cover image Marry Me a Little

Marry Me a Little

Rob Kirby. Graphic Mundi, $21.95 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-63779-039-7

Ignatz winner Kirby (Curbside Boys) explores his decision to marry his husband in this touching and timely graphic memoir. In 2013, shortly after Minnesota legalized gay marriage, 51-year-old Kirby wed his partner of 10 years, 54-year-old John. He wrestles with how much of a production to make the event, confessing with Midwestern modesty that he didn’t consider the trappings of marriage much before it was a possibility—and hedges about embracing such a conventional norm. After their moving, low-key ceremony, Kirby skips forward to 2016, when Trump’s election reignites threats to LGBTQ rights. Combining his personal story with historical moments such as the 1971 marriage of gay couple Jack Baker and Michael McConnell in Minneapolis, pop culture depictions of coupledom (with a charming illustrated wedding playlist), and the angst of contemporary politics, Kirby effectively conveys the quiet power in recognizing same-sex marriage and everyday love. Kirby’s cartoonish, crisp, and affable character drawings glimmer with personality in panels speckled in blue and red color pencil smudges. Readers may struggle in sections to parse what the colors are coding, and they occasionally morph into symbols, but more often they simply suffuse the artwork with buzzing emotions. Emotions, even complicated ambivalent ones, are the pulse of this meditative work. It’s also a refreshing celebration of partnership thriving in midlife. This intimate and urgent exploration of what marriage means perfectly argues how the personal is profoundly political. (Feb.)