Swipe right on this comic book and ask it to marry you!
Comics these days are full of super heroics, unspeakable horrors, old people fighting each other, and crazy sci-fi multiverse shenanigans. Maybe it’s time we bring in some more humanity into the mix; and what’s more human than suffering through love and romance? That’s exactly what is brought by the new Image Comics ongoing series, Love Everlasting.
Love Everlasting #1
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Elsa Charretier
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Editor: Marla Eizik
Publisher: Image Comics
The romance genre of comics exploded in popularity in the late ’40s, capturing and breaking the hearts of readers well into the early ‘50s. Hundreds of comics filled with love, jealousy, joy, betrayal, risqué situations, tears and all other kinds of relationship drama were published during that time period.
Now, decades after legendary Captain America co-creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby accidentally gave birth to romance comics after trying to do their own version of Archie Andrews and his pals (long story), the genre is as good as dead. Or is it?
Like your attractive but toxic ex, romance comics are back with a vengeance and an underlying darkness that you just can’t put your finger on. It is old school but modern. Innocent but secretly brimming with malice. Pretty and most likely very deadly. A classic beauty and a modern horror. Trouble personified. That’s your ex. And that’s also Love Everlasting #1, which begins a story that is both a callback to simpler times and a herald of some crazy shit that we probably haven’t seen before, in comics or in any other medium.
Joan seems like your average young, insecure, lovelorn woman from the ‘60s. She goes through the longing one experiences when dealing with unrequited love. She tumbles through the highs and lows and highs again, and then rock bottoms as she's falling hopelessly in love.
As a standalone romance story, the first part of this premiere issue is a gosh darn good one. It’s super cheesy, but it’s also a well-told narrative of heartbreak and triumph, hearkening back to a time when people didn’t swipe to the right on small glass rectangles to get a date. While it sometimes makes fun of the comics of old, we also find bits of writing that evokes that timeless, inescapable feeling of aching for someone’s presence. And then things get weird.
Writer Tom King does an excellent job at working in a creeping sense of things being amiss as he revisits romance comic book tropes throughout the rest of the issue. It’s great and mildly unsettling to see Joan go through more roller coasters of romance that are broken up by short episodes of lucidity and panic as she slowly realizes that something strange is going on. The life she’s currently living is possibly all just a #%@%ing lie. And that’s fucking awesome.
It’s a joy accompanying Joan in her journey through love story clichés and agonizing relationship woes before she gets dragged into a sudden escalation in violence. Elsa Charretier’s charming, clean art and Matt Hollingsworth’s comforting colors solidify this sensational first issue as a great read. They seal it all with a kiss and a last page that is both funny haha AND funny weird, which elicited a genuine chuckle from my usually not chuckling face.
It’s clear that King, Charretier and the rest of the creative gang are having fun with this book. There is an undeniable energy here that celebrates the old ways of romanticizing romance while teasing an entirely new reading experience. Romance comics, or at least an odd flavor of it, is alive and well. Simon and Kirby would be proud.
I give this a rating of 5 out of 5 suitors approved by daddy.
“Love Everlasting #1” is now available wherever fine comic books are sold.
Art Alexandra Lara