Ethan's Reviews > Stuck Rubber Baby

Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse
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Mar 30, 2009

it was amazing
Read in March, 2009

I loved this. I read the compilation of Cruse's Wendel comic strips, which was also wonderful, but this was simply amazing. At first I was a little worried that the characters seemed like stock, generic Civil Rights-era Southern figures, but as the story progresses Cruse fleshes them out and makes them unique. The story is nuanced and multi-layered, dealing with the protagonist's struggles with sexuality and the broader struggles around black civil rights, as well as the complicated relationships of the characters. The artwork is incredibly detailed (no wonder it took him four years to make this), and he has some creative techniques for using the art to communicate ideas or even moods that it would be harder to communicate in prose.

I think Stuck Rubber Baby was kind of screwed over by bad timing. Among comics fans it's definitely a gay classic, but if it had been released today it probably could have picked up the same literary fiction crossover audience that Alison Bechdel did for Fun Home (which I also have on my "to-read" shelf).
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