There will be very few people who can’t relate to Reel Love. It is as the name loosely implies about movies, films or cinema if you prefer. That’s not the only thing, but that is what lies at the heart of the story. Now if you’re reading this there’s a good chance that you consider yourself a film buff or maybe your circle of friends consider you a film buff. If you are a film buff then you’re going to really appreciate Reel Love. The story follows our young boy on the cover; I would assume that’s our creator of the story Owen Michael Johnson, but he could be nameless so that the reader can project themselves onto the character. At any rate the story opens with our young tike being taken to the movies for the first time with his father. He’s full of questions and fear and so when the movie kicks in there’s no surprise when he can’t handle it. All the while the narration comes from the point of view of cinema. The experience of cinema in an abstract way narrates our main character’s life and his growing connection to cinema.
Our main character grows a little and is now able to handle watching movies on his own. He heads to a release of Star Wars and of course everything changes from there. Before Star Wars became popular or at least liked by everyone it was the friend test. If you liked Star Wars we were friends and if you didn’t then we weren’t. Though this test is unspoken our main character finds a friend because of the film franchise. He and Joe become best of friends and their bond and adventures will likely remind you of your own. We all have that one friend growing up that we click with and bond with until maturity pushes us away from each other.
The story actually tackles a lot of subjects. Friendship of course is a big theme, but then the overall theme is that blossoming love that all fans of film have gone through. That sound of the projector running in the back that you pick up every so often when the sound goes soft; the chairs and the crowd. But most importantly the lasting effect that cinema has on one’s imagination.
The narration is a huge part of the story and the story’s success. Cinema as a character is the perfect narrator. The rest of the dialogue is natural and believable. There are actually several touching moments of dialogue and one in particular that might make you choke back some tears.
The art is in all black & white which was the perfect complement for the story. I think color would have been too distracting from the emotional content and that would have been a shame. Johnson mixes the real world with the cinema world and it’s spectacular. Sometimes it’s subtle like when they’re about to watch Star Wars and there’s small visual cues. Johnson doesn’t overload the scene, but just sprinkles a mixture of the fantasy world beforehand and then goes full force after the film if only to say that the character’s world is all about the film now.
There is one powerful scene that I would love to breakdown visually, but it would steal the thunder of the scene so I will refrain from that. I will say that there is a scene between father and son that was also extremely touching and moving. Our main character says he’s going to finish his movie that he’s working on and says it in such a way that you can tell it moved his father. His father just turns and looks at him for a moment. That look that the father gives is so full of pride and joy that you can’t help but feel your heart beat an extra time while looking at it.
I started by saying that if you’re a film buff you’re going to like this story. Well I’m a bit of a film buff. We’re not exactly a dying breed as a lot of people have become addicted to cinema, but Reel Love isn’t a statement of “I’m a bigger film buff”, but the story of how our character got there. It’s not a competition it’s a reminder of why we love movies. How can you not love movies? Second to comic books they’re the form of entertainment that I enjoy most in the world.
This is an incredible story and you should check it out for yourself.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Owen Michael Johnson Publisher: DoGooder Comics Website