Fresh Romance Cover
Title: Fresh Romance
Creators: Color: Color
Romanceiness: Romantic Elements
Heat: PG13
Tags: anthology gay straight queer young adult fantasy paranormal character of color creator of color
Where to Buy or Read:

Volume 1

Emet Comics (Digital)

Oni Press (Print)

Amazon

Volume 2

Emet Comics

Amazon

Synopsis from the Creator:

Fresh Romance, Vol. 1:

FRESH ROMANCE is an exciting collection of romance comics from some of comics' most talented creators, including Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sarah Kuhn, Marguerite Bennett, and Trungles. From unhappy historical marriages to covert teenage romances, there's something for everyone in FRESH ROMANCE.

Fresh Romance, Vol. 2:

FRESH ROMANCE VOLUME 2 is an exciting collection of romance comics from some of comics' most talented creators, including Cecil Castellucci, Irene Koh, Sarah Winifred Searle, Sally Jane Thompson, Suzana Harcum & Owen White, and Julia Hutchinson. From testing new relationships to romances spanning decades, there's something for everyone in FRESH ROMANCE!

Love In Panels' Review:

Suzanne's post from July 2016, originally posted at Heroes & Heartbreakers is below. Rosy Press's content was acquired by Emet Comics, who published the second volume of Fresh Romance.

*****

Sometimes I get tired of reading novels (OMG did she just say that?!) and I flip on the latest episode of Jane the Virgin. And sometimes… I read comics. Okay, a lot of the time. I’m in a comics-for-ladies monthly discussion group called The League of Extraordinary Gentlewomen. It’s a real thing and it’s amazing.

So I’m maybe a little biased toward the graphic novel/comic medium.I love the way that a talented writing and art team can reveal character traits and plot points with such subtlety that you don’t pick up on it. While there’s still a lot of “cheesecake” (women drawn with an abundance of T&A and little clothing) in some comics, a great number of female-forward comics are being published and gaining popularity. Examples include: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, Saga, Sex Criminals, and of course, Buffy.

You probably want to know why I’m writing about comics on a romance site. Loads of comics have romance B-plots, but none of them have been 100% romance focused since the 70s. (Saga has an awesome star-crossed lovers in space with a baby thing going, but the romance isn’t always at the fore.)

Allow me to introduce Rosy Press’s Fresh Romance, a bimonthly comic featuring 3 10-page stories in each issue. These have been serialized up until now but are available in completed versions on their website and will be printed and available at a comic store near you (or online) on August 10.  The stories are diverse in terms of setting, sexual orientation, and racial makeup.I’ve read the first three stories and loved them. There will be 5 in all in the print edition, but you can get them now digitally if you’d like. 

School Spirit

High school kids involved in some hijinks. I wasn’t sure at first what was going on, but it’s intentionally written that way and it’s very cute. The characters are hiding their relationships for different reasons, mainly family judgments. Subtle exploration of the ways we might be biased against certain relationships while accepting those others might shun. Plus, boys who say things like “Dude. The reason you don’t have a prom date is because you talk about girls like that.” No stilted dialogue, and such good messaging.

Ruined

Ruined by Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle & Ryan FerrierDo you read historicals set in England? The title of this one ought to tell you enough. The credits list a “historical consultant.” You guys, just read it. It’s got scandal, an unfortunate? marriage, and of course, the romance.

The Ruby Equation

Adorable cupid/fairy uses math/logic to match people to earn her way back to her homeworld and a “better” assignment. Hijinks ensue. Will Ruby realize her true calling and the value of love?

Here’s the copy from the Kickstarter for the print edition:

  • School Spirit by Kate Leth, Arielle Jovellanos, Amanda Scurti, and Taylor Esposito. School Spirit is the story of four teens embroiled in keeping their love lives secret from everyone around them. It's never quite that simple, though, and complications for this group include bigoted parents and witch-y powers!
  • Ruined is an historical romance by Sarah Vaughn, Sarah Winifred Searle, and Ryan Ferrier featuring a couple entering a loveless marriage at the prompting of society and their families. The future looks bleak for Andrew and Catherine, but there's more to each of them than either one knows. (Just chapter 1 — 60 pages of story — will be included)
  • The Ruby Equation stars a cynical matchmaker from another dimension who has to learn to believe in love for real! But is a coffee shop the right place to learn lessons of love? Written by Sarah Kuhn, drawn by Sally Jane Thompson, colored by Savanna Ganucheau, and lettered by Steve Wands.
  • Beauties by Marguerite Bennett, Trungles, and Rachel Deering takes readers to a lush fantasy world where the beautiful are beastly and the beasts are beautiful — and true love can be either.
  • First, Last, and Always by Kieron Gillen and Christine Norrie is about the magic of a first kiss with someone.

