cover image The Times I Knew I Was Gay

The Times I Knew I Was Gay

Eleanor Crewes. Scribner, $25 (320p) ISBN 978-1-982147-10-5

Identity isn’t defined by a single moment, as British cartoonist Crewes finds in her chummy comics memoir. As a kid, she loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer—especially the redheaded witch, Willow, who comes out as gay in the fourth season. Yet it took Crewes until late in her university years to connect her childhood fascination and her lukewarm feelings for boys to her own sexuality. (“It was as though someone had handed me a letter that I had to keep very safe, but wasn’t allowed to open until the time was right.”) Crewes’s zine-style narration covers her failed attempts at hetero crushes and Tinder, and when she finally admits the truth of her same-sex attractions to herself, it’s like she has to completely restart the dating game. Crewes draws in graphite pencils, lending her story a charming sketchbook quality. Human figures are soft and noodle-armed, recalling both Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Tumblr diary comics. Crewes’s gentle identity reveal is met with support and love from family members and friends; if the narrative lacks drama, it evokes the wish that every queer young person could find such ready acceptance. This sweet coming-out tale could help any reader unsure of how to read their own buried clues. (Oct.) Agent: Anna Power, Johnson & Alcock.