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Read This! Excerpt of Other Boys — Damian Alexander’s Graphic Novel

Read This! Excerpt of Other Boys — Damian Alexander’s Graphic Novel

Author: Edit Team

November 8, 2021

The following is an excerpt from debut author Damian Alexander’s graphic novel memoir, Other Boys, which was published on September 28th from First Second. Other Boys is an emotional debut that shares Damian’s powerful story of his struggles with bullying, the death of his mother, and coming out, and is based off of his viral and award-winning autobiographical webcomics.

It’s the first day of seventh grade, and Damian has decided to stop talking. If he doesn’t say anything, the bullies will have nothing to tease him about, right? Damian didn’t always feel this way, though. He remembers first grade, when school was a much happier place for him.

A four panel comic. There are three panels on the top half of the page showing a pencil drawing of a young boy on looseleaf paper. The text reads, "I hadn't always wanted to disappear. In fact, I can clearly remember a time... when I was really excited about the first day of school." On the bottom half of the page is a large panel which shows the same boy at 6 years old, smiling and holding a lunch bag. The words "1st grade" are written at the top left of the panel. There are speech bubbles coming from the left of the panel which read, "Hey, Damian! Are you getting your picture taken today, too?" A speech bubble drawn from Damian's mouth says, "Mm-hmm!"
A comic page with three panels. On the top half is one large panel which shows Damian sitting in his seat on the school bus while a girl with short brown hair and brown skin turns around in her seat to look at him. She says, "You look handsome with your new sweater and dressy pants!" On the second half of the page there are two panels. The first one shows Damian with an excited expression and his hands over his mouth. He says "Is handsome like pretty?" (the word Pretty is colored pink and there are hearts around it.) The second panel shows the same girl leaning over the bus seat and saying, "Hehe! Kinda. It's like boy pretty!"
A comic page with four panels, reading from left to right and top to bottom. 1. A brown-skinned hand reaching into a purple backpack with various charms such as a Pikachu and tamagotchi. There is a speech bubble which says, "Wait! I have the perfect thing for you to wear!" 2. The hand pulls out a yellow flower from the bag. The speech bubble in this panel reads, "I picked this flower near the bus stop by my house. 3. The hand puts the flower on Damian's hair and he smiles. The speech bubble reads, "Boop!" 4. The same girl from earlier looks at Damian and says "Now you're the prettiest boy in the Whole school!"
A comic page with 4 panels. The first panel shows a bunch of students lined up to take photos for "Picture Day Grade 1." Damian sits on a stool with a flower in his hair. The photographer in front of him says "Let's just remove that real quick." The second panel shows the photographer's hand plucking away the flower as Damian says, "Oh, but I like it there." The photographer responds, "It makes you look like a little girl, though." In the third panel, the photographer holds up a large camera and says, "Don't you want to give your mother a picture she can be proud of?" In the fourth panel, Damian has a troubled expression and he starts to say, "But I don't—" before he is interrupted by a large yellow speech bubble which says "Say Cheese!" in all capital letters.
A five-paneled comic page. The first panel shows the photo of Damian from picture day, wearing a worried expression. The second panel shows Damian and his friend from the school bus looking at it together. Damian says, "I look so ugly in this." and the girl next to him responds, "Mine's bad, too. My mom says school pictures are always goofy looking. In the third panel, the girl continues speaking with a smiling expression and says, "Yesterday she showed me some of her really ugly ones! Didn't your mom ever show you her old school pictures?" In the fourth panel, Damien looks away from her and says "Oh, I don't have one of those." In the fifth panel, the girl has a contemplative expression and asks, "Wait, one of what? Old pictures?"
A five-paneled comic page. The first panel shows Damian and the girl from earlier, Sylvia, standing together with sad expressions. Damian says "A mom." Sylvia responds, "Oh... I'm sorry." In the second panel, the lower half of Damian's face is shown. His mouth is open to say "It's okay." but there is a tear falling down his left cheek visible at the top right of the panel. The third panel shows two green sneakers and a yellow flower with detached petals against a dark grey background. There is text at the center which says, "It wasn't." In the fourth panel, there are no illustrations. The text reads, "People always feel so sorry for me when I tell them I don't have a mom. But I didn't want to make Sylvia or anyone else feel sad. I just didn't have a mother..." The fifth, and last panel shows a roll of Damian's picture day photos on a purple background. The text underneath reads, " least not anymore."
Other Boys
By Damian Alexander
First Second, 9781250222824, 208pp.
Sept 2021

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