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12 Reasons Why I Love Her Cover
Title: 12 Reasons Why I Love Her
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: NSFW
Tags: graphic novel vignettes straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Synopsis from the Creator:

The classic romance from the team behind Lady Killer is back in print with a brand new hardcover edition! Now in a larger size, and featuring excerpts from the original script, this 10-year anniversary edition is perfect for fans of Fresh Romance. Twelve vignettes reveal the story of young couple Gwen and Evan's tumultuous relationship, one small piece at a time. It all adds up to an unforgettable romance rife with drama, humor, and heart.

Love In Panels' Review:

At its simplest, this is the story of a relationship in 12 vignettes. They are presented out of order, which can be confusing during the first read. I haven't designated this "definitely a romance" because the story doesn't follow a traditional romantic arc. I was left feeling a bit heartbroken. The romance and love are certainly there, rendered beautifully, but there's also a lot of heartache and a very realistic look at why this one relationship fell apart.


A Boy and A Girl Cover
Title: A Boy and A Girl
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Tags: sci-fi graphic novel straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Oni Press

Amazon

Ask your local store!

Synopsis from the Creator:

Travis and Charley have just met. It’s Charley’s last night in town, and Travis can’t let her leave without getting her to go on a date. In a future where real people are rapidly being supplanted by lifelike androids, sometimes one shot is all you get. Intelligence may be artificial, but the emotion is real in a futuristic romance from the writer of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and the cartoonist behind Between Gears.


Alex + Ada Cover
Title: Alex + Ada
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Color
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: R
Tags: sci-fi straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Image Comics

Amazon:

Collected Deluxe Edition, Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3

Buy it from your local comic shop!

Synopsis from the Creator:

From JONATHAN LUNA (THE SWORD, GIRLS, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter, Ruined) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids, but after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot and takes a huge risk to unlock Ada so she can think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. Can they survive the consequences?

Available as 3 volumes, 15 issues, or 1 complete Deluxe Edition.

Love In Panels' Review:

A guest review from Matt (that's Love In Panels's tech-wizard):

ALEX + ADA is a single single science-fiction romance that spans three volumes. It takes place in a world that you can see in the not-too-distant future, which makes the conflicts seem more real and plausible. Instead of iPhones, we have a network that can be implanted directly into your brain; some people love it, but some older people prefer the more personal touch of a video call to relatives. Just like today, but advanced so that I'm one of the old people.

The male protagonist, Alex, is somewhat heartbroken, slogging through life in an office job. His well-meaning grandmother decides to send him a lifelike robotic Tanaka corporation companion, Ada. He's immediately put off by the idea, and with good reason. A few years back, there was a robot that achieved sentience and went on a killing spree. It's not the killing spree that frightens Alex - it's the fact that this creature, who must obey his every command, might be sentient, and completely unable to grant consent. The treatment of women is definitely a prominent thread through the entire series.

Alex decides not to return the unit - something he considers to be a moment of weakness. He starts to frequent internet forums where people discuss how to "unlock" the sentience within a Tanaka robot. When Ada wakes up, neither Alex, nor the world, are ready for what happens next.

The first volume is a story of emotional exploration and confrontation of bigotry. Lifelike robots fall into the concept of the "Uncanny Valley," and make some people extremely uncomfortable. They're all tattooed so that they can't be mistaken for a "real" person. The second volume deals with the social strain of someone trying to pretend to be something they're not - Alex and Ada have broken the law by unlocking her sentience, and Ada has a huge struggle ahead of her as an illegal entity. This volume is much more centered on her than on the romance. The final volume is much faster paced than the prior two, and relatively violent (compared to the rest of the series). This should not be mistaken for rushing the ending (as many comics do) - it feels well-planned and is the end of a steady accelerative curve. Their illegal actions have real world consequences, and the ending was definitely not what I expected, but gives a really great perspective.

It's a very delicate romance that blooms between Alex and Ada, as they didn't meet in the best of circumstances. One partner has trouble treating the other as anything but a child; the other has difficulty with the brand new emotions she's capable of. Somehow, with a lot of reliance on their mutual friends, they're able to work through. The ending is satisfying and heartwarming.

