For the uninitiated, Dream Daddy sounds like a nightmare of impropriety. In fact, Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is an adorable mostly-family-friendly game*. The player is a dad who moves to a new place and finds a huge selection of other gay dads to befriend and/or date. There’s romance, cute art, and a heaping helping of dad jokes to be found in the game. Now, thanks to Oni Press, publishers of Kim Reaper, Rick and Morty, and the Invader Zim series, we have Dream Daddy in its comic book incarnation.
For those not familiar with the game, Dream Daddy is a Steam game which revolves around Avatar (the player) and his relationship with his daughter. Are you a patient dad? Well-intentioned dad-joke dad? Or are you the still-mourning dad who is having a hard time being both widower and father of a child who has lost a parent? All of the player’s choices come into play with his relationship with his daughter. As far as the other dads go, each has their own struggles and stories to be told, which the player can explore in-game and expand upon in the comics.
Much like the game, the art in the comics is adorable. Each of the five comics being released over the next several months will focus on a different aspect of the overall story and fill in some of the story gaps left open in Dream Daddy. In the first issue, the story is subtle and understated, and there’s no funny business to be found. In fact, one wouldn’t even know there were any queer characters until the last scene of the first comic.
That’s my favorite way to see queer representation, personally. I hate over-played gay tropes in not-actually-representative “representation” media. I’ve longed for more gay characters for decades, but there never seem to be many characters like me or my friends. Dream Daddy, though, includes a huge spectrum of gay characters.
Some of my favorites include:
- Craig Cahn (AKA “Kegstand Craig”), a party-hard college kid turned fitness trainer and kids’ softball coach.
- Mat Sella, a socially awkward daddy/daughter concert lover.
- Hugo Vega, a Dungeon Master and bibliophile who hates poorly-executed film adaptations.
Further issues will be released once a month through the end of the year, with the last issue being released in December. Here’s are some quick synopses provided by the publisher:
Issue #1: “Much Abird About Nothing” (Aug. 29)
It’s college reunion time! Who’d have thought that it’s already been fifteen years since Keg-Stand Craig and the new Dad on the block went to college? This one’s like a buddy cop comedy, only there are no cops and more avoiding old flames while trying to stifle an existential breakdown, bro.
Issue #2: “Let the Right Dad In” (Sept. 26)
There’s a new Dad in the cul-de-sac… and he’s already sunk his fangs into the neighborhood! But Robert knows a vampire when he sees one, and he’s armed with enough garlic and rewatches of F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) to get to the bottom of this mystery.
Issue #3: “Dream Ad-y” (Oct. 24)
Sales are dropping at the Coffee Spoon, and Mat is looking for a way to drive new customers to the shop. Thank goodness the rest of the neighborhood is filled to the brim with enough seasoned craftsmen of the film industry to create the best local ad Maple Bay has ever seen! Just kidding, have you ever asked a Dad to take a picture of you? What can we say? The Dads and their kids try their best.
Issue #4: “Fair Deal” (Nov. 21)
The science fair is tomorrow, and Daisy hasn’t started her project yet! All she wants is a ride to the library and a participation ribbon. But Brian has bigger plans for her: wind turbines, working replicas of Mount Vesuvius, human genome editing. Turns out Daisy’s not the only one who procrastinated, and Joseph is out to force Christian and Christie to become the next science superstars. Can the kids get their presentations ready before the librarian kicks them all out for a no holds barred Dad-off?
Issue #5: “Dungeons & Daddies” (Dec. 19)
Hugo has been preparing for this moment for months, and it’s finally here. He’s wrangled all of the Dads to play an extremely popular but non-descript tabletop role-playing game together! And with his carefully laid plans, Hugo is sure he’ll be the best Dungeon Master they’ve ever seen… as long as they all take the game as seriously as he does.
If you’re interested in your own copy of Dream Daddy comics, you can buy them on the digital platform you prefer:
The issues are $2.99 each, meaning you can have the entire collection for $15, just in time for Christmas.
*Family-friendly can mean different things to different people, but there’s no outright hanky-panky to be found in Dream Daddy. The ocassional hip bone can be seen poking out of a towel, and there’s a touch of queer culture in most interactions, but these generally shouldn’t be a problem for most ages. Though, an argument can be made that kids generally shouldn’t be playing a dating simulator for adult characters in any event.