April 6, 2014

I Know Cool People - THE TROUBLE W/LOVE

I met writer Victor Dandridge years ago - at the first C2E2, if memory serves (other than frequent cries of "Sketch Battle!", I merely remember us hanging out at the Comic Related booth). So reconnecting with him at various other venues (including the most recent Dan Con) has been a sheer joy....and when I had the opportunity to purchase his graphic novel The Trouble w/Love , I did so gladly to support his writing efforts. Plus, it's what cool people do.

And I'm also very grateful I did so, because this book - available through Vantage:Inhouse Publications - is a real gem, mixing emotional complexity with some great superheroic action.

Most of the book focuses on a conversation between a superhero and his son....a very intense conversation, in fact, as the son is holding a gun on his father. It leads to a conversation about love, family, and the necessary sacrifices people have to make in order to protect the ones they care about. Most of the conflict in the issue is between the father and son....and the writing never hits a false note. Simple and poignant, the book's tone is very heartfelt, possessing an emotional core which is lacking in other comics. (Note - there is plenty of profanity, but used judiciously. If you don't mind characters dropping the occasional F-bomb, you'll be OK).

Thanks to Harold Edge's art, this is also a really great looking story as well. Moving between flashback and flash-forward, Edge is able to connote the passage of time and experience without relying solely on visuals (so it's more than just "current Apex Prime has a mustache/past Apex Prime doesn't"). There's a nice sense of pacing in this book, and there's a nice sense of layout. Thanks to Ryan Carter's coloring, The Trouble with Love always feels grounded in reality - it's a story where emotional stakes take priority over physical ones, and drama is created through a frank conversation over punching and flying.

(Although, to be perfectly fair, The Trouble With Love has plenty of those as well....) 

When it comes to reviewing my friends' work, it's rare for me to be super-critical....but I also try not to provide superlatives. So it's in that spirit that I say that The Trouble With Love is one of the few genuinely moving reading experiences I've had in comics for a long time. It's not easy, nor does it shock, but is one of the best-written comics I've read in quite awhile.

(Also, it's available in both hard copy and on Kindle - if you don't own a Kindle/mobile device, Kindle does have a browser-based reader - simply head to http://read.amazon.com after ordering, sign in, and enjoy!)

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