Romeo X Julien by Mary Dumas & Bettina Kurkoski : Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway

Romeo Montague has always been a little awkward. His cousin, Benny, doesn’t help, often tossing him into situations unprepared; like dragging him to a Renaissance Faire in the middle of Wine Country.

Julien Capulet, a respected festival promoter, has his own quirks. While dealing with his crazy parents and goofy gay uncles, he holds out hope of meeting the one who’ll see past all the frills.

Romeo X Julien is a sexy homage to Will Shakespeare, with more comedy than tragedy. Entertaining and tender, it shows how the course of true love may never be smooth, and that the LGBTQ community has come a long way in a short time.

Release Date: Saturday, August 1 2020

Publisher: Just Yaoi

Length: 242 pages

Genres: Slice of Life

Pairings: Romeo/Julien, Benny/Sammy, Larry/Juan

LGBTQ+ Identities: Gay

Tropes: Mistaken identity

Keywords/Categories: Yaoi, BL, slice of life, Ren Faire, Shakespeare


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I liked the colour pallet and the realistic drawing (tho the chibi got a little weird sometimes).

It was cute and honestly what it was meant to be. I think if I was a bigger fan of the original work it might have been even more enjoyable, but I don’t honestly know.

There was a conversation between Romeo’s mum and his cousin about if Julien was a cross-dresser or trans, where Ben says that he things he’s just very theatrical.

And then later Julien says this: “I don’t consider them girls clothes. I just want to look pretty.”

I enjoyed reading it, had me smiling a few times. It was sweet. And overly dramatic, but that’s what it’s meant to be, right?!

Guest Post: Where It All Began

Bettina’s art has always inspired me, her abilities are a little bit of magic. I can draw, but my art is puffy stick figures compared to Bettina. One day she gifted me a drawing of two men embracing one another. I looked at that picture and over lunch told her “the story” of those two men. She was so enthralled with that she decided she wanted to work on an m/m romance comic book with me. I began working on that graphic novel idea, but I was not quite use to the comic book scripting format, so it was slow going. To be honest, that story has turned into quite a book, and it is going to have to settle for being a novel. (Picture is available.)

Bettina really wanted to get working with me and as a result she suggested we work on a short comic story idea that she had previously conceived based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Julien. She was born in Montague, Massachusetts, so that was always a fascination for her. I am a Shakespeare aficionado, so I just felt extremely comfortable in that format. Our original thought was to just test the waters and get me used to comic book scripting. I took off on a tangent with the story, and Bettina was in love with the ideas that started coming out of me. She had some idea of Benvolio being a bit of a bossy guy, but I gave him a reason to be the bossy guy. Additionally, we knew that Romeo had to kiss Julien, but getting him to that point ignited the fire, taking Bettina’s initial idea to the next level. What should have been a 1-2 month long and 20-page process ultimately became the 5 year long and 240-page graphic novel, Romeo X Julien. (These two original pictures are available.)

Though there is not really much room for seat of the pants writing in comic books, Romeo was a character who wrote his own story. Benny was always going to be the bossy-buddy who made things happen when they were not expected, and Julien was intended to be a wise man who really has a good head on his shoulders. Romeo, on the other hand, Bettina began referring to as a “dork” early in the art process. I would correct her “handsome dork”.

The intention of this story is to bring in the supportive families of happy LGBTQ people, because not all gay people have had a difficult time coming out. Some never even had to come out to their family, it was just known. On the other hand, there was a time in the extremely near past that gay men could not pursue the jobs they were most talented for if they didn’t keep their identity hidden.

What’s happening in the future? I have had an m/m romance short story accepted for an anthology of Hanukkah Hallmark-romance-type stories that should be out in December. I am also working on that novel inspired by the original art from Bettina, but it has now involved quite a lot of historical research into Aztec beliefs. Bettina has reengaged with her first love, knitting, so I do not think we’ll be seeing much on bookshelves from her.


2016. RomeoXJulien: Act 1

2017. RomeoXJulien: Act 2

2018. RomeoXJulien: Act 3.1

2019. RomeoXJulien: Act 3.2

All are now out of print, only omnibus is available


Mary is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour. For a chance to win,

enter via Rafflecopter

the author

Co-creators, Mary Dumas and Bettina Kurkoski, have been fixtures on the Comic Con circuit since 2003. Mary was on staff for a number of convention groups, while Bettina was the artist in residence for those organizations.

In 2015 this friendship became a partnership in creating the comic series, RomeoXJulien. Following this comic creation lead them to Artists Alley in many Fan Conventions for the next five years. In 2019, with the finish of the story they decided to give the comics a bright new life in full color as a graphic novel.

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