Friday, July 01, 2005

Romance cartoons

Somebody explain to me why anyone would pay $14.95 a month for the privilege of reading graphic romance novels at ("Your sizzling romance destination").

Honestly. Look at this teaser for one of the stories:

Anna Carbana has loved tennis star and jet-setter Brad Duggan for years. But he only thinks of her as a friend—a kid sister. Now she knows just how to get his attention.

This will show Brad I’m not such a kid! She thinks as she kisses her friend, Enrique, on the lips.

“What are you playing at?” Brad growls, his face dark with rage. “You shouldn’t be throwing yourself at a guy like that!”

“Who I kiss is none of your business,” Anna retorts. “I’m a woman, not a child!”

I dunno, babe. You sound pretty childish to me. And so do these stories. They look like they were written by someone who despises romance novels.

From a June 22 press release:

" combines the sweeping love scenes, exotic destinations and adventure of traditional romance novels with exceptional sequential art and engaging music to indulge the senses," says Patricia White, president and CEO of Arrow Publications, LLC, the publisher of "Also, while current graphic novels and manga focus on men, teens and 'tweens, reaches out to adult women by focusing on their desire for passion-filled storybook romances with happy endings."

These aren't romance stories, they're caricatures of romance stories. They're not quick, pleasant reads, they're jokes. And yeah, okay, maybe they're funny once, but why would anyone pay $14.99 a month to read the same joke over and over again?

It's not the graphic format I object to. Nor does the simplicity of the stories rub me the wrong way. I understand that short, quick, illustrated reads don't have much room for complex plots and character development. And we all have different tastes, after all; I can see some women enjoying this kind of thing. In the two samples I read, I thought the art was quite eye-catching and the music an interesting addition. But the writing is breathtakingly bad. It looks like someone scooped up every awful romance novel cliche they could find and entered them into a computer which then generated these horrid little stories.

They're insulting to those of us who read real romance.


tristan coulter said...

you just discovered where all my tuition money goes...

Brenda Coulter said...

And here I thought you spent it all at the hair salon.

Anonymous said...

I visited that site recently after getting an email about it. The artwork is laughable. The romance comic books I read as an eleven year old had better artwork. And now that I've read your excerpt, all I can say is....EGADS. That's awful. That not even as funny as a real parody. If they wanted to have a Parody Romance website, and make it as hilarious as some of the purple prose parodies I've seen around the web, that might work. But as serious romance---I can't see anyone above the age of 14 subscribing to this. And if an adult woman does sign up for this, all I can say is...well...that's kinda scary and says a lot about the state of reading taste in the US of A.

Sela Carsen said...

I was stunned that they took out a full page ad on the inside of the back cover of the latest RWR. I checked out the website and actually grimaced. Yes, I grimaced. It wasn't pretty, but neither was the website.