I’m sure some of you will tell me in the comments about the extensive range romance-focused manga out there. PLEASE DO. I haven’t started on manga because it’s intimidating. If you’re feeling that way about comics, Fresh Romance is a great place to start! 

Review: Embodied: An Intersectional Feminist Comics Poetry Anthology

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 22, 2021 10:05:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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I posted a bit about Embodied over on the Love in Panels Instagram account, but I loved this book so much I wanted to make sure it got to as many sets of eyes as possible.
I received a digital review copy of the book but never got around to reading it, so when I saw it's shiny glory on display at my local indie bookstore, I picked it up. The cover is truly gorgeous, a computer image doesn't do it justice. (It's shiny in that silver-blue-purple way that only the best drag gowns are.)

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Review: The Girl From the Sea, by Molly Ostertag and Maarta Laiho

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 8, 2021 11:38:05 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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The Girl From the Sea is a sapphic young adult graphic novel with a summer romance between a human teen and a selkie. Ostertag's recognizable art style is rendered here more clearly than in The Witch Boy series and Maarta Laiho's colors are beautiful. But yet again, I'm annoyed at a publisher for putting only one name on the front of the book when it's a collaboration. Colorists are so important and deserve credit, dammit. Worse, Laiho isn't listed anywhere on the book page on Amazon. Here's why it's especially important in this case: I think Laiho did a better job than Ostertag usually does and therefore this is a better product. It feels almost abusive. *shakes fist at Scholastic*

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I Am Hexed - Final Kickstarter Launch

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 15, 2021 9:44:53 AM / by Suzanne posted in kickstarter, new comics

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For those of us who like to wait for the last issue of an indie comic to get in on the crowdfunding action, that time is here! (I already backed this once before, but still.) I Am Hexed, a queer comic with so many witches, launches its fourth and final Kickstarter on February 16th!

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Cheer Up!: Love and Pompoms

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 29, 2021 9:48:34 AM / by Press Release posted in new comics

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I don't do this often, but this comic looks so cute that I figured I'd share the announcement from Oni-Lion Forge!

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Review: Cheater Code, by S.A. Foxe and Daz

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 28, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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This book is only for adult audiences. If you are not 18+, please close this window.

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Review: Smut Peddler Presents: Silver

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 21, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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This book is for adult audiences only. (18+)

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Review: The Daughters of Ys, by M.T. Anderson and Jo Rioux

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 15, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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This is the book for you if you like:
1) messy sister relationships
2) magic, used for both good and evil
3) a distinctive art style with emphasis on watery tones and pops of red
4) folktales

The Daughters of Ys is a retelling of an old Breton folktale, set in a magically protected and constructed seaside city called Ys. (Similar to Atlantis, it's a magical city that's now sunken and never seen again.) The Queen, possessed of faerie magic, has just passed away and her two daughters are left with an irresponsible, grieving mess of a father. The elder sister takes to the countryside, bonding with animals and local people, even finding love with a commoner. The younger sister takes her anger and magic and uses them to keep the city going with her father. She does all the things no one else is willing to do and it's unclear whether she's actually "bad" or just does evil things. If she didn't do them, the city would fall into the sea and the sea monsters that guard it would attack all the inhabitants, so is all the murdering she does to feed the monsters and magic really that bad? Hmm.

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Review: Come Together: A European Anthology of Erotic Comics

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 8, 2020 11:51:21 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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Come Together is a collection of erotic comics from a stellar group of comics creators. Many will be familiar to comics readers, including Niki Smith and Hari Conner, but several were new to me and I'm happy to have read them. One of my favorite things about anthologies is the opportunity to be exposed to new creators and Come Together didn't disappoint.

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Review: You Brought Me the Ocean, by Alex Sanchez and Julie Maroh

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 18, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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You Brought Me the Ocean is an origin story for Aqualad, this time as a gay Black teen living in the US Southwest. So many secrets. His mother's been keeping him away for water his entire life, but why? What are the "birthmarks" on his arms and why do they glow when exposed to water? Is he gay? Why does everyone think he's dating his best friend Maria? And is it time to talk to the only out gay guy at school? Or do more than talk?

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Review: Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel

[fa icon="calendar'] May 15, 2020 9:45:00 AM / by Suzanne posted in review

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DC continues to impress with their YA origin stories. We've reviewed several, with more to come soon, but this one was billed as a fantasy romance, so we decided to give it priority.

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