In June of 2016, 49 people were brutally murdered at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This graphic novel is an anthology of stories inspired by that event.
Comic book writer Marc Andreyko organized a team of creators from around the industry to contribute to the project. It’s a collection of one and two page stories, all dealing with the shooting or related themes.
DC Comics helped launch “Love is Love” in cooperation with IDW Publishing, and their signature characters are here, but this is not a book focused on superheroes. This is a book of comic creators dealing with tragedy in a range of ways, some of them polished and controlled, some of them a cathartic release of emotion.
It’s a hard read. I found I couldn’t get through more than a few pages at a time without having to put the book down, often unable to continue because my vision was blurred with tears. The one page stories distill raw emotions into pure, primal form. Anger is here, as is grief, fear and pain. But there is hope, celebration, even some random silliness.
To say that this is an uneven collection would be correct. It would also be entirely beside the point. This book has power. This book can rip the scabs off your heart and make it bleed afresh. This book hurts.
And then it heals. It heals with hope, with community, with the dawning of understanding and empathy. Above all else, it heals with the pure force of love in all its myriad forms.
“Love is Love” opens with a list of 49 names on the inside front cover, 49 people for whom it was written but who will never read it. I suspect there are readers for whom even that simple list is overwhelming. I can’t fault them. And if you’re looking for nits to pick, you’ll find plenty of imperfect understandings by creators who are not LGBTQIA. This might not be the book for you if you demand everybody present the queer experience with perfect fidelity (insofar as that’s even possible).
For everybody else… all the creative work on “Love is Love” was donated and all the proceeds go to the Equality Florida fund for victims, survivors and their families.
Support your local bookseller, but if you can’t, it’s on Amazon .