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Boys Be Volume One
posted March 15, 2005

Creators: Itabashi Masahiro, Tamakoshi Hiroyuki
Publishing Info: Tokyopop, $9.99, 2004
Ordering Numbers: 1595320997 (ISBN)

imageThis is a book about impossibly hot young women and the dorks that find themselves in position to lust after them. Among the stories, there's one stick in the mud type who has to negotiate his adorable new club-hopping girlfriend with his desire to participate in an athletic club, another that introduces his surprisingly interested female friend to sexualized cosplay, and in probably the most memorable story, a guy who has a hot girl from school visit during the holidays drunk and half-dressed where she proceeds to jump into a Santa outfit and ride him around the room while he wears a reindeer costume. The description of that last one is better than the actual story; it may be better than any comic story ever. But when I say that in the course of critically looking at the book I mean this: although the comics are professionally done, very slick, the appeal here seems to be the novelty that any comic would so wholeheartedly engage with teenage lust. The consistent and straightforward attention to heaving breasts and panty shots plays like the teenaged soap opera TV show going on in the heads of the middle school guys watching them rather than what you might see on the shows themselves. Although there's some humor present -- the ending line from the girl in the Santa outfit made me laugh -- it's mostly a ratcheting up of several dubious stereotypes rather than even toying with them; so much so, in fact, that some of the stories with a slightly broader emotional palette quickly fade from memory.