Lovefool 11.13.12 | A Love Most Modern

Cheeks and Brady are just two dudes in love and working that out through time and space in Husbands, Dark Horse’s new digital comic based on the webseries by Jane Espenson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Brad Bell.


Oh, nerdlings. As we all know, I am fascinated with modern love. Love right now, today, possibly even tomorrow, the evolution of love as we know it. And, of course, love itself probably doesn’t change much but the trappings, the expressions, the legalities…? They certainly change. I mean, back in the day, some idiot could’ve come along and kidnapped me or bought me from my dad or whatever but that’s not necessarily how it works anymore. Besides, can you imagine how pissed off some royal jerk would’ve been had he ended up trading his lands and sheep and whatever was traded for ladies eight hundred years ago for me? I know, theoretically, I would be meek and ladylike and embroider stuff but…well. I feel it’s unlikely I would’ve sat still long enough to hand-stitch a banner with a dove on it or some nonsense. I digress, though. The point is that things are different now.
But still not different enough, in my opinion, since I can decide who I want to marry but gay and lesbian couples can’t. I’ve made it perfectly clear, previously, that I think it’s ridiculous that it’s even a question, a debate. Love is love and a couple is a couple, as Jane Espenson and Brad Bell’s hilarious webseries Husbands reminds us. Of course, the couple in question is made up of Cheeks, a struggling-ish actor, and Brady Kelly, a totes famous baseball player. These two crazy kids end up getting drunkenly married while in Vegas celebrating marriage equality with Haley, who is also a struggling thespian and Cheeks’ best friend. She’s also got a bit of a drinking problem but has really, really great hair and I have half of that down so, naturally, I completely identify with her. After a few moments of alternate panic and being very, very reasonable, Cheeks and Brady decide to give their marriage a proper shot, despite only having dated for six weeks, so that marriage equality doesn’t end up dealing with the fallout a super high profile annulment would bring. Especially not after the bad press they get when they get filmed coming out of the wedding chapel, obviously drunk and half-naked and antagonizing middle America. But along the way, they kind of start to think that maybe this silly idea, being married to each other, isn’t so silly after all. Besides, Cheeks—icon, cabaret singer and man with no filter except the ones on Instagram—is a press disaster on his own. It’s okay. As soon as he stops being a disaster for marriage equality, he starts right in on being one for Brady, the half of the couple who signed a contract with a morality clause, albeit one with a bit of a double standard. And you should just go watch it because Husbands the comic, which I swear I’m getting to, is a continuation of the webseries.
Espenson is largely known for her work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show I’ve suddenly decided to explore (oh, who’s that knocking at my door shouting about collecting my nerd card?) [I think it’s your Fearless Editor.—JG,FE], and Torchwood and a Hugo winner. Bell is…well, he’s actually kind of Cheeks. No, really, Cheeks is Bell’s formerly YouTube-only alter-ego. And Cheeks is, underneath the glam fabulousity he exudes from every pore, incredibly thoughtful and funny and articulate. Bell-as-Cheeks delivers some amazing social commentary, both in Husbands and in his original work, but in a hilarious way, which is fairly sneaky. You howl laughing first and then there’s that light bulb moment. (But you end up thinking longer.) This amazing collaboration translates very well to the comic that they’ve done with Dark Horse, which is actually what I’m supposed to be talking about, not how much I laughed when Cheeks and Brady had a very serious conversation about how their Sleep Numbers would translate to their relationship.
(I laughed a lot, by the way, enough that Mr. J huffed and took his book upstairs.)
Husbands the comic is drawn by a rotating cast of artists that are perfectly matched to the subject of their books, including Ron Chan, who draws a mean Space Age and sets the tone for some pretty great art. Indie comics darlings Natalie Nourigat, M.S. Corley, Ben Dewey, and Tania del Rio round out the cast. Our tale starts with Cheeks and Brady opening their wedding presents with a little help from Haley—make sure you watch for the Lady Gaga/Madonna joke—and opening a custom comic book based on themselves, which of course, turns into a portal that lands them in some sort of great superhero parody where, possibly because he’s writing it, Cheeks gets all the good lines and ends up being the person who points out the moral ambiguity of their particular situation, which Aub at Dark Horse asked us very nicely not to spoil. The first three issues are out, anyway, and available at Dark Horse Digital and you should watch the show and read the comics and send me an email thanking me for the time you spend doing that. I, in the meantime, will be keeping my eyes peeled for the promised “high school romp” because, please, that is also my thing.
(I can, however, tell you that the next issue has Cheeks and Brady battling their way out of a situation where it’s seemingly impossible for them to ever, ever ride off into the sunset, together and as equals despite their absurdly unequal starting points, and wearing chickens, borrowed from Haley, who just happens to be passing by and shipping them so hard. And, between that and the fanfiction remark in the webseries, it’s clear that the Whedonverse knows what you’re doing with it, nerdlings, so consider yourself warned.)
Either way, Husbands, webseries and comic, is pretty much the most modern of modern love stories so, naturally, I’m completely in love with it, but it doesn’t play itself off like that at all. The series is funny and real and Cheeks and Brady are just two dudes in love and working that out, and the comic is a little more fantastic but our heroes still manage to convey that warmth and affection that permeates the webseries. Funnybook Cheeks and Brady are just two dudes in love and working that out through time and space. Would that we all manage to work it out so happily. | Erin Jameson

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