Friends With Boys - Page 156

FACE PUNCHING SCENE!!!!!!! As bad as I feel for Alistair getting the snot knocked out of him, this page was a lot of fun to draw. Fight scenes are hard and require planning, but they’re a nice change from talking scenes, which is most of Friends With Boys. I like hand drawn sound effects in fight scenes a lot, and I particularly like the one in the 4th panel. That one’s nice.

Couple of things: so good news, weekend readers who are sad about the lack of Friends With Boys updates on Saturday and Sunday, there will now be updates then! Yes, we’d decided to speed up the updates since the publication is soon, so the comic is now going to 7 days a week! Crazyness! I was actually pretty thrilled when changing the update schedule was suggested, as Saturday mornings are usually the only mornings I have for leisure internet browsing …. and usually they’re when the internet is pretty boring. No one updates on a Saturday. So it’ll be nice to have some action on the Friends With Boys site. I hope you guys will enjoy it too, and remember to check while in your jammies waiting for your pancakes to finish cooking. ;) So yeah, Friends With Boys, 7 times a week starting this weekend!

Oh, and again, if you’re enjoying the comic and have made up your mind you’d like to buy it, please do pre-order! Pre-orders are very important, and if you’d like to support the comic (and me! I like eating), please consider doing so. The information for pre-ordering (and links to various places where you can do so) can be found here.

I finally have a little time to write about my favourite comics of 2011 … comics that are not Fullmetal Alchemist. 2011 was definitely the year of Fullmetal Alchemist (I started reading it Christmas 2010), but I’ve already written plenty about that series. So these are the OTHER comics that I really enjoyed last year. Please click on the Read More if you’d like to … well, read more. ;)

So anyway, hands down, my favourite non-Fullmetal Alchemist comic of 2011 was ….

… Finder by Carla Speed McNeil!  Specifically Finder: Voice, the graphic novel first published this year.
I met Carla briefly at New York Comicon 2010. She was on a panel I was watching, and afterwards I wandered over to talk to her, saying I’d heard good things about her comics, but hadn’t read them (haha, I’m sure she loved hearing that, as all cartoonists do! Terrible). She mentioned that Dark Horse would be publishing the entire series in an omnibus format, so I thought it was high time I started buying her work. But first I got my paws on Voice. It’s not always the best thing, diving into the most recent volume from a long running series, but Voice entranced me. I felt like was like falling into another world, where I was sort of lost, but there was also a little bit of the familiar here and there, so I never felt … quite completely overwhelmed. Finder: Voice is about a teenage/young adult girl struggling to find her place in society, and wow, even though Rachel lives in this crazy science fictional universe with clans and domed cities and phones implanted in your hands … I really felt her journey in the sad little part of me that’s still a messed up teenage girl. There’s one line about being the thinnest girl in the room, and if you are, you win. (Win what?) It doesn’t matter, you just win. That really … just, yeah, wow. That just nailed something in me.
 Anyway, even if you’re not a teen girl and were never one, you’ll still love Finder: Voice because it is AWESOME COMICS.  I love character driven science fiction a lot (Pluto by Urasawa remains one of my favourite mangas of all time), and Voice was a startling good example of such. Characters moved through this vast futuristic cityscape and as you move through the city with them, it’s like you’re only peering at the tip of an iceberg and the rest of the story is covered by the ocean. It’s weird and fascinating and scary in parts … I really, really loved it.

The Finder Library books came out in 2011 as well (here’s number one, here’s number two), and I bought and enjoyed them both. It’s great to see an artist’s work grow and develop over time, but Carla kinda had it all since the beginning. Her artwork becomes incredibly assured and accomplished very quickly, and I felt myself get sucked into the story (there’s a particularly … hah, gruesomely truthful story on being a creator in volume 2). Really, really great comic making, and now that the entire story is in these great little omnibus editions, you have no excuse not to check them out. So do so!

Other comics I enjoyed:

Cross Game, by Mitsaru Adachi
I don’t give a crap about baseball, but this wistful sports manga actually made me care. The first volume is very slow moving (so slow that it took me a while to pick up the 2nd volume), but the story and characters grow on you a lot.

BPRD: Plague of Frogs, by Mike Mignola, Guy Davis et all

Like Finder, this is older work (although not a new re-issue), but it was still one of my favourite reads of 2011. I’ve been reading BPRD in trades for a while, but finally got around to buying the giant hardcover of the first Plague of Frogs story arc, and daaaaamn, is it good. And such a great way to read the stories, in that one very handy (and not very expensive) book! I don’t think I’ve ever  really talked about BPRD, but I really love it. I love the whole ‘team investigates the supernatural, is a little supernatural themselves’ set up,  and Guy Davis’s crazy drawings are just perfect (I’m very sad he’s apparently moved on from the book). If you tend a little more towards the horror side of things, you’ll dig this book. But honestly, I’m really not a horror person and I love it to bits. It just goes to show, if you have good writing and good characterization, you can even get people who aren’t really into your genre to read your genre book.

