I threw some praise Love Machines's way for the first issue, bathing in the goddamn weirdness of the book. However, like all things strange, I wasn't sure if it would end up being a one-note novelty. As much as I have a genuine love for the unusual, I couldn't totally say I took the first issue 100% seriously. What sane person would, I don't even thing writer Josh Trujillo was ignoring the inherit ridiculousness of the premise, but at that time it was hard to be sure. If you only have one data sample you can't judge the pattern.
Well, here's the second data sample.
And this book is pretty great.
Josh Trujillo's unusual premise for this anthology series is telling short stories about the way technology and people intermesh culturally, an unspoken relationship between us and the omnipresent things we make and use. Whether its sexual or spiritual, Trujillo is going to go there, eyebrow raisingly frank at times but occasionally quite moving.
Each issue is divided into two stories, both scripted by Trujillo. In this issue, the main story is 'The Velocipede', set in the early twentieth century about a poor father and farmer being visited by his late wife's liberated and sensitive sister. The technology aspect of this story is more subtle than anything so far in the series, the sister's bicycle being a symbol of the freeing power of the future and advancing technology's ability to hasten civil change. While a familiar story and easy to call the beats of, it's very well written, careful not to let cliché run away with the story and with believably human characters. It's a moving piece, enriched by artist Ben Bishop's lush sketchy artwork, whose power of careful expression deserves much of the credit for the potency of the story's power. If nothing else, this is the tale that convinces me of this book's worth and elevates it to a must read.
The second story is more comical, but despite the strangeness of the premise, not entirely so. Like the previous book's short story, it's best if I don't elaborate too much but generally it's vaguely technosexual love story. JB Wolfe's art is extremely bare, but effective, successfully minimal. Unlike the previous issue's back up story, I would say this one felt more like it contributed to the overall book; simple, strange, and oddly touching.
Read this book. It's deeply under-priced for an indie; you could get print copies of both issues for the same change you dropped on 'Batman' last week. It might not be for everyone, but anyone of even the meagerest imagination would know that that's something you have to determine for yourself. In comics, the talent is often found way in the back, which makes it all the more rewarding when you spy it.
Also, Josh? Raise the price. This one more than earns that extra $1.50.
Writer: Josh Trujillo Artists: Ben Bishop, JB Wolfe Publisher: Lost His Keys Man Comics Price: $1.99 Website