- Posted by Johanna on January 27, 2006 at 3:47 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: by Andi Watson
- PUBLISHER: Oni Press; $14.95 US
Love Fights is an everyday romance set in a superhero universe. Jack is an artist, illustrating The Flamer’s superhero comic, put out for public relations purposes. He meets Nora on the subway, but he’s too shy to ask her out.
Jack feels inferior compared to the superheroes, you see. He’s convinced girls want them, and he’ll never measure up. He thinks their expectations are unrealistic, although so are his — he wants women to see how neat he is without him making an effort. Still, he’s a nice guy, made more charming by his insecurities.
The situation is complicated by Jack and Nora’s places of work. Jack’s job is supposed to improve the reputation of the hero he illustrates. Nora, on the other hand, works for a tabloid out to get dirt on any hero they can. She’s trying to move from gopher to writer, which means chasing the current hot story: a woman’s accusation that she’s had the Flamer’s illegitimate child.
Then Jack’s cat winds up with superpowers and the ability to talk, allowing him to comment humorously on the situation. The cat’s a bit jealous of Nora, though, and starts trying to keep them apart. Jack and Nora have to fight their way through increasing complications and villainy in order to solve a mystery and wind up with each other.
The figure expressions and effective dialogue are both essential in establishing the realistic, ground-level feel of the characters in a world with exceptional beings flying overhead. The art is constructed from simply expressive lines, with mood emphasized through a variety of grey shades. White highlighting immediately draws the eye to areas of importance and contributes a sense of motion. Crayon provides additional texture.
The minimal images on the chapter break art pages (originally printed as covers when the story was serialized) are masterpieces of modern design. This playfulness also shows up in story details, as when the word balloons “He’s asked for the time. He’s asked for directions. He’s asked for a light.” are shaped as a dial, an arrow, and a smoke cloud, respectively.
Watson’s fascination with the cogs in the machine of the modern media, previously explored in Slow News Day, here takes another slant, with Jack and Nora trying to balance artistry with an everyday job. If you or I lived in a world with superheroes, we’d be a lot more likely to have lives like Jack and Nora’s than the Flamer’s.
Andi Watson has also done a six-page Fantastic Four parody story for Love in Tights #3 (Spring Fling) and the covers for Love in Tights #4 (Fall Special) and Love in Tights #5 (Anniversary Special). Those covers are reprinted in book one.
His other superhero work appears in the Bizarro Comics anthology, where he writes a cute story about Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot that’s illustrated by Mark Crilley (Akiko), and he illustrates Crilley’s story about the Atom. In Bizarro World, the followup, he illustrates a Legion of Super-Heroes story written by Evan Dorkin.