Virtually Yours is what I want more of in comics — a romantic comedy with a unique premise.
Eva is living at home looking for a journalism job. To get her parents off her back, at her sister’s suggestion, she gets a fake boyfriend from Virtually Yours. The company exists to provide proof of relationships for people in similar situations; it’s an anti-dating app. This way, she can focus on her career without her parents worrying.
Max is a former child star who has just begun working at the company. He’s in the middle of a challenging divorce but great at his new job. When Eva starts writing about her experiences and meets Max in person, not knowing who he is, things get complicated.
It’s very young-person-in-New-York trendy at times — the leads meet in person at an axe-throwing bar, for example — but the overall challenges and emotions are universal. Most of the cast are people of color, and the diversity is refreshing for this kind of story, particularly in comics.
The writer makes a cameo in the story, as Max’s friend runs a comic book store, and there’s a signing for their previous comic, Southern Dog. It makes sense as an ongoing plot device, though.
I was a bit confused by some of the early storytelling, where we’re shown glimpses of Max’s prior relationship wordlessly, and the timing (then or now) wasn’t clear until I re-read it, but this was the kind of story where I went back and read it a second time as soon as I finished anyway. Once I knew what happened, I wanted to see again how they got there. There’s some brilliant storytelling, too, as in a sequence where Eva, trying to solve a difficult problem and lost in her thoughts, is shown in a series of panels where everything changes around her but her expression and position stays the same.
Virtually Yours is written by Jeremy Holt, illustrated by Elizabeth Beals, and published as a ComiXology Original, which means you can read it for free if you’re an Amazon Prime member or subscribe to ComiXology Unlimited. As a story, although the ending is rushed, the characters are fun to spend time with, which makes it a lovely little diversion.