- Fair for Its Day: Circles was first published in 2001 and the story continued up to 2004, with each chapter being a season of the year. In those times, these types of comic books were rare and few were successful. Issues like illegal marriage were much more apparent in those times. That said, the final chapters were published in 2015, nearly after all marriage was legalized in the United States where it was published and written.
- Glurge: Depends on the reader's own life situation.
- If received positively, Circles may be an optimistically inspirational example that resonates with the issues faced by young adult gay men.
- If it falls flat, it may be because:
- It represents a scenario that seems excessively idealistic and saccharine compared to Real Life, if being gay in real life is in fact still more difficult than it is in the story.
- Or it depicts a higher level anxiety than you could imagine having to deal with in this decade compared to the Turn of the Millennium, if being gay in real life is in fact easier today.
- For at least a very large portion of the main fanbase (which is from the western world), this is the main reason as to why it hasn't aged very well in terms of depictions of homophbia. Sure, homophobia is sadly still far from over even in the most tolerant parts of the USA (and unfortunately seems to be increasing again...), but the comic seems to depict the LGBT side as relatively isolated and alone from the mainstream, when this kind of isolation decreased drastically in recent years.
- The Woobie: Almost every character here counts, but the biggest four are Douglas, Arthur, Ken, and Paulie.
- Douglas was a humble man and met his girlfriend Linda. He unknowingly had a son with her and felt awful for not being there when he grew up. He dumped Linda when he realized that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Paulie. He knew what he was getting himself into by staying with Paulie despite his HIV and he knew the consequences. When the fateful day arrived however, it still hurt him like hell. He gave up on everything and lost hope to the point where if he didn't have his friends and family around him, he would have likely been Driven to Suicide.
- Arthur is a kind man who is an aspiring artist. He met John and Paulie in the 70's and they stayed close together. However, when their friend Keith came home with Paulie and Arthur, they were all too drunk to know any better and Arthur passed out. Paulie contracted HIV from Keith that night and because Arthur was supposed to have sex with Keith at first, he feels extremely guilty and blames himself for getting Paulie sick. Douglas steps into the picture and only makes it worse for him. Paulie know it's not his fault but it took years for Arthur to come to terms with that and finally rekindle with Paulie, Doug, and John.
- Ken had a very rough childhood. He grew up poor and his mother worked all day. He spent time with his Uncle Davis but he turned out to be sexually abusive to Ken. Uncle Davis threatened him to keep it a secret. He kept quiet about it for all of these years until he finally told Paulie because he was the only one he trusted and thought of as a father. The reason he pushed everyone away is because he didn't want to get close to someone like he did with Uncle Davis.
- Poor, poor Paulie. He is living with HIV due to a tragic mistake and is ironically the least deserving of such a fate. He is a kind and noble spirit who treats everyone with open arms and a warm heart. The worst part is that he hardly did anything inherently bad in his life with the only thing being dropping school and experimenting with alcohol and drugs in his college days. He never hurt anyone or did harm to anybody in the past. It's no wonder he is hailed as a hero by others and why his death left such a huge impact on everyone.
YMMV / Circles