Hm, what else? Oh, Princess Knight! I really enjoyed this re-issue of Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga, up until about the final third of the story. Then the story went in a weird direction and disappointed me. Oh well. But the first two thirds of the story was great.

I also really liked A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori, and Saturn Apartments by Hisae Iwaka. There was only one volume of Ooku by Fumi Yoshinaga out this year, but I enjoyed it very much. Yoshinaga continues to be one of the most intelligent and provoking manga artists, and I wish we had more like her published in English. Seriously, can someone bring Planetes back into print, please? D:  20th Century Boys by my man Urasawa continues to be batshit insane, and I’m enjoying the crazy ride quite a bit. Hope the ending is as insane as the journey.

What I’m looking forward to in 2012: Raina Telgemeier’s new graphic novel Drama! Hope Larson’s graphic novel adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time! The conclusion of 20th Century Boys! Maybe getting a new Paul Pope comic? Hasn’t he been working on Battling Boy for about 12 years? That’s long enough!  Becky Cloonan & Brian Wood’s take on Conan! Finding something to replace the Fullmetal Alchemist shaped hole in my life? Man, I wish. DRAWING HUNDREDS OF PAGES OF COMICS!!!!

It’s gonna be a great year.

So what’d you enjoy in 2011?


48 Responses

  1. Megan says:

    Poor Alistair, but you literally made my weekend with the news of daily updates! I love it! One of the best things about my day!

  2. Eva says:

    You doing 7 updates a week has inspired me to pre-order! Because that’s really very nice of you and the comic is lovely and I want to support you.
    Amazing work so far! :)

  3. Derek says:

    Holy shit, faith. This page moves like a jet plane!

  4. Mandie says:

    Miss Faith, I really hope you continue to blog like this somewhere even after FWB is done! I love to hear about comics I might enjoy. Hoping to be an artist one day, I figure I should study up, but don’t know where to start.
    I also love your blogs about comic making processes, but I understand those would be harder to do when there are no longer comic pages to release on the net in this way.
    In summary, please keep blogging, and if you do, be sure to tell us about it!

    • Alyssa says:

      Faith’s blog is located here:

      Obviously, it hasn’t been updated since she’s been blogging here, but there are some really great entries in the archives to peruse.

      • Faith Erin Hicks says:

        Yeah, I don’t have the energy to blog about non-comic things when I’m blogging a LOT about comic stuff. :P I’ll probably set up a wordpress blog on my website once FwB is done, as LJ is horrible to use compared to WP.

      • Mandie says:

        Oh right! I am subscribed, but I forgot about it since FWB has been goin’ on.

        Sounds good, I’ll follow wherever you blog in the future :)

    • Faith Erin Hicks says:

      Thanks! I’ll try to. I’ve enjoyed blogging along with FwB, and hopefully I’ll have a reason to continue blogging about comics in some way once the comic is published.

  5. Candicity says:

    Those aren’t hugs… those aren’t hugs at all. D:

    Poor Alistair.

  6. WOAHO! This page is crazy dynamic! Loving the action lines ad the layout! Crazy, you just make me wanna buy the book NOW! Also, darn it’s a Friday!

  7. Mandy says:

    I just preordered Friends With Boys from Amazon (and bought Brain Camp and The War at Ellsmere while I was at it)! :)

  8. Chris Boyd says:

    I got a knot in my stomach the moment I saw this page. Intense!

  9. Erin says:

    YAY :D I can’t wait to see what happens next.
    I’d actually picked up Finer:Voice a few months back. I hadn’t realised that there were more books to the series. Now I’ll be bugging my local comic store about ordering your book and hers! :D I can’t wait.

    • Faith Erin Hicks says:

      Yay! The omnibus books are really interesting, and just suck you right in. Her art is a little shaky at the beginning, but matures-up so quickly. Amazing, considering the original Finder stories are quite old. They don’t feel dated at all, though.

  10. Scott Bieser says:

    Probably the best way to pick up back issues of the Finder books is to go to Carla’s site,, and order directly. Diamond is notoriously awful when it comes to back-orders, especially for “indie” books.

    • Faith Erin Hicks says:

      Actually, now that Dark Horse is publishing Finder in the omnibus format, the books are pretty easy to find! And you can pick them up online through various online retailers as well. It’s great to see a fantastic older indie comic become much more accessible. Hopefully it finds a larger audience.

