Sat
Jul 2 2016 2:00pm

Fresh Romance: Comics for Romance Readers

School Spirit by Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Amanda Scurti & Taylor Esposito

Sometimes I get tired of reading novels (OMG did she just say that?!) and I flip on the latest episode of Jane the Virgin. And sometimes… I read comics.

Okay, a lot of the time. I’m in a comics-for-ladies monthly discussion group called The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen. It’s a real thing and it’s amazing. So I’m maybe a little biased toward the graphic novel/comic medium. I love the way that a talented writing and art team can reveal character traits and plot points with such subtlety that you don’t pick up on it. While there’s still a lot of “cheesecake” (women drawn with an abundance of T&A and little clothing) in some comics, a great number of female-forward comics are being published and gaining popularity. Examples include: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Saga, Sex Criminals, and of course, Buffy.

You probably want to know why I’m writing about comics on a romance site. Loads of comics have romance B-plots, but none of them have been 100% romance focused since the 70s. (Saga has an awesome star-crossed lovers in space with a baby thing going, but the romance isn’t always at the fore.)

Allow me to introduce Rosy Press’s Fresh Romance, a bimonthly comic featuring 3 10-page stories in each issue. These have been serialized up until now but are available in completed versions on their website and will be printed and available at a comic store near you (or online) on August 10.  The stories are diverse in terms of setting, sexual orientation, and racial makeup.

I’ve read the first three stories and loved them. There will be 5 in all in the print edition, but you can get them now digitally if you’d like. 

School Spirit

High school kids involved in some hijinks. I wasn’t sure at first what was going on, but it’s intentionally written that way and it’s very cute. The characters are hiding their relationships for different reasons, mainly family judgments. Subtle exploration of the ways we might be biased against certain relationships while accepting those others might shun. Plus, boys who say things like “Dude. The reason you don’t have a prom date is because you talk about girls like that.” No stilted dialogue, and such good messaging.

Ruined

Ruined by Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle & Ryan Ferrier

Do you read historicals set in England? The title of this one ought to tell you enough. The credits list a “historical consultant.” You guys, just read it. It’s got scandal, an unfortunate? marriage, and of course, the romance.

The Ruby Equation

Adorable cupid/fairy uses math/logic to match people to earn her way back to her homeworld and a “better” assignment. Hijinks ensue. Will Ruby realize her true calling and the value of love?

 

Here’s the copy from the Kickstarter for the print edition:

  • School Spirit by Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Amanda Scurti, and Taylor Esposito. School Spirit is the story of four teens embroiled in keeping their love lives secret from everyone around them. It's never quite that simple, though, and complications for this group include bigoted parents and witch-y powers!
  • Ruined is an historical romance by Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, and Ryan Ferrier featuring a couple entering a loveless marriage at the prompting of society and their families. The future looks bleak for Andrew and Catherine, but there's more to each of them than either one knows. (Just chapter 1 — 60 pages of story — will be included)
  • The Ruby Equation stars a cynical matchmaker from another dimension who has to learn to believe in love for real! But is a coffee shop the right place to learn lessons of love? Written by Sarah Kuhn, drawn by Sally Jane Thompson, colored by Savanna Ganucheau, and lettered by Steve Wands.
  • Beauties by Marguerite Bennett, Trungles, and Rachel Deering takes readers to a lush fantasy world where the beautiful are beastly and the beasts are beautiful — and true love can be either.
  • First, Last, and Always by Kieron Gillen and Christine Norrie is about the magic of a first kiss with someone.

I’m sure some of you will tell me in the comments about the extensive range romance-focused manga out there. PLEASE DO. I haven’t started on manga because it’s intimidating. If you’re feeling that way about comics, Fresh Romance is a great place to start!

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Learn more about or order a copy of Beauties by Marguerite Bennet, Trungles, and Rachel Deering, available now:

Buy at Amazon

 


Fresh Romance contains School Spirit, Ruined, and The Ruby Equation, and First, Last, and Always. It's available for purchase at Rosy Press


When not reading All of the Things, Suzanne is raising two small valkyries and trying to open a bookstore. Book, comic, and assorted other tweets at @suzannekrohn. 

 

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4 comments
SaharaH
1. SaharaH
Start with Hana Yori Dango also known as Boys Over Flowers, Fruits Basket, and Ouran High School Host Club, these are the trifecta of romance manga
Vanessa Ouadi
3. Lafka
Lots of comics from Japan (manga) or Corea (manwha) are all about romance, and some are really exceptionally good! I hadn't heard about any of the comics mentionned in the article, thanks for the suggestions !
wsl0612
4. wsl0612
you should check out Harpy Gee too! (harpygee.com) It's an online comic, with some print available of the first couple of "years". The drawings are lovely and the characters too! We are all waiting for Harpy and Humphrey to get together :-)
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