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Archive Binge: Always Raining Here

G D Penman By G D Penman Published on November 7, 2016

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Always Raining Here is a short, sweet and extremely pretty little webcomic. It is a romance comic about two gay teenage boys, written by two straight adult women.

Many of the struggles unique to being gay and male are absent from the story as a result. I am sure that as a good queer critic I am meant to lambaste the creators for stepping out of line and writing about characters with different experiences from them but honestly, the elements that are missing from the story don’t harm it. Not every story with queer characters has to centre on their queerness. In the case of this comic we have a romance between queer characters that focuses on the romance.

The beginning of the story, once we are past the sharp shock of the cold open, is a tale as old as time; boy meets boy, boy propositions boy for sex in a public bathroom, boy is horrified and tries to keep away from boy for the rest of his life.

This simple comedic set-up leads into a very sweet romance once the various obstacles are bypassed, overcome and punched directly in the face. For all that the characters are divorced from the realities of living as gay teenagers they are firmly entrenched in the reality of living as teenagers in a small town. The close ties between the history of the characters and the history of the place are as vague as most other parts of this story but they still give the world a living quality that many romances fail to create. The dense social network of teenage life fulfils a similar function for the present of the story.

In any romance, the strength of the central characters is going to make or break the story. Luckily for Always Raining Here, the characters are surprisingly likeable, not just despite their faults but also because of them. While the behaviour of some characters is frustrating, it is very easy to understand why they act in the way that they do and to forgive them.

I would be lax if I didn’t mention the artwork of this comic, it is soft and gentle with a peaceful colour palette and a simple, mildly-stylised approach to character design. Like the writing, the approach doesn’t seem to be any attempt to overwhelm the reader so much as to present events to them as cleanly as possible and allow them to make their own interpretations as to the details.

Overall, the thing that Always Raining Here conveys most strongly is how nice everything is. Real romance is rarely as polite and clean. Real heartbreak is rarely as detached. The ending is left quite open, but is happy enough to calm anyone’s fluttering heart. Not every song needs a drum solo. Not every queer romance comic needs sadness.

    G.D. Penman writes about queer monsters for a living. He is the author of Call Your Steel, The Year of the Knife, Heart of Winter, Apocrypha and many other books. He is also a full-time freelance ... Show More

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