Rainy Day Recess
by David Kelly
Rainy Day Recess is right up my alley. It is an auto-bio comic (of sorts) that covers slice of life scenarios about a “different” kid growing up. Oh yeah, the main character, Steven, is gay.
I’m not gay (although my love of boy bands and footwear has my wife wondering from time to time). But that in no way diminished my love of this comic. And I think it is important to state that. Often times I hear people say that they don’t want to read something or watch something because it is not “about” them. Yet these are the same people who slap down good money for comics about mutants and cyborgs, or who watch movies involving spaceships or time-traveling hot tubs (not that there is anything wrong with that). So why is it that they feel that a comic about a gay character cannot be enjoyable just because they haven’t done “that”?
Steven is a fourth grade boy who is discovering that he is not like the other kids. Hmmmmm.. How many of us have felt like that? He finds that, when everyone else is buying the Spider-Man or Superman action figures, he wants the Wonder Woman one. I distinctly remember wanting the Scarlet G.I. Joe action figure (she had the awesome crossbow!), but worrying that everyone would make fun of me. For me, Steven was very much like me growing up. The only difference was that he was discovering that he liked boys.
But even that is not so far out of the realm of understanding/experience. Those first feelings of attraction are a confusing jumble of not knowing why you are feeling what you are feeling, and wondering how it is you are supposed to do something about them (without everyone laughing and making fun of you). Ste has the added difficulty of not having any examples of boys who like boys.
Overall, Rainy Day Recess is a fun book that explores a quirky and confusing time in a boy’s life. In an entertaining and effective way it reassures the reader that they are not alone in the strange times that were growing up. And, for those readers who are gay and who are struggling with the confusion of it all, it offers the reassurance that things do get better. There are flash-forward moments to the grown-up Steven interacting with people and sharing a laugh and a smile about a situation that, as a child, would have been nerve-wracking.
Next time you are at your favorite comic shop, give Rainy Day Recess a look. And, while you are there, why not look at other books that you might have passed over because they seemed too different from your own experience. Who knows what you might discover!