Trashy Dudes And Banana Hammocks: Should You Be Reading ‘Rainbow Mansion’? [Pride Week]
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
What if RuPaul's Drag Race fused with Big Brother? What if a webcomic about a reality show actually acted like a reality show --- with voting influencing the direction of the strip? Rainbow Mansion answers both these questions while being both impeccably drawn and tremendously funny.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Josh Moreau, a single dad who wants to spice up his life, comes up with an idea for a fake, trashy reality show about gay dudes in a mansion. Against his better judgment, his misanthropic friend Justin --- who looks like if Neil Gaiman and Kat Von D had a trashy baby --- signs up for the show.
Competing alongside those two are Christian drag queen Eddie "Essie" Parker, drug-dealing douchenozzle and John Cena look-alike Vaughn, pot-smoking Swede Sven, deaf cutie Asan, and several others. Presided over by reluctant host Dot, the guys --- and sole lesbian contestant Maura --- compete in all sorts of challenges to impress the audience and see who wins on Rainbow Mansion.
WHO'S IT BY?
Rainbow Mansion is written and drawn by Wanda Walker, who has been writing constantly since the age of eight and recently published the novels Until It Hurts and The King and The Courtesan. Rainbow Mansion's cast are parody versions of original characters created by Walker in stories collected on her FictionPress account.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Drawings of sexy gay dudes are nothing new here on God's Green Internet. Ditto webcomics of same. But Rainbow Mansion stands out for its racially diverse, body diverse cast. We get to see --- especially in the current storyline at the time of this writing involving a swimsuit challenge --- what makes each of these people attractive (and lord, can Walker draw the heck out of some attractive people). But that doesn't mean they're without flaws.
And it's everyone's flaws --- Justin's complete antipathy to others, Vaughn's bro-ness, Josh's desperation to be seen as so fun that he forgets to mention he has a kid (who he snuck into the house) --- that are what give the strip its humor. Walker knows her way around a punchline, and has some fantastic sight gags that pay off well.
Also, readers really can vote on which character leaves the mansion after each "episode," adding a nice competitive element that acknowledges the strip's roots in reality TV.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Anyone who's wondered, "What if all the dopes on Big Brother were gay?" Fans of Dumbing of Age, Something Positive, and other webcomics with large, inclusive casts and caustic humor. People who watch The Bachlorette ironically. And people who don't.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?