First off, I must warn you that The Less-than-Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal is not safe for work. As in, there are penises. There is also some marijuana use. (NSFW warnings are in the comic’s drop-down menu.)
I started reading TJ and Amal because I’d come across the author’s Cowboy Bebop page, Somewhere Down the Crazy River (which coincidentally has a photo of Bette Davis on it!). Way after I bookmarked it, I somehow found my way to the TJ and Amal comic and started reading.
Just a week ago I discovered that the author & artist, E.K. Weaver, is a woman. My exact reaction was: “WHAT THE F– it’s a woman?? I thought it was a man!”
The reason I thought this was that the story deals with two gay guys – free spirit TJ and just-out-of-the-closet Amal. (Can a lady write that story, too? I mean, I assume a woman could write a story about two gay guys, but since I am neither gay nor a guy, maybe I’m not qualified to make that judgment.)
I didn’t think I’d particularly like TJ and Amal, since I’m a straight lady who doesn’t go for yaoi stuff, and I also don’t go for sex scenes of any orientation. But, besides the great artwork and flawless execution, this comic is really, really charming. There are some really funny moments, and some genuinely touching ones.
The story moves very slowly (since they’re driving cross-country), and so I’m really looking forward to when TJ and Amal actually get to their destination. What drama will transpire? What songs will TJ sing next?
Art-wise, the character design is inspired by anime, and Weaver herself has said TJ’s design was influenced by Spike from Cowboy Bebop. The overall look is a pleasing blend of Eastern and Western comics, though – anime-inspired characters in a Western world. On her About page, Weaver describes her process: she scans pencil-drawn panels that she compiles into pages in Photoshop. (It’s great for me when authors and artists talk about their process, because it’ll help me if/when I do the same thing myself some day.)
Another thing I like about this comic is the sketchy pages at the end of each chapter. They usually have something cute and “extra”, and they’re just fun.
So if you’re over 18, head on over and view some Less that Epic Adventures!