Review: Breaks Volume 1 (Soaring Penguin Press)

Emma Vieceli and Malin Ryden’s LGBTQA+ love story, from Soaring Penguin Press is a perennial favourite here at Pipedream Comics, but we realised we had never taken the chance to review it! So with a new year starting we felt it was about time to rectify this and caught with this wonderful webcomic.

Publisher: Tapas/Soaring Penguin
Writer: Malin Ryden
Artist: Emma Vieceli
Price: Free at https://tapas.io/series/BREAKS or £15.99 for volume at www.soaringpenguinpress.com


Breaks tells the story of Cortland Hunt and Ian Tanner, two very different young men who develop an intense rivalry during their final year of sixth form. However, when Ian witnesses Cortland’s assault at the hands of a group of fellow students, the dynamic of the pair’s relationship takes an unexpected turn. Now, both Ian and Cortland must try and make sense of the mutual affection which neither saw coming, while also dealing with the demons of their respective pasts.

With Breaks, co-writers Ryden and Viecelli tell an enjoyable and engaging slice of life tales about the lives of young adults finding their way in the world. Compelling from the start, the dynamics between the characters are what make this seemingly ordinary story into something much more impressive. In fact, the main draw of this series is indeed the characters that the two have created. They have perfectly formed each character with their own distinct voice. Their personalities feel immensely multi-faceted, with hidden depths making almost all of them very real, as well as likeable in their own way, especially with lead characters Cortland and Ian. They also expertly build a genuine relationships with sincerity and patience, making their journey feel equally real.

As well as co-writing the series, Emma Vieceli’s artwork on this series is simply glorious. The soft pencils are utilised beautifully from page to page making her style a defining feature of Breaks. This is best exemplified in the characters, where their features are depicted in an almost angelic beauty, perfectly matching the skill of how their personalities are written. The format of the webcomic also works to Vieceli’s advantage as she uses her art to tell the story. She allows herself space for characters to have subtle feature changes like a deep breath or a flick of the wrist. Meanwhile, she also spreads out on occasion with splash pages which offer glimpses of various characters (predominantly Cort’s) mindsets in a fantastic barrage of visuals.

Breaks is a deeply engrossing, highly poignant and visually stunning tale about two people falling in love, figuring out their place in the world and standing up for what they believe in. The fact that this series is set against a LGBTQA+ backdrop only helps to highlight the idea that this is a story that can be for anyone. Deeply compelling, thought-provoking and highly inspiring. Breaks is a comic series which we think everyone, from all walks of life, should check out.