Published on June 26th, 2023 | by Chris O'Connor

Parallel Comic Review

Parallel Comic Review Chris O'Connor

Summary: In post World War 2 Germany Karl Kling is trying to fit in with society, marry, have children... but it's hard to live that life when what he really wants is the love of another man.


Societal Solitude

Karl Kling is trying to conform to post World War 2 German society, settling down and having a child is what is expected of him, but deep inside he yearns to be his true self. In a country where homosexuality is illegal, Karl lives two lives… the one with his family and the one where he can be his more authentic self.


The pull between two worlds, or perhaps more accurately the living the expected life while trying (unsuccessfully) to suppress his homosexuality is hard to read at times. The harm isn’t just to Kling but to those who form relationships with him that just aren’t what he truly wants. Marriage is still generally considered “the norm” and though we have made great strides in who can get married to whom… for some it is something they are essentially forced into, either directly or at least societally. There are plenty of stories of people marrying because they think they can just “fake it till they make it” in regards to being heterosexual, but more often than not it all comes crashing down at some point and they end up having to be honest with themselves and those they have formed a relationship with. Parallel portrays this struggle and does a great job of showing that torment on both sides. Kling with his desire to be his true self and spending his nights in search of a man, neglecting his life at home with his wife and child and the impact that has on his marriage. The love he clearly has for his child and the hope that he might be able to reconcile with her now that they are both older.


The watercolor blending and fading on the panels gives a feeling of dreamy recollection. Images from a past that mix clarity and obscurity, memories that are prone to error. Contrasting and complimenting this is the line work which moves from clean solid forms to softer more ephemeral shapes. But perhaps most importantly given the theme of the story, the expressions on faces, especially Karl’s are clear and easy to read. The anguish of a conventional home life that deep down does not fulfill him, the cautious look to gauge if it’s safe to engage with a man. There are a lot of feelings to convey and Matthias does a great job showing us what his characters are going through with each line of contorted face and raised eyebrow.

Final Thoughts

I appreciate that this isn’t a clear cut, neat story. The pain of a life confined to what society expects and arguably demands whilst desperately just wanting to be honest and open. The knock on harm that is caused in forcing homosexual people to live heterosexual lives, the relationships that are torn to pieces and the psychological damage done to those involved. Importantly, that glimmer of hope, the changing of views, the chance of acceptance… there’s a lot packed in to Parallel and it can be hard reading at times (emotionally)… but it is ultimately rewarding and a lovely story.

Grab a copy if you are interested in LGBTIQA+ stories or even just love against the odds stories.

Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Matthias Lehmann
Artist: Matthias Lehmann
Colourist: Matthias Lehmann
Cover Artist: Matthias Lehmann
Format: 458pgs, B&W, TPB
Release Date: 13th June, 2023

About the Author'

Father of four, husband of one and all round oddity. Gaming at home since about 1982 with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Moving on to the more traditional PC genre in the years that followed with the classic Jump Joe and Alley Cat. CGA, EGA, VGA and beyond PC's have been central to my gaming but I've also enjoyed consoles and hand helds along the way (who remembers the Atari Lynx?). Would have been actor/film maker, jack of many trades master of none.

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