After much anticipation, we got our hands on an advanced review copy of SWING, VOL. 1. It's not exactly what we'd hoped for, but we're desperate enough for romance comics that we might stick it out...
Spinning of from the universe of Sunstone comes a slice of life romantic story about a couple trying to regain the sexual energy from the beginning of their relationship by swinging with other couples. An emotional journey of two people fighting to stay in love.
I really wanted to love SWING. I adored SUNSTONE and was ready for more of the humor, emotional depth, and romance. Unfortunately, Linda Sejic's lovely art couldn't save the awkward writing and construction of this first volume of SWING.
(If you want to read more about the series and the writing team, we interviewed writer Matt Hawkins in May 2018.)
The book is 132 pages, but only the first 100 are the actual story. The backmatter is cluttered with an excerpt from another Sejic project, BLOODSTAIN, and a bunch of information on swinging. How to get into it, the pro's and con's, resources, etc. This is all well and good, but the BLOODSTAIN excerpt comes before the info on swinging, which doesn't make sense. (Perhaps this will be different in the final version?) The book also opens with an extremely awkward two page sex scene written as prose. It's so clinical that any emotion or arousal the writer wanted to elicit is completely lost. [Then he went down on her and we watched. After a minute, I asked her how she wanted it and she said 'doggie' and I f*cked her for a few minutes.] It's just... awkward. Leave it out next time, please. That opening isn't billed as a preface or an intro to swinging, either, though it's clearly intended as such.
It was a relief to finally get to the actual comic, which is much better than the intro. We're led through the two main characters meeting in college, getting together, and then the next eight years of their lives before they find themselves in a romantic and sexual rut. They then try out a swinging club (with a genuinely funny attempt at oral) and the book ends with the heroine inviting her best friend over for a threesome, which goes well. Then... the book is over.
I understand that the series will continue, but I'm not sure that I'll continue with it. I'm so desperate for romance comics that are sex-positive and beautifully illustrated that I very well may, however. This book is both of those things, but the writing is stilted, jumps around, and could have used an editor or a couple of beta readers who read within the genre.