Written by: Sarah Kuhn, Kate Leth, Sarah Vaughn, and more
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Oni Press
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel
The critically-acclaimed anthology FRESH ROMANCE is finally available in print! Have you been wondering what the fuss is all about? FRESH ROMANCE is an exciting collection of romance comics from some of comics most talented creators, including Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sarah Kuhn, Marguerite Bennett, and Trungles. From unhappy historical marriages to covert teenage romances, there's something for everyone in FRESH ROMANCE."
I am a sucker for a good romance. Case in point as I have just finished both Fresh Romance and The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. Nerd love for the win. I did pick up Fresh Romance largely for Kate Leth, but was drawn to some of the artwork I had seen through other bibliophile friends. Plus love. Mushy mushy happy love. While I may not always seem like the die-hard romantic, I am. As I said I am a sucker for a good romance. When I managed my movie store many years ago I fell in love with the romance manga. Titles likes Mars made me very happy on my lunchbreaks. It seems that Romance comics are making a comeback. I look forward to reading more.
School Spirit // Kate Leth and Arielle Jovellanos
A great little story with two pairs of star crossed lovers. One set is about a witch who isn’t allowed to date mortals but she fell for one. The other is a pair of lovely women with homophobic parents. Oh and the school dance is the backdrop. They are all friends with one another and try to help keep both their secrets safe. I loved the character designs and I enjoyed the overall story, but strangely this was not my favorite of the anthology. I still liked how fun this was. Seriously, the artwork is great and overall I thought it was a nice way to open the anthology.
Ruined // Sarah Vaughn and Sarah Winifred Searle
Okay this was my jam. A Regency story about a marriage of convenience that neither party particularly wanted. She is a Ruined woman and he needs her dowry. And yet perhaps it is turning into something more. It is a slow burn story and an incomplete story which is frustrating as I wanted more. I found it beautiful and wonderful. Did I mention I want more. Please.
Ruby Equation // Sarah Kuhn and Sally Jane Thompson
A multi-dimensional being is tasked at playing Cupid here on Earth. In order to move on she has to make a non-believer of love fall in love. This one was a bit predictable, but it had a lot of energy and was fun. For me this was the weakest of the stories but it works well in this first volume of Fresh Romance.
Beauties // Marguerite Bennett and Trungles
Absolutely gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The artwork is exquisite and the story…le sigh. It is lyrical, stylized, and I loved every bit of it. The prose is magnificent and I ate up every bit of it. It is sugary loveliness, a fairytale that a die-hard mushy romantic like myself loves to read and watch. Between this and Marguerite’s entry in the Secret Loves of Geek Girls I am now a very big fan and will seek out more.
First, Last & Always // by Kieron Gillen and Christine Norrie
The shortest of the stories it is about a young woman who feels her last kiss with someone when she has their first kiss. Love the artwork and of course love the story. It’s not long enough to have any real impact, but it is a nice little Le Fin.
Buy or Borrow: Buy. Buy. Buy. Or at least pick it up from the library. I would like to hear what you thought about it.
Part of: Hopefully the first volume of many more to come.
Also Recommended: For more nerdy romance give The Secret Loves of Geek Girls a chance. I would also recommend the following comics: Giant Days, Pride and Prejudice comic adaptation by Nancy Butler (se does other Austen stories as well), and Awkward and Definition by Ariel Schrag. For some adult comics try Oh Joy, Sex Toy and Rent Girl.
3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks