cover image Tales of the Closet, Vol. 1

Tales of the Closet, Vol. 1

Ivan Velez, Jr.. Planet Bronx Productions, $8.50 (104pp) ISBN 978-0-9765566-0-2

Eight teenagers at Decatur High School in Queens are gay and suffering for it. Only one, new-waver Scott Lind, is out of the closet, and this makes him a punching bag for Decatur High's homophobic jocks. Defending Scott brings the eight together, becoming kind of a secret, multi-racial gay-lesbian club. One girl has her diary, which includes her thoughts about other girls, found by her deeply religious mother, and she must start going out with a dimwitted (but decent) boy to "get straight". Another character's violent father dies, leaving him an orphan. He is moved into a group home and ends up hustling, where he is attacked and left for dead. This volume feels like the beginning of a soap opera, and unfortunately, none of the storylines conclude in this volume. Velez is good at drawing people, but his panels are cramped and lacking in background detail. It is a testament to his ability to create interesting characters that the story overcomes the rough art to leave the reader wondering what happens next. This book is appropriate for YA readers—there is no nudity or sex. (Nov.)