The benefit comic is often a patchy affair which can sometimes end up with an embarrassing mess like Marvel and DC’s famine relief comics of the 1980’s, but normally end up being a pick and mix affair with creators often dealing with complex, or touchy subjects outwith their ability or knowledge. Love is Love is a thankfully less patchy affair than expected. Here’s the blurb for it;
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.
Much of the book is made up of pin-ups, and sometimes trite, sometimes touching, sometimes featuring characters who are LGBTQ from DC such as Batwoman.
It occasionally deals head on with homophobia in ways which sometimes don’t say anything new, but at least brings the subject up.
The problem is that it paints a world of black and white.
There’s some strips like Jeff Jensen’s which touch upon moral complexities, not to mention the way Tweeting something is seen as fighting for equal rights rather than just getting your hands dirty by fighting for equal rights.
Some of these strips dance round the issue of guns in America, something from where I sit, is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Also the idea of ‘common sense’ gun laws leaves much to whoever actually defines what ‘common sense’ is, so for me, the ability of people to by weapons that can slaughter numbers of people easily isn’t something a civilised society should tolerate.
Skirting round the difficult politics by some is disappointing but there’s other strips telling true stories that are painful to read as they should do with anyone with an ounce of humanity in them.
Then there’s the vaguely crass insertion of Batman into real life, which I get the intention, but fails to be anything but a wee bit jarring.
Amazingly enough one of the best pieces here is written by Mark Millar who takes on the politics head on and comes out with a very stark, clear strip with a message. It’s one of the best things Millar’s done in years.
Love is Love is a patchy affair mixing heartfelt messages of love and support with crass superhero stories (the one with Deathstroke is something that has to be seen to be believed) but on the whole most of the strips have their hearts in the right places even if it’s a tad Guardian liberal in places.and it is for a good cause but perhaps one day they’ll be a benefit comic that isn’t a patchy, sometimes awful, mess.