Posted on: February 6th, 2012 Valentine’s Day Comic Book Gift Guide
Valentine’s Day. Just hearing the words brings an oppressive anxiety. It’s a high-pressure holiday that issues the “If I spend enough money, maybe it’ll just go away” mentality. Now, I don’t know your significant other. Maybe cash is the way to go. But maybe, just maybe, we can go for the romantic route. I am a big fan of channelling feelings through someone else’s words a la mix tape, movie, book, etc. Real feelings are overrated. So why not buy your Valentine a comic? Tell them, “This is how I feel. Read it. Maybe we’ll have something to talk about.”
Don’t actually say that. You’ll kill the mood.
Here are some of my personal favorite romantic stories that prove to the world I’m not actually dead inside:
You want to read something that makes you go, “D’awwwww…”? Read this collection. A self-published account of how Tom found the love of his life at a bus stop in Disneyworld. It’s a Love is Lovelier the Second Time Around sort of story. He tells of their success in carrying on a long-distance relationship, surviving doubts brought on by previous relationships, and the complications of love when you’re getting older. I love that it’s true, I love that it’s self-published, I love that they have real problems and manage to deal with them. Adorable book.
Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum, shall we? For those of you living under a rock, the Scott Pilgrim chronicles tell the story of a 20-something slacker and his obsession with an inter-dimensional traveling delivery girl. In order to get the girl of his dreams, he has to defeat her seven evil exes. This book is good for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is a phenomenal launching point for non-comic readers. Many a rookie has read and enjoyed this story (perfect if your mate hasn’t quite latched on to your hobby). Second, it’s not super-deep. Maybe you aren’t ready for that whole “love of my life” approach to your gift. Maybe it’s something a little more superficial. You know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. Enjoy youth.
Another auto-biographical book, Craig tells the story of his first love. Now, romantic though this book may be, it’s actually more of a coming-of-age story for Craig. Unlike that of the Scott Pilgrim books, Blankets deals with darker subjects: struggling with sexual abuse, religion’s role in young adulthood, bullying at school, teen sexuality, and the flippancy of long-distance relationships. Truth be told, it doesn’t end well for our two love birds. But the parts that really drive it home are his descriptions of Raina as she sleeps, she as his source of inspiration, the gifts they gave each other and their first sexual encounter. Maybe you could just buy it, photocopy the nice parts and hand that to your loved one. They really are sweet.
Let’s say your Valentine is a bit more unconventional. Maybe you two (or three) haven’t quite figured out your Facebook relationship status. Well, not to fret! There’s a book for that. Strangers in Paradise is a love story that is a little more complicated than your typical boy-meets-girl scenario. It’s mainly focused on Francine and Katchoo, two women that struggle pinpointing their feelings toward one another as that of sisters or lovers. Then you throw David into the mix and it’s just a mess of unsolved feelings. This book is a bit of a curve ball as it’s more of a reflection on sex and relationships as a whole. Not often are we left feeling like we just flipped over the Hallmark card. But it’s three people that actually love each other despite their pasts, even when it isn’t convenient or accepted. Plus, it also involves organized crime! Give it to you friend, give it to your lover, give it a chance, it’s sweet.
To this day, this story is the only comic collection I have read more than once. I’ve actually read it several times. Some girls have their Harlequin romance novels, their Twilight, their When Harry Met Sally, I have Preacher. I defy you to find a more romantic story-line than two people holding onto love and fighting against God even in the face of the end of world. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes my heart melt. Jesse and Tulip will always be my gold standard for relationships: the southern good ol’ boy and the gun-tote’n feminist. That probably speaks volumes about my take on relationships. Although I think it’s the sweetest book to ever be penned, tread lightly with this one. We’re dealing with a good deal of religious commentary, rape, violence and questionable relations with meat. Your special someone may not agree with me on this one, but hey, it does have a vampire in it!
The main thing you’ve got to remember is to put some thought into your present. Valentine’s Day is just a corporate machine designed to convert your money into sentiment. You can work around the system, it just takes plenty of sentiment. Then again, maybe you should just spring for the jewelry. I’m not the one that will make your life hell.
One Response to “Valentine’s Day Comic Book Gift Guide”
February 7th, 2012 at 12:11 am
I love love loved Blankets. Great list.