Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Our Love is Real - Review

A Very Bold Take on Science Fiction and Comics

It's been five years since the AIDS vaccine was released and riot cop Jok finds himself in the middle of another vegiesexual riot. He can't stand people who have sex with plants, and the mineralsexuals and people who have sex with robots make him even more angry. Jok is proud to be a zoosexual, which is the norm by that day's standards. He has a romantic relationship with a dog, as do most of the other members of the police force. But when he meets a mineralsexual named Brin, Jok starts to lose interest in the ideas of the masses. In a future where no one can agree over who has real and honest love with their companions, Jok can't even decide if he fits into the new world on any level.

Written by Sam Humphries and drawn by Steven Sanders, Our Love is Real is an independently produced and created one-shot comic that was released in limited stores and digitally through Comixology. I had heard about the comic through a podcast from iFanboy, where Humphries was interviewed about his process in self-publishing a very risky science fiction story as a one-shot comic book.

The story, though it is a bit of a strange ground to tread on, has that very classic science fiction element of a man against the norm. In this world it's not strange to have sex with things that aren't human. In fact, it's the social standard to be one of these strange orientations. When Jok starts falling for a human, he feels as if he's done something wrong, as if he's betrayed society. It's this kind of story telling that reminds me of the classic science fiction stories and pulps I read as a kid.

The layout of this comic is also a bold move. Instead of being the standard dimensions, Humphries and Sanders went with a square page, 8"x8", giving it an even more unique feel. Add in the artwork done by Sanders, which is a stunning black and white presentation with incredibly detail and style, and you've got one powerful piece of literature.

I can see off the bat why many people would completely dismiss this book right from the get go, but I encourage you to give it a chance. It was a bold move to put out this book, and it has nothing to do with the writer's sexual orientation (he assured us on iFanboy). What it is doing is showing that people are still willing to write science fiction that does what it was intended to do -- speculate. In fact, most science fiction should rightfully be called speculative fiction for the sole reason that it's speculating as to where society or technology might eventually bring us.

This little limited released comic book is wonderful for a number of reasons, the first being that Humphries went out, published it himself, and then distributed it through phone calls and Comixology. Though I will note that I haven't checked if it's at Graphicly yet, which is the other big digital comics retailer. The second reason that it's important is that it brings us back to the fact that comics can tell any kind of story in any kind of genre with just as much literary power as any other medium. And finally it's important because it teaches the age old lesson that sometimes the social norm isn't the right thing, and that in order to find real love and true happiness you have to go against what society says.

You can order the book at www.ourloveisrealcomic.com or you can find it on Comixology for sale.

1 comment:

  1. I read a short preview of this a few weeks ago and loved it. That's why I have so much respect for creator owned and self published books. It's the equivalent of third party politicians. Sure, those books may never sell what Marvel and DC sell. But they broaden the general comics spectrum. It keeps the medium fresh and leads to better and stranger comics.