Trade Post: Pedro & Me

Written last night:

Hey guys, I’m guessing that if you’re one of my friends from home or college or someone who stumbled upon this site thanks to a Google search and stuck around for whatever reason who doesn’t read comics, you probably skip over a lot of the comic-related posts. I highly encourage you to check this one out about Judd Winick’s graphic novel Pedro & Me (2000) because, like The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, it’s a book that I think anyone can get something out of, even if you’re not used to comics

My buddy Ben picked up Pedro & Me recently and passed it to me when he was done with it. It sat for about a week until last when I passed by, picked it up and read it in one sitting. Man, this is a powerful book. Judd was on the third season of Real World with Pedro. Judd was a cartoonist and Pedro had been living with AIDS for years, giving talks about it and taking the opportunity to show the world what a gay man with AIDS really looks like. Judd and Pedro became close friends, so close that Judd was there when Pedro passed away from complications due to AIDS. He would go on to write and draw a memoir of his friendship with Pedro, Pedro & Me.

Regular readers know how much of a fan of the Real World I am, so it might come as something of a surprise that it’s taken me 9 years to read this book. I’m also a big, big fan of Judd’s comic book writing (he’s written Batman, Green Lantern, Outsiders and Green Arrow, plus way more). I don’t have a real reason why I hadn’t read Pedro & Me until now, but I’m really glad I finally did.

Judd tells his story with such simplicity that I think anyone can really enjoy it. It starts off as the story of two boys growing up separately and then turns into the story of their meeting and subsequent friendship until it morphs into a story of death and living life after. Yes it’s sad, but it’s also happy, like life, and has a beating heart at the center of it that practically pulses through the pages.

I don’t want to get too much into the details because that’s the whole point of reading the story, which I really want you to do. As I mentioned, Judd has gone on to work on a ton of mainstream comics and he tends to include characters living with AIDS, gay characters and other true-to-life situations that other writers might shy away from. I’ve heard people give him flack for it, but I’m guessing those people haven’t read Pedro & Me, because after reading it you can really fell how changed Judd was and how he still wants to get the word out about gay rights, HIV and AIDS and I commend him for it.

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