Shirtlifter #s 2 & 3
Writer/artists: Steve MacIsaac, Fuzzbelly & Justin Hall
Cover artist: Steve MacIsaac
Publisher: Drawn. Out Press
Price: $8.95 US (#2)/$10.95 (#3)
Self-publisher Steve MacIsaac was kind enough to send a couple of review copies of his work in the mail. He and I went to the same university and both participated in student media; if memory serves, we were both cast members in a play one year at the campus theatre. When I learned that he was living in the United States and crafting highly praised comics, I was definitely interested in seeing what he was up to. There’s just one problem: Diamond Comic Distributors won’t send erotic comics north of the 49th parallel, so I’ve not seen it shops in my neck of the woods. MacIsaac informs me Diamond didn’t carry his first issue, but these two subsequent comics were available through the distributor. Still, whether it’ll do so for future editions is uncertain, and MacIsaac says it’s difficult to get shops to carry gay material. Of course, there are other ways to get one’s hands on MacIsaac’s comics (ordering through his website, for example), and after reading these two anthology comics, I highly recommend that those with an interest in well-crafted slice-of-life comics do just that. MacIsaac’s comics have been described as gay erotica/porn, and sexuality definitely plays a vital role in his storytelling. Personally, I can’t view material such as this as pornography, given the incredibly strong characterization, genuine dialogue and compelling inner conflicts that MacIsaac pours into his work.