Romance comics are a difficult topic for me. I am a giant, fully unabashed fan of romantic comedies, romance films, and the like. But every romance comic I have read seems to miss the mark for me. Somewhere along the line things go wonky. The only one that never really lost me was Love and Capes, although it being a web comic always lead to a slightly off feeling pace for me (hard to please am I apparently). So imagine my surprise when I'm reading through the comics for this week and start reading Long Distance #1, written and drawn by the creator of Love and Capes. As the title suggests, this is about the two most dreadful words when applied to any relationship, "long distance". The lucky couple in this far apart prediciment are Carter, an artist for an adverting company he and his best friend have created; and Lee, a post-doc scientist who does research for NASA. The two meet in an airport after Carter is knocked over by a kid dressed as Batman. The two quickly click, discuss work, their home states, and science both real and fictitious. It is adorable, sweet, and you quickly start rooting that these two kids will just trump the odds and work out.
The rest of the issue is the two of them apart in their day to day lives as they start their relationship hundreds of miles apart. Best friends are introduced, work is discussed, little cute moments happen thanks to technology, you know romantic comedy things happen. And it works very well. Everything feels authentic. They are both professionals, they are both infatuated with each other, but they have other conversations then just about the relationship. Lee talks to her co-worker about the actual job she does, about pet peeves when going to large presentations, and more. Carter does very similar, and that is refreshing.
The artwork is a cute stylized slightly cartoony style, very similar to Love and Capes, and it works so well for a romance story. There is also an interesting coloring choice. The book is essentially black and white, but the "black" is replaced with a different color and then shaded accordingly. So when Carter is in Columbus there is a green hue, while Lee's time in Chicago is yellow. It is a helpful color signal to tell the reader location when it changes from page to page. The coloring really works in the handful of pages where the location switches from panel to panel during a phone conversation. What is also great is how it is obvious yet subtle, it took me several pages to even notice the change and what it signified conciously.
I really enjoyed this book and hope it has a good (and happy) ending come issue 4.