  11. Arabia says:

    Wow! I thought Matt was just an asshole, but turns out he’s a psychopathic asshole!

    I feel sorry for any woman in his future. That’s one abusive maniacal mo-fo, there. *shudder*

  12. Robin says:

    Oh, I also loved Cross Game! And I picked up FMA on your recommendation and was very glad I did. I will definitely check out Finder and BRPD as well.

    This year I picked up a series called The Elsewhere Chronicles which was fantastic, and the art – so, so pretty. It’s by two one-namers: Nykko and Bannister.

    Other faves this year:
    Aya by Margureite Abouet/Clement Ouberie (and its two sequels)
    Hereville by Barry Deutsch
    Love*Com by Aya Nakahara

    • Faith Erin Hicks says:

      I haven’t heard of the Elsewhere Chronicles, is it manga?
      I enjoyed Aya and Hereville. Haven’t read Love*Com, but I liked High School Debut, which I think was similar.

      • Robin says:

        I think Elsewhere Chronicles was originally published in France? I’d never heard of the one-namers before I picked it up.

        And I’m now adding High School Debut to my list.

  13. Leo the Yardie Chick says:

    I can see it now – Matt is going to be one of those sad, sad little humans who peaked in high school, didn’t accomplish much afterwards, belittles people to uplift their own pathetic self-esteem, stays stuck in their glory days, and wonder why people stay as far from them as possible.

    • Arabia says:

      I’m actually predicting he’ll end up in jail someday. Inflated sense of self, delusions of grandeur, absolute disregard for the feelings and personhood of others, possessive and vengeful nature, hair-trigger temper, and nasty fighting skills (hits equally with left and right; actually appears to be holding Al down by the neck in last frame). Yeah, it’s not a good combination. Ewwww, Faith, I hope you don’t know someone like this in real life.

      • Leo the Yardie Chick says:

        Yes, jail would be a real possibility if he were real. Thankfully, he’s a two-dimensional character at the mercy of his maker’s eraser (mwahahahahaha! >=D). We have too many of these types in reality already.

      • Faith Erin Hicks says:

        Nah. Like anyone, I’ve known jerks and bullies, but I’ve never been on the receiving end of deliberate violence. Altho I was bitten by a dog …

    • Faith Erin Hicks says:

      Sadly, I don’t think so. Matt’s pretty popular and well-liked, as evidenced in the early pages of the comic. He’s one of those high functioning jerk bullies who only picks on those weaker than him. And unfortunately, I see behavior like that in highly competitive business environments. He might end up picking on the wrong person and face the consequence of that (I’m sure powerful people like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs were picked on as kids), but I think barring that kind of misstep, he might be a very successful adult. Unfortunately. But I won’t write that story, so who knows! ;)

      • staticgirl says:

        Yes but he’ll probably have a real bad drinking problem made worse by the cultures of the places he work at and suffer from liver problems at which point his poor wife will leave him for her massage therapist.

        You create some pretty good characters you do. They are so real!

  14. Justin says:

    I actually encountered the Finder books in reverse order (when there was only 4 printed). It’s already a complex story, and reading backwards to figure out who is who made it even more so. I loved it!

  15. Sarah says:

    Matt, sweetie, if you mess up your hands on Alistair’s face, it’s going to make it tough to play volleyball. And as “volleyball stud” seems to be the key to your identity, you may want to keep that in mind. (Dumbass…) ;)

    On that note, I just have to say that I love that the boys’ volleyball team is popular at this school. We don’t even HAVE boys’ volleyball around here, so it’s awesome to see it get some attention. … Even if the team is a bunch of jerks!

    • Faith Erin Hicks says:

      That’s always my first thought when I see fistfights in fiction: ow, that probably hurts your hand a lot!

      I’m a fan of picking something unexpected to be villainous. Evil sports teams are pretty cliche, but I’ve yet to see and evil volleyball team. I’ve seen volleyball players compete, tho, and it seems pretty vicious. Thought it’d be fun to make one the villain.

  16. Kelly says:

    Yay action! I mean I know I would see well drawn punches after reading “The War at Elesmere” but, aaaaawww they’re directed at Alistair :(
    Maybe Maggie will get her dad into it because thats just straight up assult and battery!

  17. Cal says:

    Sorry to be that guy and nit-pick and point out the smallest of details but isn’t Matt’s hair going in the wrong direction in the fight scene…. Sorry my OCD wouldnt let it go.

    Also B.P.R.D. is awesome, I can’t get enough of it!

    • Faith Erin Hicks says:

      It’s supposed to be following his movement. He’s got longish hair, so I’d imagine it swings around if he’s moving violently. He ties it back when he’s playing volleyball.

