Fresh Romance is one of the best things to happen to the comic book industry in ages. It’s a great time for comics all around right now, with lots of good superhero, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all ages books available each month, but the romance genre has been very underrepresented. Romance series used to be huge for comics back in the Silver Age, but they slowly faded away and have yet to come back in a big way.
But now we’ve got Fresh Romance, a monthly digital series that showcases several different kinds of romance genres from historical to high school to fantasy, all from a modern, female-focused, sex positive, and LGBTQ+ friendly perspective. It’s a great book, and now it’s going to be available in print. And you can get on board with their Kickstarter!
Fresh Romance is a one-woman operation on the production side of things at Rosy Press, helmed by editor Janelle Asselin. But now she’s teamed with Oni Press to put the digital stories out in print form, and the Kickstarter is for a special edition of the first collection. Backing the Kickstarter will a) get you an awesome book filled with killer stories, and b) demonstrate the viability of Fresh Romance and hopefully lead to more print collections through Oni down the road.
There are a variety of levels at which you can support the Kickstarter, with lots of fun rewards in the mix, but the print book at the core of the campaign is the biggest prize to me. Here’s what you’re going to get in the 224 page volume:
- 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.
The stories are fantastic, and there are some killer creators in the mix, including Kate Leth, who writes the AWESOME Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat!; Marguerite Bennett from the great DC Comics Bombshells, Angela: Queen of Hel, and a bunch of other titles; and Keiron Gillen from Journey into Mystery, The Wicked & the Divine, Young Avengers, and more. Everyone else is wonderful as well, and all of the stories are polished and enjoyable.
The Fresh Romance Kickstarter currently has six days left and is only $16,500 from its goal. I really want this book to happen, partly because I think Fresh Romance is great and important and partly because I want to get my hands on this Kickstarter exclusive special edition with the Kevin Wada cover! You should definitely check out the Kickstarter and get on board, and then tell your friends. Janelle Asselin and Rosy Press are what we need in the comic book industry, a publisher that focuses on telling high quality, enjoyable stories with female characters and female creators at the forefront. Show your support and get some amazing comics at the same time; it’s an absolute win-win!