Wed
Sep 13 2017 8:30am

How to Turn Your Comic-Reading Friends into Romance Readers

Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha

Romance and comics hit similar buttons for me: an easy to read format, genre conventions/tropes, over-the-top characters, high stakes conflicts, and… stigma for readers that has lead to a vocal fanbase.

If you’ve been following for a while, I’ve reviewed comics for H&H a few times. I talked about Fresh Romance, Smut Peddler, and romance comics in general. I also review a comic each week over at my blog, Love in Panels. All this is to say that, when H&H asked what romance novels I would recommend to comic readers, I did a dance of joy. Seriously. Danced around my living room. While I don’t expect you to dance with joy, maybe you’ll find a novel or two to share with the comic lover in your life!

If you like… Saga or Other Sci-Fi Comics

Try Dystopian or Sci-Fi Romance

We’ve talked before about Saga, and whether or not it’s a romance. I’d argue that it’s basically Romeo & Juliet in space with sub plots and a kid. Saga is also pretty violent and NSFW.

  • Also violent and NSFW? Kit Rocha’s Beyond erotic romance series (Amazon), set in a dystopian future with danger, whiskey, and lots of sexy times.
     
  • You might also check out the Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon, (Amazon) which is over-the-top trope-y alien crazysauce.
     
  • Both of these recs are on the steamier side, so if you’d like an amazing series without the sex/romance, check out the Broken Earth series from N.K. Jemisin (Amazon | B&N | Kobo).

If you like… Capes, aka Marvel and DC Superhero Comics

Try Romantic Suspense or a Superhero Series

  • Heroine Complex by Sarah KuhnRomantic suspense is a huge sub genre that I don’t read much of, but it’s full of alpha men saving the world, sometimes with dogs. H&H has recommended some in the past if you’d like to take a look at one blogger’s Top 10.
     
  • Sarah Kuhn is a comics writer and she’s really brought that skill set to her novels. She strikes a balance of humor, romance, and action that is sure to please comics readers. Sarah Kuhn’s superhero series with romantic elements starts with Heroine Complex (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) and is framed as a trilogy.
     
  • My favorite “cape” comic is Ms. Marvel, with Pakistani-American heroine Kamala Khan saving the world while figuring out how to be a Muslim teen in America. The geeky Indian-American heroine in Sandhya Menon’s When Dimple Met Rishi (Amazon | B&N | Kobo), a YA romance pairing a comics artist with a budding programmer at coding camp, strikes the same tone for me. Kids figuring out how to balance their dreams with family and community expectations… just with fewer super-villains.

If you like… Fables, The Sandman, and Other Fantasy Comics

Try Paranormal Romance, Fairy Tale Retellings, and Urban Fantasy

  • Monstress by Marjorie LiuMarjorie Liu, writer of the ongoing comic Monstress (Amazon | B&N | Kobo), wrote a paranormal romance series pairing supernatural beings with humans. The Dirk & Steele series plays with the same ideas as Fables, a world hidden from humans, myths from different cultures made real, and, of course, mysteries.
     
  • Rather go the fairy tale route? Check out Robin McKinley’s fairy tale retellings. In my completely subjective opinion, the best of these is Beauty (Amazon | B&N | Kobo).
     
  • And to ease you into paranormal romance, check out the urban fantasy Mercy Thompson series, which starts with Moon Called (Amazon | B&N | Kobo). Patricia Briggs pairs a coyote shapeshifter with her neighbor, who just happens to be the Alpha of a local werewolf pack. Full of supernatural beings, crime-solving and VW repairs, this is one of the series that built my bridge from fantasy to romance.

Extra Credit: Adaptations

Did you know that there are tons of romances adapted as comics? THERE ARE.

  • The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel (Amazon | B&N | Kobo) is the story of Jamie and Claire, told from Jamie’s POV and in comic form.
     
  • Marvel has put out a series of Austen adaptations, including Pride & Prejudice (Amazon | B&N), Emma (Amazon | B&N), and Sense & Sensibility (Amazon | B&N).
     
  • Clueless: Senior Year (Amazon | B&N) was just released and it’s just that: a continuation of the story all 90s kids love.

I hope you like some/all of these, and I apologize in advance to your TBR list. If you’re looking for comics with romantic elements, hit me up @loveinpanels. I’d love to recommend some to you!


H&H Editor Picks:

5 Romance Comics for Every Reader (and Heat Level!)

The My Monster Boyfriend Comic is the Paranormal Romance You’ve Been Waiting For

September 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List

 


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 @cerestheories.

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5 comments
EC Spurlock
2. EC Spurlock
Great post! I am also a McKinley fan and I love Beauty but my fave of hers is Spindle's End. Also for fantasy lovers, I'd recommend the Sevenwaters series by Juliet Marillier, and Heartstone by Elle Katherine White. For SF lovers, don't miss Bujold's Vorkosigan series. And Emma Bull has something for everyone; try War For the Oaks if you are either a fantasy or capes fan (I think her urban fantasy tends to blur all kinds of lines) or if you prefer Wynnona Earp and Jonah Hex, try her Weird West novel Territory.
EC Spurlock
3. Bitsy19
Love this post! I love romance novels and I work in a comic book store so all these books super align with my tastes :) Also, just wanted to rec Jane by Aline Brosh McKenna. It came out this week and it's a gorgeous graphic novel that sets Jane Eyre in modern times!
Cerestheories
4. Cerestheories
@Bitsy19 - That is so cool! I just ordered Jane. You didn't say it was by a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator! OMG.

I would love to interview you for my romance comics site if you'd be interested! (suzanne at loveinpanels.com)
EC Spurlock
5. Jacquelyn Middleton
This post was absolutely brilliant! As a regular comic con attendee and lover of a good HEA, may I recommend my novel, London Belongs to Me—which marries the two? The MC is an American fangirl who loves cons, Doctor Who, and cosplay. If you're looking for a new adult, coming-of-age story with a geeky twist (and an Irish book boyfriend), LBTM might be one for you.
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