It’s Valentine’s Day, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate love than with a review of the incredible anthology Love is Love from IDW Publishing and DC Comics. This work honors those killed at the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting and reflects on the events in a way that is heartfelt, meaningful and real.
Love is Love (IDW Publishing)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
The comic book industry comes together to honor those killed in Orlando this year. From IDW Publishing, with assistance from DC Entertainment, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talents in comics – – mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world.
Why does this book matter?
Events like the Orlando shooting make us feel anger, frustration and confusion, all of which is captured in this book to help us mourn and never forget. This is a work that reminds us of the human rights issues at stake, the humanity of those in the gay community, and that love is an ever-important aspect of humanity we cannot ever lose sight of. A diverse set of artists came together to produce over 140 pages of stories ranging from a single page to a few. All the proceeds of this book go to the victims, survivors and their families via Equality Florida so it not only helps us understand a tragedy, but also goes to helping those directly affected.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Cute tale from Paul Dini.
This book captures the intense and varied emotions one feels after tragedy so very well. The variety of stories, from recounting what happened in the Pulse nightclub on June 12, 2016 to poems in reaction to it. There hasn’t been a book like this since 9/11 in my mind as it captures the heartbreak and loss so very well. It strives to capture an understanding of what has happened and in many ways serves as a way to cope with the tragedy. You may feel a range of emotions while reading this, but truth be told, you will feel a togetherness that speaks volumes to the very title of the book.
Every story is touching in its own way as writers and artists – or sometimes artists alone – tell mostly one-page stories throughout this volume. A few stories contain superheroes like Batwoman and Batman to name just two, but mostly these stories are told with civilian protagonists reflecting and dealing with this terrible tragedy. A few of the stories that hit me the most: Parents supporting their gay son, people reflecting in a bar as bigots make fun of the victims, and a dog who lost its owner in the attack is left alone and lost by the end of the story. The tales are tragic, heartfelt and help us reflect on this moment and prove works like this are important. More important than ever in times of crisis.
In another story, with a full page image from Jock and prose from writer Scott Snyder, Snyder reflects on working at Disney before he got into comics. The story is meaningful because it’s so honest, which is a theme that runs throughout this volume. Writer Mark Millar and artist Piotr Kowalski (colors by Brad Simpson) deliver a direct message about guns and how they are a big problem in America. Not every story is political, but stories like these are important because they reveal a different aspect of why this tragedy took place.
They’re not all literal either, like one story that particularly touched me from writer Dave Justus and artist Travis Moore (with colors by Michael Wiggam). This tale opens with a man at a gun shop who is purchasing something to feel safe. What he ends up buying, a gold heart, is what he’s truly after and in a single page the creative team reminds us we must love or we are lost.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Like any anthology, you may not dig every artist, approach and story. That said, every story has a purpose. These stories are genuine and remind us who we are as people. I will say, a work like this probably can’t be read in one sitting. Some of the stories are so sad you’ll have to put this book down. The positive within that negative, however, is that this book will last as well. You’ll want to pick it up and read it in bits. It allows you to do that because each story is self-contained and has a different purpose.
What a beautiful page.
Is It Good?
I’m not sure you’ll find a more emotional comic book experience than Love is Love. Its creation comes out of a tragedy, but it’s purpose and meaning is impossible to deny. This work is filled with compassion–something we can never lose sight of–and it’s a reminder we all can and do make a difference because we love.