A few words on a few comics I’ve been reading lately…
I wrote a review of Celine Loup’s Mother on Daniel Elkin’s site – he is great to work with, by the way, and will pay you for your writing! Loup’s comic was the first one I felt really excited about for awhile and I highly encourage you to check it out. Also, when I first contacted her, she told me she was not planning to continue to the series but after reading my review, she might reconsider! ❤
Wow, thank you SO much @kawaishen for the thoughtful review. This is making me really reconsider my decision to not continue this story; maybe it’s possible after all. Mother in print: https://t.co/K0dfwWhwHj
Mother as a PDF: https://t.co/hLaToKcbpL https://t.co/MHsoEZ9NFj
— Nazgul Queen (@celineorelse) February 16, 2018
I’ve also been reading the Twisted Romance series, an anthology series from Image. I usually don’t read Image comics but issue #1 featured cartoonists I like – Katie Skelly and Sarah Horrocks – so I snapped it up. Each issue features two comics and one prose story. The stories thus so far are also diverse, featuring POCs, queers, and fat femmes.
The Skelly comic, Old Flames, is a lot of fun, especially if you’re like me and enjoy romanticizing the 70s as a seedy-yet-glam sex-fueled decade. The story is about a private detective hired to take care of a philandering husband. Alex de Campi’s writing has an exaggerated style that perfectly matches Skelly’s art. Both creators bring a touch of B-movie exploitation to the story in the best way possible. You cannot beat the line, “I’ve faked orgasms for that man for too goddamn long for her to come and take all this away from me.”
I don’t know how she does it but Katie Skelly’s super stylized designs are so evocative in Old Flames, I can picture everything perfectly pic.twitter.com/ESpjjXBIlL
— Kawai Shen (@kawaishen) February 17, 2018
I also liked Sarah Horrock’s Red Medussa. Its rough artwork and violent use of colour goes against our expectations of the romance genre and shows us what is possible.
As for the prose story Leather & Lace by Magen Cubed, I have to admit, I tend not to like writing where there is a lot of focus on plot and character development, so this wasn’t to my taste. But even if this falls outside of what I personally enjoy, I can recognize this for good writing and the gay male characters are mercifully unstereotyped.
I didn’t recognize any of the artists for #2 but I’m so glad I picked it up. Twinkle and the Star features a LOT of fashion so of course I loved it. Can we have more killer shoes in comics, please?
Extra credit to Alejandra Gutiérrez’s ultra cute comic for ft Margiela tabi boots, a Calvino reference and chibi characters 🌟 (from Twinkle & The Star in Twisted Romance #2) pic.twitter.com/9ZU8t2alAd
— Kawai Shen (@kawaishen) February 20, 2018
I’m also impressed by de Campi’s writing – here she shifts effortlessly into a Millennial voice. The dialogue, texting and social media interactions all read as natural and are seamlessly integrated into the art by Alejandra Gutiérrez. Gutiérrez, by the way, does an excellent job in creating dynamic layouts and pacing the whole story.
Would You Even Know It? is the back comic by Meredith McClaren. It features a charming style and explores questions about romance and AI with a knowing distance that skepticism that was sorely lacking in the film Her.
I will admit, I didn’t finish the prose by Vita Alaya, Back At Your Door – again, I recognize that it is well written but reading about characters interacting in a traditional narrative arc is not my cup of tea.
Finally, just a quick shout out to a mini kuš!, Valley by GG which features a young woman wandering in a valley, looking for a group of people (I’d say friends, but if so, they are really lousy friends). Despite the small size of the comic, its muted use of colour and transparent layers manage to make the story feel very atmospheric. This atmospheric spaciousness is contrasted by the urgency conveyed by the protagonist’s lack of phone service and dwindling battery power bar. Things take a turn for the absurd when she encounters a talking fumarole…
I picked up all these comics at The Beguiling. You can also buy them online.