Queer Comic Review: Tripping Over You

November 26, 2014 in inQueery

headerx800Tripping Over You starts out a lot like a romantic comedy. You have your two main characters, Liam and Milo: one’s a little uptight and neurotic, and the other’s the suave and laid-back type. There are unstated feelings for each other involved, and these feelings are translated into teasing and other more socially acceptable forms of flirtation. This all comes to a head when a comical but severe misunderstanding occurs, resulting in hurt feelings and a serious confrontation. That confrontation ends, as they all inevitably do, in a kiss.

If the comic continued like a romantic comedy, that would be more than enough to earn a conciliation and rolling credits – all with the unsaid promise of a happily ever after. But for Tripping Over You, that’s all just the first chapter. This is what sets Tripping Over You apart from so many other romance stories – the opening to the romance is interesting and important, but it’s still just the opening. The interesting part of Liam and Milo’s relationship isn’t really how it develops, it’s how it adapts.

The beginning of a relationship is always fun and exciting, but eventually you’re going to run into situations that test you – how do you deal with the closet, especially when you’re still young? Once the initial rush wears off, when do you start talking about serious emotional topics in the context of your relationship? And of course there’s the glaring question – when do you start thinking about sex? These questions come up naturally and are addressed in the awkward, imperfect manner inherent to a first relationship. This fumbling style is not without its charms, and is shown most clearly in that first question of sex. Milo and Liam discuss the matter maturely, decide for themselves whether or not they feel ready, prepare the appropriate safety precautions – and discover that neither of them have any real idea of what they’re supposed to actually do. They find themselves sharing a laptop googling questions about foreplay, which isn’t necessarily the kind of first time that gets shown on the big screen, but may be a little closer to home than a lot of us would like to admit.

lift-finalA lot of the comic’s more natural feeling moments are due to the inspirations of the two authors, Suzana and Owen. As a married lesbian couple, they began development on this comic specifically to address a lot of the issues they faced specifically as a same-sex couple – from the reactions of those around them to the realization of their own feelings. It’s this personal experience that gives the comic so much of its charm. Even though the facts of the vaguely British boarding school romance are fairly far removed from their own lives, the shared experience between them and their characters results in a sincere and heartfelt portrayal of the unique aspects of an LGBT relationship.

While of course much of the focus of the comic is on the two main characters and their relationship, much of its charm comes from the rest of its component parts. The art is simple and expressive, and only improves with its transition from monochrome to full color. The writing is sharp and interesting without ever straying too far from how people actually talk. And although the majority of the focus comes down to Milo and Liam, the supporting characters are multifaceted and interesting in their own right. My personal favorites are Penny and Cat, who often show up together to act as a kind of lesbian greek chorus, and who earn their status as favorite if only because “lesbian greek chorus” is perhaps the greatest phrase in the English language. Although it’s just been running three years so far, Tripping Over You seems to have easily found its stride and shows no sign of stopping. Which is good, because the relationship has only just gotten to the college stage – and we all know that’s where things get really interesting.

Tripping Over You can be found in its entirety at its website, with physical copies available in the store. While there are definitely sexual situations present in the comic, nothing explicit happens on screen, leaving the comic comfortably PG-13. (And for those of you interested in the explicit parts, there are side comics also available in the store that fill in the details of these off screen happenings!) It updates every Monday and Thursday.

Ellen Perry is a Guest contributor at InQueery and a volunteer at the Pacific Center.