Twisted Romance: Celebrate The Most Romantic Month With Bloody Revenge

by Richard Bruton

Ah, February, when thoughts turn to love, with Valentine’s Day the chance for all you helpless romantics out there to get your fill of sentimental love tales, hearts and flowers, and all round soppiness. But if you’re after your dose of February loving in a different flavor, here’s Twisted Romance #1, the first of four weekly romance comics from writer/organiser/project curator Alex De Campi and a host of talented artists and writers.

Each themed issue has a main tale written by de Campi, with four unique artists across the series. On the flip side, there’s a shorter backup strip, and sandwiched between them, you’ll find an illustrated prose tale. Over the four issues, we’re promised a little something of every shade of romantic entanglement and twisted love story possible. But right now, here in issue one, it’s all very nasty, very dark, the horror love tale writ large.

(“Old Flames” from Twisted Romance #1, art by Katie Skelly.)

The lead-off strip for Twisted Romance, “Old Flames”, features the technicolor delights of Katie Skelly’s gorgeously stylised artwork, with colors and styles all in your face.

It’s the 70s in New York, and Sherri Rubinstein is looking for a very special service at Heartbreak Incorporated. She’s out for revenge, pure and simple. But the handsome devil in charge at Heartbreak Inc. has a dark secret. Except, well, it’s not that hard a secret to work out.

Having said that, there’s a glory in the artwork here, with de Campi seemingly deliberately underplaying her story and script in service to Skelly’s gorgeously technicolored art. Whether it’s the drab office of the agency or the hippest of hip 70s disco clubs, the colors just pop, and the figures are fabulous. Hell, even the backgrounds, almost never the same color panel to panel, add so much to the tale.

(“Old Flames” from Twisted Romance #1, art by Katie Skelly.)

The backup tale, “Red Medusa on the Road to Hell”by Sarah Horrocks, is a tone poem art piece more than a comic.

Sex, death, love, desire, it certainly ticks the boxes on twisted romance. Or at least the twisted part. And how much you enjoy it will depend on just how you enjoy poetry set to pictures, but those images are gorgeous, just as I’ve come to expect from Horrocks.

(“Twisted Medusa on the Road to Hell”, by Sarah Horrocks, from Twisted Romance #1.)

As for the prose tale, “Leather & Lace”, by Magen Cubed, it’s another tale of blood and death. Of Vampires, Wendigos, magical creatures attempting to kill you, with a tender love story unfolding between a human monster hunter and his vampire lover.

And damned if Cash wasn’t hot, even when he was bleeding.
Okay. Especially when he was bleeding.

Cash is the human hunting Wendigos in the woods, Dorian his vampire love. And as is fitting for this issue of Twisted Romance, the love story unfolds amidst the blood and teeth of a Wendigo hunt in the woods.

All in all, Twisted Romance delivers what it sets out to deliver, love tales of all flavors, with a dark thread running deep through this first issue. The highlight here has to be the two wildly different art styles of Skelly and Horrocks, but all credit to de Campi for delivering the series, and letting Skelly’s art shine in a minimalist tale to lead of the series.

So, join in for the next four weeks, where you’re going to experience heartbreak, sexy thoughts, bloody experiences, and everything in between..

Future tales for the next three weeks feature some fabulous artists and writers, including Alejandra Gutierrez, Vita Ayala, Meredith McClaren, Carla Speed McNeil, Jess Bradley, Margaret Trauth, Trungles, Naomi Salman, and Sarah Winfred Searle. A fabulous line-up for the next three issues. Can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Twisted Romance #1 (of 4), published by Image Comics.
Old Flames: Written by Alex De Campi, art by Katie Skelly
Leather & Lace: Written by Magen Cubed
Red Medusa: By Sarah Horrocks