• Michael Dooley

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!

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Writer/artist: Tony Sandoval (LionForge)

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Emma G. Wildford

Writer: Zidrou

Artist: Edith (Titan Comics)

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The Prince and the Dressmaker

Writer/artist: Jen Wang (First Second)

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Giant Days

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

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Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Michael Gaydos (Jinxworld)

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My Solo Exchange Diary

Writer/artist: Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas)

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My Boyfriend is a Bear

Writer: Pamela Ribon

Artist: Cat Farris (Oni Press)

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

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Lore Olympus

Writer/artist: Rachel Smythe (webtoon)

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Weird Love

Editors: Craig Yoe, Clizia Gussoni (IDW)

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


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About Michael Dooley

Michael Dooley is the creative director of Michael Dooley Design and teaches History of Design, Comics, and Animation at Art Center College of Design and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is also a Print contributing editor and author.View all posts by Michael Dooley →