Graphic novel The Con Artists by Irish LGBTQ+ creative is a must-read

Luke Healy's creation about the warped friendship between two gay men has received a wave of praise on its way to the bookshelves.

Split screen of a moody man in glasses looking into the distance and an illustration of a man waving on the street
Image: Dashiell Silva via Luke Healy instagram

Pop culture guru David Ferguson is back with a review of The Con Artists – the new graphic novel by the Irish LGBTQ+ creative Luke Healy.

I’m a fan of Luke Healy’s previous work, especially his graphic novel Permanent Press, which is one of my favourite graphic novels ever. He writes astute, funny, often autobiographical, stories that regularly include LGBTQ+ characters. So saying all that, I was expecting great things from his latest creation, The Con Artists, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The book tells the story of Frank, an aspiring comedian, who moves in to look after his friend, Giorgio, after the latter gets hit by a bus. Frank and Giorgio were childhood friends but are not particularly close at this point, meeting up only every six months, so most of what Frank knows about him comes from his social media presence. He soon learns that doesn’t appear to be the truth and that Giorgio’s life is a web of lies.

Worryingly, the situation triggers Frank’s anxiety as he soon gets dragged into Giorgio’s life. The book also deals with Frank’s attempts at being a stand-up comedian.

I really connected with the character of Frank and, speaking from experience, thought Luke Healy handled his mental health issues in a sensitive and believable way. Reading his other work, this is Luke’s skill as a cartoonist. He looks at the people, himself included, and the world around him and uses what he sees to create believable characters and situations. That’s what makes this book work for me. The whole thing is very believable.

I particularly liked that the story dealt with the friendship of two gay men. Both came from a similar backgrounds in Ireland but both are very different people. Frank is a quiet, anti-social guy who, like a lot of us, found it difficult to come out. Giorgio is a more outgoing type who found things far easier and blazed a trail all the way to London that his friend followed. And we have all heard of the types of scams that Giorgio is involved with and only know a lot of friends from what we see online! And it’s not all drama as Luke Healy manages to create a lot of humorous moments while dealing with some serious issues.

It is my favourite thing I’ve read in a long time.

Follow Luke Healy on Twitter to keep up-to-date with his work.

You can check out more of David Ferguson’s pop culture musings here.

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