Comic Critique Saturdays: 14 Nights

14 nights

Didn’t have many anon asks this week so here have a back up Comic Critique I made!  It’s another comic I love to death.  So sorry if you were wishing for more of my angry sputtering.

First Impression: I believe I came across a project wonderful ad for on the starfigher website for 14 nights. I clicked on it because I was in ~bad webcomic zone~ and thought this would fit. I remember reading through the beginning and thinking, “Wait a sec the overweight guy with a disability is the main character? HELL TO THE YES!”

Art: I enjoy it. I think the work with black/white is masterful. They use it in a lot of different ways and it helps with the multiple moods/settings/etc of the comic.I ‘ve always had trouble balancing the two so it’s impressive to me.

The dream sequences are surreal and bizarre but usually you can pull a bit about how Lucian is dealing with things out of the mess. To be frank I don’t take dreams that make 100% sense seriously in a comic because I’ve never had a sensical dream myself. I think the choices are interesting, and I found the dream sequence with the futuristic setting and train to be drop dead gorgeous.

I hear a lot of people don’t read this comic because of the style. I personally don’t understand it that. Sometimes they make odd choices about colorization and exaggeration yet it never personally rubbed me the wrong way. The style is flamboyant at times with big goofy open mouths with a big set of crooked teeth which I guess may turn people off, but I can’t imagine stop reading a comic because of a stylistic choice. I think the big goofy teeth (usually used by Nikita) adds to the character, I will go into that more when I get to characters. Only thing that bothers me about the stylization is sometimes the fingers look real stiff.

Story:

Beautiful! It’s a story of two outcasts trying to connect to each other despite the confusions they have about themselves and the world around them.

To sum up Nikita is a Russian Immigrant unhappy with everything around him and has a closeted boyfriend for awhile. He then meets a man named Lucian and they start a seemingly sweet relationship but it comes to a halt.

Why’s that?

Lucian is afraid of sex. He wasn’t molested, he wasn’t broken he just says he isn’t into sex despite the times he tried. Despite this Lucian wants to continue a relationship with Nikita so they agree to a 14 day contract. For 14 days they will engage in some kind of sex/intimacy and if after those days Lucian still isn’t into sex they break apart.

One of the things that make this comic so great is the fact that it’s not clear cut. Is Lucian just asexual? Well perhaps but there are hints here and there that he has sexual feelings, he just doesn’t know how to DEAL with them. Is it pushy that Nikita’s sister drags Nikita into parties and tries to set him up with guys? Perhaps but she’s trying to help him, make him make new friends feel accepted. Slowly but surely the two of them seem to better connect to one another and the crazy world around them but not without hitches.

Despite being very flawed the characters of Nikita and Lucian I think are hugely sympathetic and I personally identify with them both very easily.

Characters:

Nikitia – Can be brash, obnoxious, insecure and a seemingly ungrateful pushy guy. YET it’s easy to understand his frustrations. He’s insecure about his weight, he’s insecure about his disability, he was very insecure about his English speaking for awhile. He’s frustrated with his sister, he’s frustrated he cannot get the job he wants, he’s frustrated dealing with romantic relationships. You may not be able to understand him on certain things, but it’s hard not to find something in his jumbled life that doesn’t remind you of your own insecurities or frustrations. While he doesn’t always deal with these situations well, he usually brings a level of amusing sass to the stuff he faces and by god it’s entertaining. Who likes jokes about masturbation and flamboyant gay sass? THIS GUY!

Lucian – Lucian is a much harder character to pin down. He’s cagey, hugely introverted, and overly sensitive. It makes a lot of sense that the author uses dream sequences to play out Lucian since getting anything out of him is a chore. Sometimes he’s a hard character to like because you’re sitting there going, “Come on just SAY how you feel about it! Stop hiding from him and yourself!” Unlike Nikita’s brash openness about his sexuality Lucian is the flip side of the coin to the point he doesn’t know ANYTHING about his own sexuality and he doggedly tries to avoid learning about it a lot of the time. He also at a point where he just doesn’t like dealing with authority/co-workers because of how it belittles him and he’s bucking against that as well. He reminds me a bit of a teenager in both those respects.

As a couple – Very HUGELY different characters that make a bizarre but entertaining pair to watch. (If I haven’t’ said before I’m a sucker for opposites attract!) Nikitia is highly confused by Lucian sexuality at the beginning but (like a good partner) he does his best to understand. He also tries to introduce Lucian in baby-steps to sexuality despite what a horse’s ass Lucian can be about it. It’s just so nice to see a couple where the one respects the other’s boundaries and is patiently working to help him understand himself. It’s a very original, very mysterious set up and it keeps dragging you in!

Conclusion:

14 nights is one of THE BEST gay romance comics on the market right now! Between this comic and Red Lantern they share my top spot for favorite webcomics. It is a very different story about very unorthodox characters but it gets you invested in the characters and pulls at your heart-strings wonderfully.

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16 Responses to Comic Critique Saturdays: 14 Nights

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