cover image Boys of Summer

Boys of Summer

Chuck Austen, . . Tokyopop, $9.99 (199pp) ISBN 978-1-59816-545-6

Although best known for his work at DC and Marvel, Austen's love of baseball, manga and the erotic potential of college co-eds are more on display in his first venture into OEL manga. The story follows Bud Waterston, a hormone-ridden teen and pitching phenom as he navigates his first year of college with his childhood buddy and wanna-be catcher, Manny. Manny's eager to join the school's third-rate team, but Bud's refused to play ball since his dad died. The two are quickly immersed among bikini-clad girls and hostile jocks, but it's Chrissie from across the hall who's got Bud's attention. She's pretty, quick-tempered and has got Bud figured for a perv. Add to this that she's team catcher and daughter of the baseball coach, and it's clear that complications will ensue. The conceit of scantily clad girls plus baseball might be juvenile, but Austen's real affection for his characters, even at their most hapless, comes through in the story's good-natured humor. The expressive, fluid drawings of hentai (adult manga) artist Otsuka give the story real warmth. Each interaction and splash page is tweaked for maximum, though still just-this-side-of-modest, erotic possibility, making this suitable for older teens and anyone who thinks baseball is sexy (June)