cover image Bonding: A Love Story about People and Their Parasites

Bonding: A Love Story about People and Their Parasites

Matthew Erman and Emily Pearson. Vault, $24.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-939424-65-5

Erman (Good Luck) and Pearson (The Vain) skewer genre norms in this sweet and casually unsettling comics romance-dramedy, set in a world where everyone on Earth is bonded to a slug-like alien parasite attached to their chest. Two generations into the alien occupation, humanity has more or less adapted. When 20-somethings Marc and Laura meet up for a date, they gripe a little about the status quo (“Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think that’s the kind of puppy I’d adopt from the pound”), but as they banter and share the names they’ve given their slugs, Laura reveals that she dresses her Pickle up in little hats. Along the way to falling in love, they deal with medical emergencies, mental health issues, and the uncertainty of their slug-infested world. The narrative fast-forwards to their teenage son Ira, who is in the midst of his own first romance, when a global event called the Blooming throws the planet into chaos again. Pearson’s soft, warmly colored art adds an extra layer of unearthliness to the script’s sci-fi and body horror elements. This unexpected mash-up gets at all the ways people find meaning in a life that’s not entirely one’s own. (Jan.)