Ahoy-hoy guys. We're gonna do something really strange today and review a trade that isn't by a comic book publisher, but an obscure fine arts company in NY.
Truer Than True Romance
by Jeanne Martinet
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: You remember those crummy romance comics back in the 50s? You know, the ones where everyone is so darn pretty and the girl, after pages of emotional torture and anxiety, always gets the guy?
Yeah, that messed up other people's views on love too. Including Jeanne Martinet, so she decided to take the original art for some old stories, and put her own twist on it with her own dialogue and narration. A love story on a coast city turns into an investigation by the E.P.A. on the toxicity of the local fish. A girl who's stood up at the airport becomes a girl who refuses the freedom that checking her bags will allow her. Twists like that!
WHAT I LIKED: Some of the twists are really fun to read! You can tell Jeanne had a lot of fun with some of these. My favorite was the coast city one, where everyone just wandered around the city, because their brains had been messed up by the fish so poorly. They didn't know where their home was!
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Other twists are a little forced. It can be hard to take a story out of context for 8 whole pages after all!
EXTRAS?: There are little faux advice columns after some stories, with people asking an "expert" for love advice. It's a great touch that reinforces the retro-feel of the book, but it's even more hit-or-miss than the stories.
Jeanne also makes an introduction, explaining the motivation for the book -- romance comics screwed up her notion of love, so she thought she'd get back at 'em!
FINAL THOUGHTS: This entire thing is just making fun of comics, and really, where isn't the fun in that?
It's nice to read a book that isn't geared for sweaty teenage boys, or sweatier balding men. The girls aren't written for exploitative purposes; they're written for satire. That's not much of an improvement, but it's quantum leaps above stuff like "Marvel Divas." Just ridiculous.