The artwork is very straightforward, and simple enough to convert the messages. It's a very sanitized future, which fits in well with so many of the themes. There's a similarity between the sanitization of AI and the meticulous nature of streets, offices, houses. The robots aren't the only AI creatures, and the remaining AI force keeps everything well-groomed, and you can feel it. This also leaves the facial features of many of the characters feeling a little bland, but it's made up for in body language.

Overall, I can definitely recommend this to fans of science fiction, romance, or both!


Ares & Aphrodite Cover
Title: Ares & Aphrodite
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: NSFW
Tags: graphic novel straight comedy
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Synopsis from the Creator:

Will Ares, a successful divorce lawyer, find himself working alongside Gigi Averelle, a wedding planner, when their respective clients — movie producer Evans Beatty and Hollywood starlet Carrie Cartwright — plan to marry. As Beatty's ex-wives come out of the woodwork to cause mayhem, Gigi and Will make a bet — Gigi agrees to go on a date with Will if Evans and Carrie really do go through with the wedding. Should they break up, however, Will must reveal, in a full-page newspaper ad, how many marriages he's ruined. Is Will a fool for love, or is this the start of a beautiful relationship


Chester XYV 5000 Cover
Title: Chester XYV 5000
Creators: Format: Webcomic, Ebook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: NSFW
Tags: steampunk victorian gay lesbian straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic

Buy from Top Shelf

Amazon: Book Two

Synopsis from the Creator:

Book One:

1885: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Pricilla is a woman with needs, and her inventor husband Robert is a little too busy with his experiments to keep her fully satisfied. Science to the rescue! With a few gears and springs, the proper appendages, a little lubrication, and a lot of love, Chester 5000 is born! He's the perfect tool for the job... but what if Chester is more than just a machine? What are the consequences of trying to engineer love? A vintage delight for adult readers of all stripes, Jess Fink’s Top Shelf debut reads like a whimsical love-child of steampunk, silent film and erotic comics. CHESTER 5000: Because sometimes love comes with detachable body parts.

Book Two:

1889: an age of industrial revolution and sexual frustration. Isabelle is a lonely orphan, reprimanded at every turn by her strict matron. George is an inventor on the cusp of a brilliant discovery. Together they find love, but in an age of violent mechanization and military secrets, can their passion survive? After the smash success of CHESTER 5000’s first volume (the tale of a Victorian woman and her robot lover), beloved webcartoonist Jess Fink returns with another triumphant story of boundary-breaking love, sex, and technology. Discover the origins of your favorite characters along with all-new thrills. All the drama and adventure of the silent film era is here, enlivened with modern whimsy and erotic charm.


Clueless: Senior Year Cover
Title: Clueless: Senior Year
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Color
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: PG13
Tags: straight character of color graphic novel creator of color
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Pick it up at your local comic or book shop!

Synopsis from the Creator:

Your favorite girls from Beverly Hills are back in an all-new adventure! It’s senior year and Cher, Dionne, and Tai find themselves in a bit of a crisis of self… Where are they meant to go, and what are they meant to DO after high school? Luckily they have all year—and each other’s help—to figure it out!

Love In Panels' Review:

This continuation of the much-loved 90's movie, Clueless, isn't as heavy on the romance as the original, but it's getting a review here because I loved it and this is my blog.

The premise is simple: Dionne, Cher, and Tai are trying to figure out who they want/should be as they navigate senior year and an assignment from Ms. Geist. I'll warn you now - if you didn't like the movie, you won't like this comic. Like the original, it's heavy on 90's slang, excellent/horrible outfits, and female friendship.

Unlike the original, Dionne and Tai get real character arcs! Dionne was my fave in the movie, and her arc in this GN is empowering and smart and her boyfriend finally learns to respect her as she deserves. Tai's arc brings the girls out of their comfort zone and puts them to work (physical labor?!) on a big project together.

Cher? She's lost. At the very beginning of the book, Josh suggests that he and Cher take a "break," adding momentum to Cher's existential tailspin. As for romance, everything works out in the end, romance readers. Have no fear. Amber and Sarah wouldn't do that to you/us.

As for the art, the style and colors were perfectly matched to the story. The art captures the fashion, joy, and youthful energy of Clueless and puts readers solidly in the 90's. (Background details are really fun to pick up on a reread, which is one of my favorite things to do with a comic.)

Overall, this was a fun way to spend a couple of hours. Just be prepared to watch the movie immediately afterward.


