• PrintMag

10 Comics for You to Love on Valentine’s Day

Today’s romance comics look nothing like they did in their “golden age,” and thank heavens for that. Once upon a time, romance comic books were more popular than superhero comics. Following WWII, interest in action-adventures such as writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby’s Nazi-punching Captain America was on the decline, so in 1947 they turned their attention to a new series, Young Romance, and gave birth to a genre in the process.

A Whirlwind Romance (Comic)

By the early 1950s, nearly all comic book publishers had at least one title on romance comics. And since this was the original make-America-great era, they were primarily morality tales, teaching that women would find happily-ever-after-ness only if they gave up their careers and subjected themselves to patriarchal marital bliss.

But starting with the major breakthroughs of 1960s feminism, love in funnybooks has come a long way, baby. Diversity is now the norm. In my recent Print “Best Comics” series, I’ve already noted The Provocative Colette and A Sea of Love. And hey, I also featured DC Comics’ two-genre saga of Batman and Catwoman’s eventful wedding day, which you can read here.

And that’s just a start. Here are yet more recent titles that offer a great range of approaches to the subject so near and dear to our annual February 14th celebration. Providing a variety of outstanding visual interpretations as well as unconventional narratives, here are ten stunning tales of…

• Mila, a teenager who finds herself attracted to a ghostly warrior from ancient times. • Emma, living in 1920s Lapland, whose search for her fiancé becomes a journey of self-discovery. • Prince Sebastian, who, with the aid of his talented dressmaker, maintains a secret life at night as Lady Crystallia of Paris. • Daisy, Esther, and Susan, whose lives as university students are thrown off-kilter when a boy declares his love. • Pearl, an aspiring tattoo artist who bonds with one of the Yakuza clan who are demanding that she become an assassin instead. • a writer-artist whose candid autobiographical graphic novel details her struggles with anxiety, self-esteem, and sexual concerns. • Nora, who solves her boyfriend problems by falling in love with a 500-pound bear. • Julie, a coffee shop barista who transforms into a werewolf when she gets angry, and her friends and fantasy creatures. • Persephone, whose classical myth of being abducted by Hades is given a contemporary twist in an ongoing webcomic. • women who can only find fulfillment in subservient domesticity, in a series of now-campy 1950s romance comic book reprints.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

• • •


Writer/artist: Tony Sandoval (LionForge)

• • •

Emma G. Wildford

Writer: Zidrou Artist: Edith (Titan Comics)

• • •

The Prince and the Dressmaker

Writer/artist: Jen Wang (First Second)

• • •

Giant Days

Writer: John Allison Artist: Julia Madrigal (Boom! Box)

• • •


Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Michael Gaydos (Jinxworld)

• • •

My Solo Exchange Diary

Writer/artist: Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas)

• • •

My Boyfriend is a Bear

Writer: Pamela Ribon Artist: Cat Farris (Oni Press)

• • •


Writer: Grace Ellis Artist: Shea Beagle (Image Comics)

• • •

Lore Olympus

Writer/artist: Rachel Smythe (webtoon)

• • •

Weird Love

Editors: Craig Yoe, Clizia Gussoni (IDW)

• • •

#comicbooks #superhero #BrianMichaelBendis #werewolf #Yakuza #comics #JoeSimon #graphicnovel #Romance #Batman #illustration #JackKirby #craigyoe #Persephone #webcomic #ValentinesDay