Grease Bats by Archie Bongiovanni
Queer besties Andy and Scout navigate life, love, friendship, the tumultuous political environment and their 20s in this hilarious comics collection.
I was not expecting to love this nearly as much as I did. I’m not sure why? But I’m thinking it’s because I saw the cover, with the kinda not the best illustrations (they reminded me vaguely of Beavis and Butthead or King of the Hill), so was leery?
But set aside your reservations—this is timely poignant and holy fucking shirtballs hilarious.
Andy is a trans genderqueer person of color whose life is kiiiiiiiiiinda a dumpster fire but also they just like to life by the moment (outwardly the toughest, inwardly the most sensitive).
Scout is Andy’s BFF, an over-thinking feeler who wants to date again but can’t move on from her ex-girlfriend…of two years ago. She’s super heckin’ awkward around those she finds attractive, and takes three hours to send texts to girls who end up being straight. She also likes burritos (and turning herself into a burrito).
Ari is Andy and Scout’s new roommate, an aro ace trans introvert who will bluntly tell the others how it is (and that she will not be joining them for meaningless holidays or participating in worthless capitalistic rites of passage). She also has silent Saturdays and solo Sundays, which are hilarious and also I 100% agree with.
Gwen has newly broken up with her boyfriend of five years and is ready to embrace her bisexual self—except she’s never done anything with the opposite sex and does that means she’s not queer?? Anywho, she explores her sexuality, has an awakening, and realizes that you can have it all—although sometimes you also have to unpack of a lot of societal expectations, particularly when it comes to family who don’t accept you or have awful, bigoted views of the world.
Taylor is…a grad student.
In the forward, A.E. Osworth talks about how they and their friends tried to match themselves to a Grease Bat, and then realized that they were all shades of each character.
I absolutely agree. I found myself in each character—from Gwen and Taylor’s struggle to believe they belong in queer spaces (either from realizing their sexuality late or experimenting with it late or being queer and never having had sex before), to Ari’s lack of fucks and extreme introvertism, to Scout’s agonizing over every romantic thing, to Andy’s floppies, to Taylor’s social awkwardness.
There’s a little something for everyone. And a little Grease Bat in everyone.
Additionally, there’s intersectionality, the exploration of gender norms and queerness, seriously funny t-shirts and hats, mental health discussions, interesting jort choices, and social and political commentary—and also much talk of microaggressions, such as addressing a group of people “hello ladies” or taunting non-feminine conforming individuals who aren’t wearing their three articles of gender-conforming apparel (it’s like a more aggressive form of 17 pieces of flair). And much drinking and a little casual cocaine.
Anywho, if you’re exhausted by the constant attack on queer spaces and queer rights, and need something that’s #ownvoices and inclusive and all-around adorable, check this out.
I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Grease Bats releases from Boom! Box on 3 September 2019