Some comics make our best list for their technical achievements. Others, for their sheer entertainment value. Our Love is Real is unique in that it’s making our list more for the originality it showed, both in its conception, format and marketing.
Originally self-published in a limited edition of only a few hundred copies, Our Love is Real’s immediate sell is its strange concept – a future where sexual taboos have largely disappeared, replaced instead by inter-preference rivalry and tribalism based around animal, vegetable and minerals. The story sees a male police officer (and zoosexual) fall in love with a mineralsexual protestor, and follows his attempts to resolve those feelings.
The idea is presented as an entertaining sci-fi firecracker, set in a world with far more potential than the book could possibly explore. I do wonder what other stories the world might accommodate – clearly there’s more thought in it than we ever really see – but that’s not what makes the book special.
Even though it’s the work of Sam Humphries and Stephen Sanders, a pair of creators who are superb talents, the best quality of Our Love is Real is that despite an apparently unpitchable concept (“bestiality love story, you say? Maybe not.”) and a print run originally measured in hundreds, the championing of it’s creators and fans led to the book receiving multiple printings and being picked up by Image. The lesson here is a valuable one for all writers, artists and readers: good material can find its audience.
It’s encouraging, in an industry plagued by doubt and uncertainty, in a year where costs began to bite hard on the buyers and sellers of comics, that there was room for an esoteric hit to thrive. Not on the names of its creators, but on their work. It may not be the best story of 2011. It certainly didn’t sell gangbusters. But for a self-published comic with a zoophilic lead, it’s done better than anyone could have expected. Undoubtedly one of 2011′s most essential releases.