DDADDS

“5 for the Fandom” is a weekly feature from ComicsVerse. Every week, we pick a fandom and recommend five comic series that relate back to it due to similar themes, art styles, or sense of humor. This week, we’re looking at DREAM DADDY: A DAD DATING SIMULATOR (or DDADDS for short). And we’re checking out a host of other content focused on queer men.

If you’ve been on Tumblr at all in the last few months, you have undoubtedly heard of DREAM DADDY: A DAD DATING SIMULATOR (a.k.a. DDADDS). Produced by the Game Grumps, DDADDS is a dating simulation game where you play as a single father looking to romance the other dads in your cul-de-sac. There are seven dateable dads, ranging from your old college roommate to the eccentric punk guy chasing cryptids. The game has been praised for its excellent sense of humor, its non-fetishizing celebration of queer men, and the way it embraces diversity. For instance, over half the characters are people of color and one of the dads is canonically trans. All in all, it’s a super fun game.

READ: For the ComicsVerse review of DREAM DADDY, click here!

We at ComicsVerse have compiled a list of comics that reminds us of DDADDS. If you played through the game but find yourself craving more, check out these awesome titles, all centered around queer men-identifying characters:

1. THE BACKSTAGERS by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh

DDADDS
Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

When DDADDS first came out, I had finally just realized that I was a trans man. As a plus-sized bisexual, I couldn’t find much trans male or gay male representation that fit me. So when I got to that character customizer in DDADDS and found out that you could make a plus-sized and/or trans player character, I was ecstatic. In the game, characters have a range of body types, from scrawny goth to big ol’ bear. It shows that there’s more to the gay male community than your average white twink.

Another series that does a great job with body diversity is THE BACKSTAGERS. Created by James Tynion IV and Rian Sygh, this BOOM! Studios comic focuses on the stage crew for the musicals at an all-boys high school. While exploring below the theater, the crew discovers a strange dimension filled with monsters. However, when they try to inform others about it, nobody listens, because everyone always ignores stage crew.

READ: Not yet convinced on the awesomeness of THE BACKSTAGERS? Here’s another writer’s rave review of the first volume!

Almost the entire cast of THE BACKSTAGERS is LGBTQIA+, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main romance is between a shy black bi guy and a tall, plus-sized white gay guy. One of the other crew members is trans, and there’s a femme cis boy who is significantly shorter than the trans boy (relieving some of that height dysphoria, thank you, Sasha!). Plus, with a story centered mostly on exploring a fantasyscape, all of these characters come across as adventurous heroes no matter how they look. If you, like me, are looking for more media about queer guys who don’t all look the same, THE BACKSTAGERS has your back.

THE BACKSTAGERS has completed its run, but you can find all eight issues of the comic here.

2. WUVABLE OAF by Ed Luce

DDADDS
Image courtesy of Fantagraphics Books.

DDADDS has one of the only bear characters in fiction that I can think of who isn’t a one-off joke. Another rare example is the protagonist of Fantagraphics’ WUVABLE OAF, created by Ed Luce. WUVABLE OAF centers around the daily hijinks of Oaf Jadwiga as he tends to his army of rescue cats and tries to find love in the big city. Oaf and many of his friends are large, tough, and hairy gay men who go to heavy metal concerts and wrestle. (In fact, one recent comic has a bald eagle-themed wrestler punching Donald Trump in the face). Also, Oaf’s main love interest has a band with vinyl singles that often accompany a purchase of the latest issue of the comic. This allows for a multimedia reading experience that is rare to find in comics.

If you had a thing for DREAM DADDY’s Brian or if you felt super represented by him, you should absolutely check out WUVABLE OAF. It’s filled with bear culture and has a super fleshed out romance plot. For anyone worried they won’t find love due to their size, this heartwarming and witty comic is super empowering. Plus, there are adorable pets everywhere. What’s not to love?

WUVABLE OAF currently has two collected volumes, and Ed Luce continues to work on the series. You can purchase the Fantagraphics volumes here.

READ: For another hairy man who fights bears of a different sort, check out our review of SHIRTLESS BEAR FIGHTER #1!

3. CHECK, PLEASE! by Ngozi Ukazu

DDADDS
Image courtesy of Ngozi Ukazu.

For those of you who appreciated the outdoorsy interests of some of the Dream Dads, definitely check out CHECK, PLEASE! Written by Ngozi Ukazu, this webcomic centers around a college ice hockey team and all the drama and romance that comes along with that team’s camaraderie. The plot centers on newcomer Eric “Bitty” Bittle, the protagonist of the story, vlogs with updates about his team as he goes from freshman year of college through graduation. As such, the comic itself is formatted horizontally to resemble YouTube videos.

LISTEN: Check out CV’s podcast episode all about queer representation in comics!

