Friday 26th December 2014,
Comic Booked

Review: The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal

Tatiana Christian 01/06/2013 Reviews
TJ and Amal

TJ and Amal

I discovered The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal while searching for webcomics about fantasy-adventure last week, and made a note to come back and really dive in. And I’m so glad I did. The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal is probably one of the best comics I’ve ever read – web or otherwise. The story follows Amal, a gay Indian-American, who calls off his arranged marriage and is then disowned after coming out to his parents. He decides to set out on a road trip from California to see his sister graduate from Brown. Along the way he picks up TJ, who offers to pay for everything during their trip to Providence, Rhode Island.

There are so many wonderful things about TJ and Amal :

TJ and Amal

TJ and Amal

- The art is definitely some of the best I’ve seen in a webcomic. Certain chapters are done in full color and have completely blown me away. But even the typical black and white is breathtaking. E.K. Weaver’s work is in such meticulous detail, you feel like you’re visiting all the same places TJ and Amal travel to. Between the buildings, the sprawling trees, and even Amal’s iPod – everything just feels real. Even the lettering is pure perfection – better than some of the stuff I’ve seen in comics at my LCS. It’s obvious that not only is Weaver’s imagination rich, but she puts a lot of thought into her work.

- The dialogue and the characterization is grounded and organic. Reading through the various exchanges between not just TJ and Amal, but everyone coaxed me into the story; the way people talk to each other was fluid and realistic. Often times I come across comics where the dialogue sounds forced, like it’s not the way people would actually speak to each other. And since dialogue is such an integral aspect of characterization, Weaver’s dialogue helps provide depth to her characters.

Often times, I feel like stories about real life are difficult to create because in some ways, nothing is happening. There’s no great prophecy to fulfill, no lost treasure to be found and no one is being tracked down by a legendary villain – it’s just about normal people, doing normal things. And Weaver’s story captures the sheer normalcy of life: the way Amal cringes at a potential racist encounter in a Waffle House, the bond between two people that often leads to sex, or pulling over to the side of the road to stare at a star-filled sky.

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal is truly a fantastic webcomic and I highly recommend it.

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About The Author

Hi! I'll be helping to write indie and webcomic reviews for the site!! (Webcomics are now my new addiction!) My current fave series to read are Bedlam, Morning Glories and Saga (omg!). I've also had stories in anthologies : Womanthology by Renae de Liz, The Gathering by Grayhaven Comics and a forthcoming anthology Skin Crawling Comics by Rachel Pandich.

  1. kcassidy 01/06/2013 at 8:08 pm

    The artwork on this webcomic is amazing. Looking at the first 10 or so pages I'm in awe of the detail with light levels of shading and penciling. The story itself seems to be a coming-of-age story, which is kind of nice. Yes, not a 13-year-old coming of age, but the trials and tribulations of reality today in various families who see things as… embarrassing. Not to be spoken of. (A family member is experiencing something like this in my own life, and he's doing his best to deal with it.) I'll come back to this for the artwork alone – but it's a bonus that the writing itself seems to be top-notch as well!

    • parisianfeline 01/06/2013 at 8:11 pm

      Yes!! It's soooo good. Hah. I love it! :D

      It's interesting that you note it as a coming of age! I like this idea that coming of age can really be for anyone, not just teenagers. You don't suddenly "discover" yourself (come to terms with who you really are) by 18 or 21 or whatever. So this is awesome. Though, I'm not entirely sure how old TJ and Amal are supposed to be. Early 20s I guess?

      Either way, SO happy I found this web comic!! :]

  2. jeffhillwriter 01/14/2013 at 3:24 am

    Looks like something that actually has something to say, not just the typical snarky comments seen in most web comics. Good find!

  3. Sylvan 03/26/2013 at 12:49 pm

    Just fifty pages in, very little has happened and yet I am completely hooked. The pacing is daring as hell in an era of impulse, the characters are given so much room to breathe and fill the space with their personalities. TJ and Amal feel like real people, the way they meet up and slowly feel out the friendship feels just right. I would not be surprised to see this comic get optioned at some point, maybe to Joss Whedon or another director with a penchant for snappy dialogue. Fantastic, with none of the obvious potential for letdown that has plagued other webcomics I've followed (I used to recommend Girl Genius, then the entire thing descended into a slush of creepy wish fulfillment for Kaja Foglio). Five Stars, Ten out of ten, thumbs up, awesome comic, great job.

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