of his own recent strips, stating, "I want this comic to reflect the reality that I see around me." That shows, the longer you read the comic. This is a strip about living life as a people moving closer and closer to middle-age. Since I fit that description, the concept resonates with me.  The things that happen here might be fictional, but they look back at those of us in the real world and how we deal with situations that occur as we're growing up.

Well, maybe not the whole thing about having a nephew that sets up orgies. THAT might be just a bit too far from the norm. At least in my family.*

Finn and Charlie are the main characters, described by Breed as "a misanthrope and a goofball, respectively." They're joined by Finn's brother Gus, Candy and Mandy (competitive sisters), Mandy's gay son, and a few others. It's a small core that helps keep the strip from wandering too far away.  Most stories link for a few weeks at a time, allowing for continuity and giving Breed time to finish his ideas, keeping this from being a long line of one-and-done gags or commentary. His art style is basic, with just enough unique details to keep the characters from looking alike. A bit of a hairstyle change here or added girth to a body there does most of the work. His coloring style feels a bit like a watercolor wash, though I think that a processing effect. Either way, it brings out the backgrounds nicely and gives the strip a more polished look.

It's a really cool comic that I'm glad to have found. At SPX, Tony will have the first three Finn and Charlie collections, along with a mini-comic he did a few years back and a new comic, pictured above, about food, complete with recipes, that I am looking forward to picking up at the show.

Hitched to something else on the weekend of SPX? You can find Tony's webcomic and store here.

*Disclosure: I have no nephews, so it's a moot point.