Today’s romance comics look nothing like they did in their “golden age,” and thank heavens for that. Once upon a time, romance comic books were more popular than superhero comics. Following WWII, interest in action-adventures such as writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby’s Nazi-punching Captain America was on the decline, so in 1947 they turned their attention to a new series, Young Romance, and gave birth to a genre in the process.

A Whirlwind Romance (Comic)

By the early 1950s, nearly all comic book publishers had at least one title on romance comics. And since this was the original make-America-great era, they were primarily morality tales, teaching that women would find happily-ever-after-ness only if they gave up their careers and subjected themselves to patriarchal marital bliss.

But starting with the major breakthroughs of 1960s feminism, love in funnybooks has come a long way, baby. Diversity is now the norm. In my recent Print “Best Comics” series, I’ve already noted The Provocative Colette and A Sea of Love. And hey, I also featured DC Comics’ two-genre saga of Batman and Catwoman’s eventful wedding day, which you can read here.

And that’s just a start. Here are yet more recent titles that offer a great range of approaches to the subject so near and dear to our annual February 14th celebration. Providing a variety of outstanding visual interpretations as well as unconventional narratives, here are ten stunning tales of…

• Mila, a teenager who finds herself attracted to a ghostly warrior from ancient times.
• Emma, living in 1920s Lapland, whose search for her fiancé becomes a journey of self-discovery.
• Prince Sebastian, who, with the aid of his talented dressmaker, maintains a secret life at night as Lady Crystallia of Paris.
• Daisy, Esther, and Susan, whose lives as university students are thrown off-kilter when a boy declares his love.
• Pearl, an aspiring tattoo artist who bonds with one of the Yakuza clan who are demanding that she become an assassin instead.
• a writer-artist whose candid autobiographical graphic novel details her struggles with anxiety, self-esteem, and sexual concerns.
• Nora, who solves her boyfriend problems by falling in love with a 500-pound bear.
• Julie, a coffee shop barista who transforms into a werewolf when she gets angry, and her friends and fantasy creatures.
• Persephone, whose classical myth of being abducted by Hades is given a contemporary twist in an ongoing webcomic.
• women who can only find fulfillment in subservient domesticity, in a series of now-campy 1950s romance comic book reprints.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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WaterSnakes

Writer/artist: Tony Sandoval (LionForge)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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Emma G. Wildford

Writer: Zidrou
Artist: Edith (Titan Comics)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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The Prince and the Dressmaker

Writer/artist: Jen Wang (First Second)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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Giant Days

Writer: John Allison
Artist: Julia Madrigal (Boom! Box)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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Pearl

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

Artist: Michael Gaydos (Jinxworld)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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My Solo Exchange Diary

Writer/artist: Nagata Kabi (Seven Seas)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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My Boyfriend is a Bear

Writer: Pamela Ribon
Artist: Cat Farris (Oni Press)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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Moonstruck

Writer: Grace Ellis
Artist: Shea Beagle (Image Comics)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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Lore Olympus

Writer/artist: Rachel Smythe (webtoon)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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Weird Love

Editors: Craig Yoe, Clizia Gussoni (IDW)

Romance comics are different today than their origins.

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The post 10 Comics for You to Love on Valentine’s Day appeared first on Print Magazine.