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February 14, 2011

Comics in Love

This week is Valentine's Day!  You can tell because the flavor of hot chocolate at my local hot chocolate store turned into 'Love Potion.'  (It apparently has added fudge, so this turns out not to be a bad thing.)

This is a little bit of a strange list for me to put together, because my idea of a good romance tends to be books set in the regency period with hijinx and possible bodice-ripping.  It turns out that this is not a story type that's really been heavily explored in the comics form, especially in US comics.  And the cultural divide between us and Japan has me reading things like Paradise Kiss and being, 'yes, you ARE very pretty, but I am still uncomfortable with your the power structure in your relationship dynamic!'

So: love stories, an underappreciated comics genre.  Here are some. 


I love this book!  I also think it's one of the closest things you're going to get in the US to an actual romance comic -- there's a boy and a girl, they meet, they fall in love, circumstances and good sense keep them apart, but they are nonetheless hopelessly drawn to each other and figure things out.  Also the protagonist is adorable.  Yay!

Good-Bye Chunky Rice

And now for something completely different. . . .  I honestly think that Craig Thompson's art is gorgeous enough that he could illustrate stories about, I don't know, cabbages who proceed to fall in love and no one would blink an eye.  So a mouse and a turtle together are completely, absolutely convincing. 


This is one of the first manga I ever read, and it's still one of my favorites.  Schoolsgirls in love, but not in the ways you'd expect. 


This story of an Egyptologist's daughter and a mummy falling in love is the closest thing you're going to get in comics to something like Georgette Heyer (though I'm sure she'd disdain the paranormal bit).  It is watercolor!  And also there are hijinx!

Hopeless Savages

There's a new Hopeless Savages compilation!  This is one of the books that got me into reading comics, so I am always glad to recommend it to anyone.  And the middle story is such a great love story!  Interfering documentarians!  Guitar in the rain!  School not being useful!  Parents being parents!  Love!


Kevin Huizenga's love stories are different from anyone else's in comics because he pulls apart the meaning in everyday actions and manages to make things like going to sleep the most touching thing anyone's ever done.  And then he does it again with bringing home the groceries. 


If you haven't read Jess Fink's Chester 5000 series, you are clearly missing out, as it is a steampunk! robot! love story! 


I love pretty much everything Andi Watson writes and Simon Gane draws, and this book is no exception.  Girls!  Paris!  Heartbreak!  Class divisions!  It is all very lovely. 

Happy Valentine's Day!


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