cover image Twisted Romance, Vol. 1

Twisted Romance, Vol. 1

Alex de Campi et al. Image, $16.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-5343-0753-7

This generous anthology collects the offbeat contemporary romance series’ first four issues, written primarily by de Campi and drawn by a variety of buzzy artists. The genre offerings are pleasantly eclectic, including fantasy, science fiction, and down-to-earth stories of modern love, featuring characters of many shapes, colors, and sexual orientations. Prose stories, less memorable than the comics, are sprinkled throughout. The anthology suffers from uneven quality, with the caliber of art and writing improving as the series progresses. Outstanding entries include “Twinkle and the Star,” a cute story about a fashion photographer’s assistant who catches the eye of the star she’s photographing; “Treasured,” a fairy tale allegory rendered in lovely Aubrey Beardsley–like art; and “Invincible Heart,” a science fiction drama about a cocky space pirate that benefits from pencil art by Carla Speed McNeil (Finder). Although the title suggests dark and disturbing material, the romance stays at a PG (or maybe PG-13) level and most of the stories are upbeat. Overall, the hits outweigh the misses, and the series as a whole is a welcome update of the classic frilly romance comic. (Sept.)