This pride month it’s a fine time to look back on personal favorites that helped expand the horizons of comics. “Rock and Riot” by Chelsey Furedi is a wonderful webcomic that ran from early 2015 to late 2017 and followed three fictional teen gangs in the 1950’s. These three gangs, the Jaquettes, the Rollers, and the Bandits face off for highschool turf and members while discovering themselves within the confines of gender and sexuality norms in the 1950’s.
Originating on Tumblr before eventually moving to its own hosting site, this comic developed a large and devoted community that is represented within the story. Many background characters are real fans of the comic, who paid to be drawn into the pages, and this aspect of the comic only strengthens its realism. The main cast of the story is widely varied in its diversity, as it follows three different groups: the girl gang the Jaquettes, the boy gang the Rollers, and the nonbinary gang the Bandits. Within these each group has its own stories to tell, from the transgender girl Rolly who left the Rollers for the Jaquettes to the love story between two of the Rollers’ members, and each is told with grace and humor. Despite the light-hearted and comedic nature of the story, “Rock and Riot” successfully captures the essence of growing up in a time period that doesn’t have room for you, and finding a home within your own community.
“Rock and Riot” not only has charm in its inclusive story, but in its artwork as well. Like many webcomics, the style has changed over the course of it’s run but it employs a handsome style with even better coloring. Late in the run of the comic, a colorist was hired for the final chapters of the story and ultimately improved the artwork of the story.
All in all, this is a story that tackles the struggle of young love and coming out with effective writing and execution. With the advantage of containing perspectives of not only its author but the community this comic developed, it successfully creates a genuine and heartwarming story about the LGBT+ experience. This pride month, consider checking it out on Tapastic or its hosting site.