Joe Glass Offers a Gift with 'Young Men in Love'
We chat with the creator about his queer romance anthology and why it's the comic he needed as a kid.
Welcome to our Creator Corner, our new reoccurring interview series, where we chat with the coolest and most thought-provoking creators in the comics industry. In this entry, we're conversing with Joe Galss about Young Men in Love. Listen to the unedited audio HERE.
Have you ever wanted to give a gift to your younger self? An item you didn't have as a child? A story that could have helped you through those worrisome and confused middle school and high school years? Young Men in Love is the gift Joe Glass would like to give to the kid he no longer is, but in making it, hopefully, another young person who needs it today can get their hands on the comic.
Glass co-edited the queer romance anthology alongside Matt Miner. Both also contribute stories within. Stories that are wildly imaginative and profoundly varied. Between the book's pages, you'll find pirate ghosts, swashbuckling knights, rampaging kaiju, and everyday exchanges in our very real world.
"It was one of those things that was not planned," says Joe Glass, "but it was a happy accident. We said to everyone that they didn't have to feel completely beholden to the classic romance comic concept. That was a springboard to do a romantic ghost story or a romantic pirate story or a romantic anything."
"The content had to be age appropriate," continues Glass. "In terms of younger readers. This is ultimately a young adult graphic novel for queer kids who are coming to terms with their own love life and sexuality and identities. Whatever genre they wanted to tell could fit into different aspects of relationships. We started seeing people bringing in not just meet-cute stories, but marriages or romantic couples who've been together for years or ones who were on the rocks."
What each story in Young Men in Love has in common is a celebration of love. These are bright; often joyous narratives centered on human connectivity. We came away from the comic feeling lighter, relieved of whatever dread seeped into our bodies during our daily Twitter doom scrolling. Young Men in Love injected hope into our beings and activated positivity in our person. We may not have been the intended audience, but we needed these stories just the same.
"These little stories can provide joy," says Glass. "They give happiness to counteract against the anger and the pain which a lot of people could be feeling. That is itself a fight or protest against the sort of negativity life can put down on us. I think this book, in many ways, is something which could provide a lot of strength as well as joy and happiness."
"I think it's something which anyone," continues Glass, "needing that little extra bit of strength right now could find in Young Men in Love. It's not just young queer audiences who will benefit from it. Look at a work like Heartstopper, which just got adapted on Netflix, and how that audience is so wide-ranging in terms of age."
Other creators featured in Young Men in Love are - friend of the show and Episode 100 poster artist - Josh Cornillon, as well as Tate Brombal, David M. Booher, Anthony Oliveira, Chris Sebela, Paul Allor, Sina Grace, Hamish Steele, Chris Shehan, Charles Pulliam-Moore, Dennis Yatras, and many, many more.
Young Men in Love is now available in book stores and comic book shops everywhere. Find your closest shop by clicking HERE. And remember, most comic shops will ship these days.
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