  18. K says:

    Oof. :( As much as I don’t want Al to get hurt, the illustration here is really dynamic and snappy. Well done. I love how intense the panel with Maggie and Lucy is. Their faces! Poor things. (Though I should suppose more of my sympathy should go to Alistair and his poor face.)

  19. Angela says:

    Aw. Lucy really tugs at my heartstrings there.

    I loved that BPRD volume, but seriously? So heavy! I will definitely get the next volume though. And getting the big volume gave me an excuse to gift a duplicate trade I had to my brother.

    I am tasking my boyfriend with pre-ordering FwB from my favorite comic shop (Comic Stop in U District, Seattle) as payment for picking him up from work at 11 tonight. I am really looking forward to pawing through this with my grubby little hands.

  20. Simon says:

    Awe. Some.

    I am loving the WHAMM as they fall to the floor.

  21. snapdragon76 says:

    Fight back, Alistair!!!

    And I’m so glad you’ll be updating everyday now. I was always sad to not see more pages on the weekends, so this will be good!!

    And I preordered my copy months ago! Looking forward to getting it soon!

    And I too recommend ‘A Bride’s Story.’ Mori-0sensei’s attention to detail is amazing!! I am in awe of her works, in this one and in ‘Emma’ her previous manga.

  22. reynard61 says:

    Called it.

  23. Shauna says:

    Wow Matt must be pissed, punching someone in the face hurts a lot. Frequently people end up breaking their hands/fingers that way.

  24. summersalts says:

    I bought the Finder Library books with my christmas money :) I am just in love with all of it. The first Finder story I read was Talisman, and I was hooked almost immediately.
    also, the page looks AWESOME

  25. Wynne says:


    You know, this is the first page of FWB I saw, and without the context you can see how Matt thinks he’s the hero in his own story and Alistair’s the bad guy. It’s kind of scary considering how psycho he is.

  26. staticgirl says:

    I like the sound of the Finder books.

    Plus fight scene – good arts!!!

  27. HOLY PUNCHY-FACE! Lookit that mohawk fly!

  28. Sporky says:

    The issue with Alistair really shook down Matt. I really pity Matt for all that rage inside of him to the point where he’d go out of his way to confront Al’s sis.
    This never happened to him in the past I guess and he doesn’t know how to react to it. Yet part of his confusion was pent up rage because what Al did was insulting to Matt. Would it have been different if Al really communicated his reasons earlier?

    I wonder if I got that right XD Anyway, I really like how you write school bullies like Matt, and Emily from War at Ellsmere.

Leave a Reply

Friend With Boys Blog

Recent Posts Check out each
comic page for
special blog content!

RSS Feeds

Comic Pages
Blog Posts

Check out the most recent page of Friends With Boys!

Friends With Boys, webcomic edition!

Hello readers, new ones just discovering the comic and those who’ve been with it since the beginning. Friends With Boys is now complete online. You may read it in its entirety, all 200+ pages, for free, for the next eight days. Then the image files of the comic (except for a short preview) will be taken down. While the comic was being serialized online, I blogged a lot about my comic making process. I did write ups about how I make comics, what my opinions on what makes a good comic are, and pointed out various Easter eggs throughout Friends With Boys. That stuff will all remain up, so if you buy a hard copy of Friends With Boys, you can still read along with my thought process.

And now (today!), Friends With Boys is a published book! Yay! I hope that if you’ve read the web version and liked it, and want to support me as a creator, you’ll consider buying the book.

I’ve really enjoyed serializing Friends With Boys online. If you’re new to my work, I started out making comics online before moving into print. I posted the very first page of my very first online comic on my very first website back in August, 1999, and wow, was that page ugly. Here it is! Notice a weird similarity to the first page of Friends With Boys? Yeah, that was not deliberate, I promise. But look how much your drawing skills can improve if you draw thousands of pages of comics over a ten year period! Anyway, I’m really thrilled my wonderful publisher First Second Books has allowed me to return to my roots and put Friends With Boys online as a lead up to its publication. As a reader and purchaser of comics, I have bought quite a few hard copy versions of online comics, because I enjoy the reading experience of having the whole thing collected, and I want to support the author. I hope you will too. :)

Otherwise, there are a few upcoming events I hope to see some readers at:
Book signing! At my local comics shop Strange Adventures, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 3rd (Saturday), 2-4pm (EDITING TO ADD: The book launch has been moved to the following Saturday due to the books not shipping to Strange Adventures on time. The launch will now be March 10th from 2-4pm. Go here for info).
Comic convention! I’ll have a table at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, May 6th-7th. There are a few other conventions I am trying to attend, but everything else is up in the air at the moment. For updates, please follow my twitter or join my Facebook fan page.  I’m pretty good about updating those two spots.

More Blog Posts...