Apr 24, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 425: Last Kiss #2, August, 2001 ("Wuv, twue wuv" Week, Day 5)


You should go to John Lustig's "Last Kiss" site and read his comics.

I'll make an admission: I don't usually read text pieces in the comics I blog. I'll have a peep at "Stan's Soapbox" every now and again, or let my eyes wander over a letters page or two, but generally I'm more interested in the comics stories themselves. But with this comic, I thought maybe getting some context would be helpful. Let me explain.

Last Kiss is a romance comic, to be sure, but it's a romance comic with a twist (and that's a bit twisted!). John Lustig, apparently, bought the rights to a Charlton romance comic called First Kiss, and subsequently started re-scripting and manipulating them and making them into ironic 21st century parodies of the original pieces. This is not to say that he is not reverent of the source material - in some ways, in order to really skewer something, you have to love it a lot. This issue featured work by renowned inker Dick Giordano, even including an original piece scripted and drawn for this issue. The jewel in the crown that is this comic, though, is an interview with Giordano about his time working on romance comics for Charlton. He offers a rather wonderful articulation of the differences between drawing a superhero story and a romance story, and why, as an artist, he finds them interesting. I'd never really put together that there are different artistic vocabularies depending on the genre one is working in. Giordano notes that a romance comic is about subtlety and emotion, rather than action and hyperbole. It's one of those things that, of course, makes sense after the fact, but that I'd never thought of before.

So, much as the comics sections of this issue were funny, and I enjoyed them, the interview with Giordano was the best bit. Perhaps I'll have to start paying a bit more attention to text pieces in future.

Moving on, almost done our week of romance. Onward!

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