Gay sports fans of the world, unite! Here’s a review of Casey at the Bat for you and it requires focus and athleticism! Although I would call myself athletic, I must admit that the focus is a bit lacking, these days, so I’d better sip on water and make this a…
This comic has a nice, clean vibe of authentic gayness with pretty much zero interest in “queerness”. In other words, my cup of tea. In an ocean of phony gay and (mostly) lesbian stories, this is a refreshing read. So, here we go.
Although sports are prominent in Casey at the Bat, romance aficionados can be sure to enjoy this comic, as the real core is love stories and friendships. Art is a bit lacking, but it works for the most part.
Author’s description of the comic
Casey at the Bat is a lighthearted look at life, live and sports through the eyes of Casey Wilkes, a young gay man in his late 20’s, living in New York City. A break-up with the love of his life finds him suddenly single and eager to start a new life.
His best friend, Dougie McDonagh suggests he join a team sport as a way o meet to people. Casey tries out for the local LGBT softball league and joins the Anvils team.
Will a new romance rise from the ashes of Casey’s past? Can he cut it in the rough and tumble world of gay athletics? Find out each week in an all new installment of Casey at the Bat!
Casey doesn’t start out as a champion, but as a fit guy who tries out local sports teams, failing rather miserably in his first attempts. He then gets better and better (especially at softball), while meeting new guys and making a bunch of them fall for him. Of course, his lost love Tom will come back to haunt him – will Tom and Casey ever get back together? Do we actually care? Yes, we do, because this lighthearted comic is so relaxing and sweet, it makes for a little gem that could be easily read and enjoyed by anyone – except homophobes, of course.
There is a variety of characters and a couple of side storylines. Most of them are well defined and have very specific traits, making each recognizable and unique. I will concentrate on Casey and his latest boyfriend, Wally, as their story shines through all.
A bit naive and oblivious (to his own charms), Casey is a good guy who seems unsure about what he really wants. Currently paired with Wally (yay for redheads!), he is struggling with misunderstandings and plain bad luck. A very likeable character, he is evolving (slowly but surely) into a more mature person, as you would hope for anyone after breaking up with someone a little overwhelming, as Tom seems to be. We get to know Casey slowly and very naturally, as he maneuvers around his new life and new and old friendships change.
Not much is known at the time of the writing about this character, except that he may have had a crush on Casey for a while (unbeknownst to Casey, of course), and that he just can’t seem to find the right jive with him. To complicate the situation even further, he travels a lot for his second job.
What I like about this character is that he’s believably puzzling. When he’s around Casey, he looks interested in him. However, when he’s away from Casey, he seems to be holding back (not calling enough, for example) in a way that reminds me all too well of actual people who just do that for no apparent reason.
Wally exemplifies the typical character from this comic: believable and with his own special quirks.
Plot, dialog and pacing
Casey at the Bat has a main storyline about Casey’s love life, alternating with recurrent themes, such as the annual building of the characters’ sports teams, comments on current/recent actual sports events, the annual Eurovision singing contest and, occasionally, political commentaries. The tone is always lighthearted, but never flat. A clever, fun and concise dialog carries the story effectively, inspiring a smile or laughter at the end of each page. There are also some touching moments, such as the marriage between two guys and the acceptance of one of them into his new spouse’s family. Given that same-sex marriage has been a very recent achievement in the US, it still gives lots of gays and lesbians much reason to go awww checks her teeth for sudden cavities Okay, too much sweetness will give me diabetes, so, moving on.
The weakest point of the comic is art, which is generally passable. The main issue I have is not so much with the anatomy, especially of three-quarter faces and the long necks, because the style is not exactly realistic, so we can give that a pass, but with the sameness of the (ever muscular) bodies. Everyone is also the same height! The only differences are in the shapes of the faces and, to some extent, the hairdos. Unfortunately, I had difficulties telling one apart from the other more often than I would have liked to. To Bob’s credit, art has been improving steadily, but these traits are still well visible.
If you are looking for a fun story (especially if you are a sports fan) with big, healthy, athletic gay guys and realistic romance, look no further: Casey at the Bat is a slice of life comic that will fulfill your wishes. Highly suggested even if you are not into sports!
© 2017, Infected Blood Comics