Heartthrob, the critically-acclaimed series about bank heists and thieving hearts from writer Christopher Sebela (We(l)come Back), artist Robert Wilson IV (Bitch Planet), and colorist Nick Filardi (Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye)! Callie Boudreau hasn’t been herself lately. After a lifetime sidelined by illness, she’s rescued by a miracle cure in the form of heart transplant surgery, but the life she returns to doesn’t fit her anymore. In addition to her morally questionable job, crappy boyfriend, and crippling hospital bills, Callie finds herself developing new tastes, unfamiliar urges and a mouth like a sailor. As she balances what she has to do with what she wants to do, a mystery man shows up to teach her that instead of waiting for her new life, she should go out and steal it.
Transplant recipients often undergo drastic personality changes. Whether the changes come out of a sense of obligation to the donor, survivor’s guilt from having survived a life-threatening event, or from some small piece of the donor’s personality and memory stored in the neurons of the donated organ, we’ll never know. But it happens. Frequently. There are hundreds of documented cases. Seriously. Google it.
Christopher Sebela takes that last possibility and runs with it in Heartthrob. What if a recipient took on some of the memories, skills, and personality traits of their donor? And what if one donor was an exceptionally bad influence on his recipient? What if the donor convinced their recipient to go on a nationwide crime spree? And what if the donor and recipient fell in love and stuff?
It sounds complicated, I know. Sebela has a way of introducing deeply flawed, but highly functional, complex characters in complicated situations that just seems to make sense. He showcases that ability here.
The artwork by Robert Wilson is a nice perk to this series. Emotions in this story are all over the place. Callie goes from sad and lonely to completely out of her mind with rage in seconds. In addition to Wilson’s nuanced flair for facial expressions and body language, he pulls out some slick layout tricks.
Have I mentioned Nick Filardi’s colors yet? Because they’re brilliant. I don’t remember much from the seventies, but I’m pretty sure everything was filtered through that kind of yellowy Datsun tan. Except when it had that sort of reddish neon glow. Filardi’s colors lend period authenticity to the art, which sells the script beautifully.
Heartthrob is a fun and unique crime/sci-fi/romance concept. It’s full of butterfly collars, rotary phones, kitschy lamps, and ugly cars. The protagonist is easily relatable, and, while potentially affected by dissociative identity disorder and homicidal, she’s likeable.
Oni’s Square One program makes it easy for new readers to jump right into Heartthrob. Grab this first issue for a buck, and then, when you love it, you can pick up Volume 1 for $10 which will bring you all the way up to Season Two. You can get all the way current for about $25.
Heartthrob #1 will hit the stands again for the low, low price of $1 on the 4th of October 2017. Published by Oni Press, written by Christopher Sebela, illustrated by Robert Wilson IV, colors by Nick Filardi.