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Monday, June 09, 2008

Shirtlifter -- Steve MacIsaac's Shirtlifter has had two issues released so far, the first issue mostly fiction, the second issue, funded by a Xeric grant, mostly non-fiction. Both are unblinking, unapologetic looks at the lives of gay men. I'd like to say both are excellent, but #1 is only good. Shirtlifter #2 is spectacular.

I apologize for playing favourites, but I've always been upfront about my preference for well-done autobiography over any other genre in comics, and Shirtlifter #2 finds MacIsaac growing immensely over the intriguing first issue. The difference is such that, although I think discerning readers will want both issues, I can't recommend #2 strongly enough.

Be warned that MacIsaac is refreshingly frank about his sexuality. There is nudity and sex, although the thoughtful approach and the ultimately rewarding reading experience are such that Shirtlifter is about as far from pornography as one can get. Porn wants to get you off, period. In Shirtlifter #2, MacIsaac wants to tell true and revealing stories about himself and the people in his life, his lovers, family and friends. It is fascinating reading throughout the 10 stories.

MacIsaac's style lies somewhere between Harvey Pekar and Adrian Tomine, with the added bonus of a wonderfully-realized colour palette being utilized for most of #2's stories. I was sorry to see that MacIsaac plans to go back to fiction in his next efforts, but that doesn't change the fact that Shirtlifter #2 is an extraordinary accomplishment in comics, and I urge you to see for yourself.

Buy Shirtlifter#1 and Shirtlifter #2 from Amazon.com.



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