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The Complete Wendel

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  34 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The complete collection of the entire groundbreaking gay comic strip series. Originally published in The Advocate throughout the 1980s, Howard Cruse’s Wendel is widely considered the first gay comic strip to be featured in mainstream media. A topical and heartfelt chronicle of one gay man’s journey through the often-rocky Reagan-Bush years, the strip followed the adventure ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by Universe
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"Wendel" was a popular continuing comic strip that ran in the GLBT newsmagazine The Advocate throughout much of the 80's. Reading this comprehensive collection is fun and nostalgic (as well as anti-nostalgic: the Reagan years were rough ones for non-hetero folk). "Wendel' has been criticized as being old-fashioned, unrealistic, and taking place in a sort of cozy cartoon Never Never Land. Cruse has more than a bit of the vaudevillian in him, and he peppers these stories with generous amounts of s ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Raina rated it really liked it
I'm so glad this exists.

It kind of blows my mind that people have been this progressive for so long. Before The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, Cruse was chronicling the hijinks of a gay dude, his partner, his partner's kid, and a whole bunch of wacky secondary characters. He touches on parenting (and ex-wives), AIDS, advocacy, journalism ethics, unhealthy romantic entanglements, and more.

The illustrations are very in the Archie tradition, which was rather eerie for me, as I read a lot of Ar
May 23, 2012 J.P. rated it it was amazing
I just finished Howard Cruse's The Complete Wendel. Appearing in The Advocate between 1983 and 1989, Wendel tells the story of a handful of gay and lesbian characters and their families during the Reagan years following the overall arc of Wendel Trupstock as he comes into his own, begins a relationship and tries to be a writer. Throughout this is the beginning of the AIDS crisis and the 1987 March on Washington. You'll meet his friend Deb with whom he works at Effluvia magazine, his new boyfrien ...more
I'm really surprised it took me this long to finish this book. My only excuse is that it was originally published in The Advocate so each two page spread is a complete mini plot arch. So even if you find the overall story really engaging it's super easy to put down.

Writing this as a serialized story, Cruse struck a really strong balance between episodic and over-arching plot. Which is pretty difficult to do sometimes. The characters were continuously developing and the plot lines were all pretty
Nov 27, 2015 Josh rated it liked it
It pains me a little to only give Wendel three stars (though it's perfectly respectable number) because my first exposures to Cruse' work was through the masterpieces Stuck Rubber Baby and "Billy Goes Out." Compared to those titles, the entire run of Wendel collected as a whole here felt too inconsistent. Some strips easily reach the those heights, usually when Cruse drops dialogue and lets his images carry the story, but many are merely amusing diversions. Nothing wrong with that, of course, he ...more
These are very good comics: witty, clever, sophisticated, satirical, realistic (more or less), insightful, and occasionally sad, as Cruse tracks the life of his eponymous hero, coming to trerms with gay adulthood in the 1980s (when these strips were written; hence the occasional strains of tragedy, as the AIDS epidemic was at its most horrifying during those years). These strips must have been groundbreaking at the time for the way they normalize gay life. Yes, there's sex and nudity (full front ...more
Adam Dunn
Apr 29, 2013 Adam Dunn rated it really liked it
Shelves: glbt
I really enjoyed this book, it's probably the best cartoon strip series I've ever read.

The strip traces the timultous 1980's with wit and compassion, making me both laugh and cry, but ultimately not doing too much of either. The strip really lends itself to the long-format story and an in-depth look at the lives of these characters.

I took a star off as I would have liked to laugh a bit more. Also I don't understand the tendency with collections to include long introductions discussing the work u
Jan 26, 2015 Anastasia marked it as to-read
Katy Vance
Dec 07, 2011 Katy Vance rated it it was amazing
I loved it! This book was so funny. It was insightful, realistic and hilarious. Gay comics=swoon.
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