Forward Graphic Novel Review

Forward by Lisa Maas

Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsForward by Lisa Maas

Reading Maas’ book about middle age Canadian lesbians finding their romantic lives again and figuring out what the second half of their life may look like felt refreshing. I’m 35, which is entering the age of ignored women in our media, and I’m grateful for authors like Maas, building worlds for queer women like me.

Rayanne is successful in her career, but she hasn’t dated in years after the ending of a serious relationship. She knows she wants romance, but she also wants love. Rayanne is lonely. And she’s not just lonely in superficial ways, but the deep one of years of being on your own and wanting more.

The second character Ali is mourning the untimely death of her wife from cancer. While her friends encourage her to date, Ali still sees her wife everywhere, especially when she makes an attempt to date a much younger woman.

Maas speaks truth to the experience of lesbian circles where Rayanne and Ali have enough friends in common that they are only one connection away from each other. And Ali even walks her dog near Rayanne’s office every day. Eventually, they meet each other in a coffee shop, and their friends do push them toward dating.

Mass works through their budding relationship slowly. The pacing is perfect, and I read most of the book in one sitting. Spoilers: the two women do end up together. Not that we ever thought anything else would happen. Even if they did do the “does she like me” and the “will she make a move” lesbian dance.

Unfortunately, Maas’ art style wasn’t my favorite. While all the characters are expressive — great for a book relying on emotional conversations to drive the plot — the face shapes didn’t vary enough for me. The watercolor added to the emotionality and the backgrounds of the intimate spaces of homes or Canada’s green spaces.

More stories like these, please.

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