CHECK, PLEASE! also encourages audience participation in the way that only a webcomic could. Bitty has his own Twitter account (managed by Ukazu, of course) where he adds new plot and character info via tweets and even responds to readers’ questions. This makes the characters feel significantly more real, allowing fans to follow Bitty’s growing romance with team captain Jack Zimmerman over the years as if it’s happening in real time.

Subsequently, CHECK, PLEASE! has a huge fan following online. In fact, Ukazu’s two Kickstarter for print editions of the comic each raised quadruple the funds it was originally going for. If you enjoyed supporting Craig coach his soccer team in DDADDS, here’s a comic all about sporty guys and the men they love.

CHECK, PLEASE! is still ongoing (though close to completion). You can find the whole comic online here, and you can get the first print volume here.

4. THE LESS THAN EPIC ADVENTURES OF TJ AND AMAL by E.K. Weaver

DDADDS
Image courtesy of E.K. Weaver.

Another series with a fun, gay take on macho tropes is E.K. Weaver’s webcomic THE LESS THAN EPIC ADVENTURES OF TJ AND AMAL. Sometimes referred to as “<EPIC,” this comic is a road trip story with two traveling companions who fall in love. One of our heroes is Amal, a med student who just broke off his marriage and came out as gay to his parents. After getting disowned, he gets super drunk, meets up with a mysterious vagrant named TJ, and decides to drive cross-country with him. They follow a real route, and the artwork details tons of actual locations you can visit in the U.S.

<EPIC starts out with a coming-out plot (a tired cliché in gay media); however, it quickly switches genres to bring all the gay subtext of buddy comedies to the surface. The characters have some great interactions and a solid friendship as a base for whatever relationship they choose to take. If you’re a sucker for bromance-turned-romance, take a look at THE LESS THAN EPIC ADVENTURES OF TJ AND AMAL.

THE LESS THAN EPIC ADVENTURES OF TJ AND AMAL finished its story in 2014. You can find the whole comic online here. The story has also been collected into three volumes and an epilogue comic, plus an omnibus. Check it out at the online store.

READ: For more on TJ AND AMAL, take a look at our interview with E.K. Weaver!

5. THE WICKED + THE DIVINE by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

DDADDS
Image courtesy of Image Comics.

 

Though more serious than the rest of the comics on this list, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE is a fantastic comic. Published by Image with writing by Kieron Gillen and art by Jamie McKelvie, THE WICKED + THE DIVINE is a series about deities reincarnated in human form. These twelve gods, called The Pantheon, take on human lives once every 90 years, granting the humans they merge with superpowers and pop star fame. However, they each only have two years to live.

The series has received a lot of praise for its numerous LGBTQIA+ characters. Some of the gods and goddesses have reincarnated to a different gender. They often play around with gender and sexuality, as can be seen in the Prince-esque Inanna, a glam male incarnation of the Sumerian goddess. Over the course of the comic, many characters have hooked up with people of multiple genders, and most of the Pantheon does not label their sexuality. If you loved the fluid identity of the player character in DDADDS or if you enjoyed Mat’s concert dates, you should check out THE WICKED + THE DIVINE. We could always use more queer and trans characters rocking out on the concert stage.

THE WICKED + THE DIVINE is ongoing, with 31 issues out so far. You can collect all the issues or the five published volumes from Image’s website here.

READ: Here’s why you should be reading THE WICKED + THE DIVINE!

Honorable Mention: SCOTT PILGRIM by Bryan Lee O’Malley

DDADDS
Image courtesy of Oni Press.

Ok, so SCOTT PILGRIM isn’t anywhere near as gay as the others, but I’m putting it here anyway. Bryan Lee O’Malley’s SCOTT PILGRIM series, published by Oni Press, is a romantic comedy that follows video game logic. The title character, Scott, must defeat his love interest Ramona’s seven evil exes in combat in order for the two to date. It’s absurd: when beaten, enemies release coins, and you can gain psychic powers by going vegan.

SCOTT PILGRIM has a quirky, bizarre sense of humor that I have rarely seen elsewhere — except for DDADDS, which has it in spades. Both series play around with the video game format. There are booming announcer voices with ridiculous comments. Completely mundane activities like playing the bass or bragging about your daughter become actual battles. There are even spoofs of the concert scene, with silly band names like PILGRIM’s Sex Bob-omb and the Skammunist Manifesto in DDADDS.

Especially if you enjoy Mat’s route in DDADDS, you will love SCOTT PILGRIM. Even if you don’t read the books, at least see the movie, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. It’s not quite as good since the books force Scott to take accountability for his crappy actions. However, the film captures the tone and humor of the comics perfectly, so it’s a wonderful intro to the series.

The final volume of SCOTT PILGRIM (SCOTT PILGRIM’S FINEST HOUR) was published in 2010. The series spans six volumes, and there are full-color variants of each volume. You can find the SCOTT PILGRIM books here.

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