Review: Love is Love anthology

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Title: Love Is Love
Author: Anthology
Genre: Graphic Novel
Series: N/A
Pages: 144
Published: December 28, 2016
Source: Borrowed Library
Rating: 1/5
The comic industry comes together in honor of those killed in Orlando. Co-published by two of the premiere publishers in comics—DC and IDW, this oversize comic contains moving and heartfelt material from some of the greatest talent in comics, mourning the victims, supporting the survivors, celebrating the LGBTQ community, and examining love in today’s world. All material has been kindly donated by the writers, artists, and editors with all proceeds going to victims, survivors, and their families. Be a part of an historic comics event! It doesn’t matter who you love. All that matters is you love.
This anthology, released by IDW in conjunction with DC in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando is the definition of empty allyship. From the very cover, where a canonically straight Wonder Woman* leads a brightly colored and adoring parade of safe queers and adorable poppets, where the only visible sign reads, "I love my lesbian daughter", the entire product is aimed at making the shooting palatable to straight people.

*Have artists portrayed Diana as trans or bi? Yes. Has DC acknowledged this a permanent part of her mythos? Of course not,

We're then confronted with the introduction, written by Patty Jenkins, a straight woman who once directed a movie about a lesbian. She proceeds to word vomit a long, rambling story about serial killer Aileen Wuornos and how she found acceptance in the Florida gay community, so Patty herself feels a kinship towards them.  And then, and then!
Second, because it appears more clear all the time that the perpetrator of the Pulse shooting was himself struggling with his own sexuality and the same kind of homophobia, xenophobia, and cycle of violence that created Aileen Wuornos. Everything about that circle pains my heart.
It pain your heart? Do you know how often the LGBT+ community is told that those who perpetrated violence against us are really just closeted? It is a disgusting tactic used to put the onus back on us for our own victimization. It creates an "us vs them" separation for cishet people to hide behind, making crime an intra-community issue and not worthy of mainstream attention and resources. Furthermore, there is no proof that Omar Mateen was gay and that is not becoming "more clear all the time". What he was was an abusive, four time failed cop who shouldn't have had a gun in the first place. But as one comic mentions, it seems IDW wanted to keep the book "non-political" and "positive" so, we're left with useless poems and endless rainbow flags to cover the real issue.

The book itself mostly consists of single page comics and full page splashes. Some like "Fly" by Joe Kelly are mostly harmless platitudes along the same lines of "It Gets Better".  Some, like an unnamed page by Joshua Hale Fialkov are full of the same kind of faux allyship demonstrated in the introduction.
Thank you wise plotMoppet for teaching us queers to appreciate BlueLives
If it speaks to any LGBT+ youth, I won't say the book is worthless, but nothing groundbreaking is within these pages. Those who belong to the community already know our love is valid and strong. Those outside the community either won't be swayed by such brief, trite little messages or are already patting themselves on the back for being good allies and buying the book. No matter what, I can't get a handle on who this was written for. What I will call worthless is the story "Thoughts and Prayers: A Confession" by Jeff Jensen. This two page call for absolution tells of how the author heard of the shooting and planned to call his reps but then forgot so "all [he does] is bring it before the Lord...and leave it there". Why in God's name would you write that? Should I forgive you for not calling your gay friends to check on them? For not writing a check to the survivors GFM? For recognizing this failure and not course correcting? All because you took the time to write and donate 225 words to an anthology months later? Guess what, Jeff Jensen, this queer bitch is not your confessor and you are not forgiven,

The makers of this book seem to have forgotten there are other letters beyond L and G. The cover features a man in a "trans men are men shirt" and another character in a trans flag colored top. One group story 1/3 of the way through the book features a masculine looking character trying to buy a dress, and Emma Houxbois' page is about a trans woman. That's about it, if I don't count the story of a man deadnaming his daughter-in-law at her wedding. (Spoiler, I fucking don't.) There's a line about "axesuals [sic] pretending, joking about having sex..." in a larger story about sex noises and staying out of others bedrooms? Whatever. I broke it down for you below:

Stories centered on:
L - 11.5
G - 25
B - 0
T - 3
Q - 0
I - 0
A- 0
Mixed Groups - 10
Allies explaining homophobia to kids - 9
Straight people w/hurt feelings - 8
GUNS - 5
Animals? There are more stories about animals than trans people? - 3

As for the DC content? Paul Dini provides seven panels of Harley and Ivy, which I go back and forth on as representation. Their relationship was queerbait and fannon for a long time, but I do see more artists using it as the accepted backstory so. There is a two page Batman story which needs a massive trigger warning, as Batman goes inside the club and investigates the dead bodies while searching for a motive. Of course, this is a real life event and there isn't one and it's super exploitative, including 911 transcripts, and I think less of Marc Guggenheim, Brent Peeples, Chris Sotomayor, and John Roshell for writing and illustrating it. Batwoman, one of the few cannon lesbians in comics, makes several appearances. Deathstroke gets a page that might be supposed to be humorous? where he throws out his guns and vows to use karate after watching the news of the shooting. Superman and Supergirl also get in on the action, used as metaphors for how accepting humanity can be. None of it's worth anything. Superheroes can absolutely be a filter to explain the world at large, and one story almost gets it as a golden age villain breaks the fourth wall to explain how harmful his gay affectations and eventual death at the hands of an AIDS metaphor were, but what does Bizarro flying around saying:

actually mean? He doesn't learn to "hate that hate", he goes back to saying nonsense. There has to be a reason to include these recognizable figures besides just name value.

This anthology is a disaster. It's nothing more than a blatant back pat from a bunch of straight white men in an industry that has long abhorred our community. It's not for us. I'm sorry for the few LGBT+ artists and writers who got roped into this obvious Kill Your Gays fetish porn.


  1. Yikes, this sounds like quite the train wreck. Will definitely be giving this one a pass. Fab review. :)

  2. I wish I could say I was surprised this got published...?


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