Emma Cover
Title: Emma
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Color
Romanciness: Definitely a Romance
Heat: PG13
Tags: regency historical straight graphic novel adaptation
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Synopsis from the Creator:

Marvel continues its bestselling graphic novel adaptations of Jane Austen's classics! Award-winning author Nancy Butler, adapter of Marvel's best-selling adaptations Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, brings you another Jane Austen classic! Joined with the beautiful illustrations of Janet Lee, Butler brings to life Austen's most precocious heroine, Emma Woodhouse. Discover what has made this story so enduring, as its re-told in the Mighty Marvel manner!


Fables Cover
Title: Fables
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Color
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: R
Tags: fantasy character of color straight
Where to Buy or Read:

There are 22 volumes of this. Here are links for Volume 1:

Amazon

Vertigo

This is such a popular series that a lot of libraries carry it!

Since you'll probably want to re-read it, you can also buy from your local comic shop.

Synopsis from the Creator:

Fables chronicles the world’s most beloved fairy tale characters hiding out in a magically hidden neighborhood within Manhattan. Run out of their happily-ever-after homeworlds by a mighty conqueror known only as The Adversary, these universally recognized princes, princesses, talking animals, heroes, and villains now face a new challenge: adapting to a modern world filled with sex, violence, and lots of moral ambiguity. Mixing mystery, action, humor, and more, Fables follows these cherished characters’ war against The Adversary and their ongoing struggle to survive alongside one another in the modern world. But who is this Adversary that has rocked their lives?


Glitter Kiss Cover
Title: Glitter Kiss
Creators: Format: Ebook Print
Color: Black and White
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: PG13
Tags: straight fantasy feminism
Where to Buy or Read:

Amazon

Order from your local shop!

Synopsis from the Creator:

One kiss from Tinka's sparkling lips leads to some unexpected consequences for the callous boys of Portage High School. After a secret romance goes up in flames, she looks to a fortune teller for answers on finding true love, which leads to the summoning of some accidental — but hilarious — magic. But in the end, Tinka has to learn to take responsibility for her own decisions, with or without the aid of magic.

Love In Panels' Review:

First things first: the description of this comic is a bit misleading. I don't find it about Tinka learning to take responsibility for her actions so much as all of the boys in her life learning to take responsibility for theirs. Tinka is every girl who wants to be liked and is trying (unsuccessfully) to fit our society's completely unattainable criteria for acceptance and love.

Tinka likes makeup and dressing up. After she overhears the boy she's been secretly seeing (because he refuses to go public with their relationship), Tinka asks a friend to read her palm. Magic happens, and her newest, glittery lipgloss is enchanted. That boy, Jason, wakes up the next day as a girl, and has to experience the weight of societal expectations of women for the first time.

A while back, one of the other boys at school decided to publicly shame Tinka because she wouldn't do anything more than kiss him. In her words, "A slut is someone who sleeps with everyone. A bitch is someone who sleeps with everyone but you." Tinka is called both, and mocked by both sexes at school. It's an unfortunately honest and common high school story.

I appreciated the revenge fantasy that is GLITTER KISS. It was refreshing to see both boys and girls buying into and falling victim to misogynistic mores. Not that it's fun in fiction or in real life, but it's important that we acknowledge that it's not just boys or just girls who treat girls poorly for these reasons. A girl labeled "easy" is going to get hit from all sides. A girl who visibly seeks approval and affection? Even worse. She must be desperate.

Tinka's eventual confrontations with Jason, with her father, and with the boys at school who've been mistreating her are resolved in what I felt was a wholly satisfactory way, and I kind of wanted to do a fist pump. Don't take their shit, baby girl.


Heart Hex Cover
Title: Heart Hex
Creators: Format: Webcomic
Color: Color
Romanciness: Romantic Elements
Heat: R
Tags: character of color fantasy paranormal witches straight
Where to Buy or Read:

Read the Webcomic!

Synopsis from the Creator:

Heartbreak's a bitch.

No one knows this better than Eulalie "Lee" Griffin.

After three years of what seemed like the perfect relationship, she found herself watching Ant leave after the discovery of his long-term affair.

A demon summoning later, Lee's down one ex-boyfriend after a brief reconciliation that only uncovered the depth of Ant's deceit.

It's only a matter of time before Rosier collects. There's still questions about the circumstances around Ant's death, not to mention damage control for any unforseen consequences of Lee's actions.


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