Gengoroh Tagame, author of the beloved My Brother’s Husband, is releasing a new queer coming-of-age story, Our Colours, about a closeted gay teenager.
Legendary mangaka and writer Gengoroh Tagame, author of the critically acclaimed film My brother’s husbandis about to release a LGBTQ+ graphic novel titled Our colors this month of June. Our colors will follow Sora Itoda, a 16-year-old gay Japanese boy struggling with his identity in a moving story about self-acceptance, family and cross-generational support.
Gengoroh Tagame is a gay Japanese man who is often considered one of the most influential creators in the gay manga genre, first gaining prominence as an art contributor to the magazine. badi before achieving great success after co-founding gay men magazine G men in 1994. Tagame’s art, until the early 2010s, was typically incredibly pornographic and erotic, emphasizing the hypermasculinity of gay male culture and focusing on themes of sadomasochism and violence. However, after the resounding success of his 2014 manga My brother’s husbandTagame has captured mainstream attention and has continued to produce work that focuses on LGBTQ+ themes of acceptance and belonging that are not inherently sexual in nature, while also continuing his queer erotic work.
My brother’s husband was a 4-volume manga series that followed a sweet and sentimental story about a homophobic man and his young daughter in Japan learning to accept and love his recently deceased twin brother’s Canadian husband. My brother’s husband won an Eisner Award and a Japan Media Arts Award and was also adapted into a very well-received anime series. Now Tagame has written a 500+ page graphic novel, Our colors published by Pantheon and translated from Japanese by Anne Ishii, which continues to follow the themes of My brother’s husband, telling an emotionally honest story about the struggles of coming out as gay as a young man in Japan and the world at large. Bowen Yang, the writer, actor and comedian who is a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” had this to say about Our colors in information provided by Penguin Random House:
“Our colors is a beautiful coming-of-age story depicting the complicated inner feelings of characters whose coming-of-age narratives are at least as nuanced as their day-to-day relationships with each other. It is a world full of grace and tenderness for people at all stages of development.
A compelling coming-of-age and coming-out graphic novel from the brilliant writer-artist of the Eisner Award-winning hit My Brother’s Husband
Set in contemporary Japanese suburbia, Our Colors is the story of Sora Itoda, an aspiring sixteen-year-old painter who experiences his world in synesthetic hues of blues and reds and is ruled by the emotional turbulence of being a teenager. He wants to live honestly as a young gay man in high school, but it’s still not acceptable in Japanese society. His best friend and childhood confidante is Nao, a young woman who everyone thinks is (or should be) his girlfriend, and that would be the easiest thing to play – she knows he’s gay. but also knows how difficult it is to live your truth in your situation.
Sora’s world changes forever when he meets Mr. Amamiya, a middle-aged gentleman who owns and owns a local cafe and is completely, shamelessly gay as a man. A platonic mentorship and friendship ensues as Sora introduces himself and agrees to paint a mural in the shop, and Mr. Amamiya advises Sora on how to deal with who he is. But it won’t be easy. Mr. Amamiya has paid a heavy price for his freedom of identity, and when a character from his past suddenly appears, the situation becomes a stark example of the complexity of life.
Platonic mentorship relationships between different generations of queer people are a relatable experience for many in the LGBTQ+ community, and it’s heartwarming to see an innocent, supportive relationship like this explored in a graphic novel format. In My brother’s husband the main character’s twin brother recently died, and much of the story is about their decades-long estrangement after the twin came out as gay, so in many ways Our colors appears to be Tagame telling the story of this brother, although it is not actually the same character. Sora’s intrinsic knowledge of his homosexuality in Our colors, but being forced to stay in the closet, reflects the experiences of many young gay men who know they are “different” from an early age, but need to keep that part of themselves inside. for a long time for reasons of safety, security, and acceptance. Although Our colors is a graphic novel, it’s definitely still in the gay male manga genre, a genre that’s often written by women or very overtly sexual, so it’s a nice change to have a gay Japanese guy writing a coming-of-age story. adulthood that focuses on identity, family, and friendship where sex or romance isn’t necessarily the focus.
My brother’s husband has become such a hit for obvious reasons, and it seems likely that Our colors will reach a similar audience and have a significant impact on its readers. Increased representation of queer identities in Japanese manga and throughout the comic world is needed to Our colors will be an important addition to the growing body of queer comics. Be sure to check out the new LGBTQ+ themed graphic novel Our colors by Gengoroh Tagame, author of the award-winning book My brother’s husbandwhen it debuts on June 14, 2022.
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Source: Penguin Random House
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