Cavalcade of Boys Vol. 1-2

By Tim Fish
192 pages, black and white
Published by Poison Press

With the invasion of comics from Japan into English now in full force, newer readers might be surprised that just a few years ago many people would find it odd to see romance comics of any sort on sale. Now, of course, such a beast is a bit more unsurprising. That means it’s a perfect time for Tim Fish to collect his Cavalcade of Boys comic; if there was ever a modern comic book audience that wants more good romance comics, that time is definitely now.

Tighe’s just looking for love. He’s a nice guy, if a little unlucky when it comes to romance. Even when he finds someone good, like Stanley, they end up becoming friends instead of having romance blossom. Mind you, Stanley’s not doing much better. He seems to be all about the younger, smoother guys like David, who instead end up with the older, predatory Gordon. And do we even need to start about Gordon’s problems?

One of the things that I love a lot about Cavalcade of Boys is the sheer variety of characters that Fish has created for the series. He’s got a large ensemble cast and I think it’s to his credit that nowhere in these first two volumes did I ever feel overwhelmed or confused on who was who. Part of this is thanks to how Fish introduces everyone, starting off with Tighe as a focal character and then slowly letting each new character get pulled into the story via an existing cast member. That way, they get to be a supporting character in someone else’s story before becoming the main character in their very own adventure. Of course, the best characters in the world are no good if they aren’t in interesting stories. Fish’s stories in Cavalcade of Boys really ring true—both to gay and straight readers alike. These are stories about love, and desire, and betrayal, and friendship. In other words, things that we’ve all experienced. In many ways, it’s a long-running soap opera, with the occasional happy ending for two characters but otherwise it’s the continual arrival of new obstacles and conflicts to keep things interesting. This is the sort of series that sneaks up on you; by the time you’ve finished one volume, you’re desperate for the next.

One of the great things about Cavalcade of Boys being collected is that you get to see Fish’s art really strengthen and mature over the years. That’s not to say that Fish’s art isn’t good early on, because it is; even in the first stories Fish’s strong-jawed, almost rugged art style is very clearly on display. With each new chapter, though, the art gets a little more refined and tighter. There’s more definition in his characters’s bodies, more expressiveness in their faces and movements. By the end of the second volume, when Micah gets good news and his face lights up you can just see what he’s thinking by his expression. Fish doesn’t have to make him think something like, “Oh boy!” because it’s all there on the page for us to see.

My biggest complaint about Cavalcade of Boys has got to be that there’s only one more volume on its way before everything’s collected. It’s been a while since I’ve found myself just devouring a series, and with these smart 5.75″x8.25″ sized books, I can’t help but hope that they’re going to make their way into many other people’s hands who’ll have the same reaction. I know Fish has lots of other projects in the works thanks to his website, but I do hope that at some point Fish comes back with more Cavalcade of Boys. If he publishes a fourth volume, I’ll definitely be buying. Great, great stuff, and highly recommended.

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