Amal has had a bad day, an epically bad day, in fact. He has called off his arranged marriage to a “Nice Indian Girl” and come out to his very traditional parents all in the same moment. Now he has a hangover from hell and there is a strange guy cooking breakfast in his kitchen. Apparently, TJ needs to get to Rhode Island, but can’t drive. And Amal needs to get to Rhode Island for his sister’s graduation, but can no longer go with his parents. In a drunken stupor, Amal has agreed to do all the driving and TJ will pay expenses. So two strangers set off on a cross-country adventure.
Weaver captures that feeling of adventure one gets on a road trip where the description of what happened might be, “that one time we met those jerks at that truck stop,” but the emotion behind the story is so much more and the people listening to you tell the story are kind of confused and amused at how important it was to you. They don’t understand. They weren’t there. But you are there with TJ and Amal and you do understand.
The pacing of the story is great, with the romance slowly and naturally evolving. While there are a couple fairly explicit sex scenes, they are just one part of TJ and Amal’s developing relationship, no more momentous than the revealing of their pasts to each other or the moments of humor and semi-adventure they share.
Weaver’s artwork is stunning. Her line work is exquisite, making readers feel they are in the scene. The art is all black and white line drawing, but with a richness and clarity of detail that lets so much nuance show through. The characters are distinctive and easy to read. Every so often she throws in a two-page spread that takes your breath away.
Begun in 2009, this comic is still being published as a web comic. The webpage has a nice “note” section, for those of you who, like me, enjoy learning about the history and background of our comics. I’m all about the context.
While these books are self-published and, as far as I can tell, only available through the website, they are worth the effort to get your hands on copies.
The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, vol. 1: Poor Boys and Pilgrims and Vol. 2: Wanderlust Kings
Vol. 1 ISBN: 978098387550
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9780983875512
Publisher Age Rating: adult