Spreading the Love (and Capes)

Love and Capes: Do You Want to Know a Secret? Vol. 1
Writer/Artist: Thomas F. Zahler

Superheroes aren’t having much fun these days. While there’s some great work being done in the capes-and-cowls genre, it’s often so relentlessly grim that fans seeking lighthearted reading might as well head straight to the kids’ section of the comics shop (and I often do).

You should be reading this.

Thank goodness for Thomas F. Zahler’s Love and Capes, a funny, smartly written — and, yes, lighthearted — series about the intersection of heroics and romance. Bookstore owner Abby learns that her mild-mannered accountant boyfriend, Mark, is also a superhero known to Deco City as The Crusader. After he reveals his true identity, Abby experiences the perks (15-minute flights to Maui) and perils (picnics interrupted by crises) of dating a member of the cape community.

It’s appropriate that Love and Capes is billed as a “heroically super situation comedy,” because the quick banter and likable cast give it the feel of an especially good TV show. Zahler makes good use of the familiar: The Crusader is clearly a Superman analog, and his best friend, Paul, aka Darkblade, stands in for a certain serious billionaire who fights crime at night. Most of the derring-do takes place off of the page, so even when we see these two at work, they’re rarely talking shop. In one of the book’s many funny panels, Darkblade — while dangling a bad guy over a rooftop — tells Mark that his ill-timed request for relationship advice is “seriously killing my creature-of-the night vibe.”

Amazonia: Trouble in high heels.

Like all newly smitten, cute couples, Mark and Abby are just this side of annoying. (In this first volume, Mark’s only noticeable flaw is that he’s a tad jealous of Arachnerd, a web-slinger who is at the center of a blockbuster film franchise.) Zahler spices things up considerably by introducing Amazonia, an Angelina Jolie/Wonder Woman hybrid who happens to be The Crusader’s ex-girlfriend. How intimidating is she? Abby’s sister, Charlotte puts it this way: “Amazonia? Whoa. I’d do her.”

Speaking of Charlotte, her tart asides and single-gal perspective bring a lot of wit to Love & Capes. She’s an utterly charming second banana — a Rhoda Morgenstern to Abby’s Mary Tyler Moore (Cue readers born after 1980 saying, “Who?” in unison).

This book has such genuine, across-the-board appeal, and I was bummed to hear two LCS owners — both fans of the series — say they couldn’t interest enough readers to justify stocking the single issues. People, where is the love? The next time I hear a fellow comic lover complaining about the Big Two offerings on his or her pull list, I’m going to ask (in a slightly judgmental tone) why that person isn’t reading Love and Capes, among other things.

Do yourself a favor and check out the first two trade volumes, or head over to the Love and Capes website for a taste of the series. It’s mighty good.

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6 thoughts on “Spreading the Love (and Capes)

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Spreading the Love (and Capes) « Girls Gone Geek -- Topsy.com

  2. It’s sad that this book isn’t more readily available. “Love and Capes” has had “Free Comic Book Day” editions, so hopefully that’s given them some exposure.

    Thom has also done some work on the fantastic Toon Tumblers glasses – http://www.toontumblers.com/ .

    Finally, on top of being a great writer/artist Thom is also an incredibly nice guy! He’s a big Firestorm fan and had many letters printed in the Firestorm letter column. I commissioned him to do a Firehawk sketch for my FIRESTORM FAN blog.
    http://firestormfan.com/2009/03/13/original-firehawk-sketch-by-thom-zahler/

    The Irredeemable Shag

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  3. I’m in full agreement with your review. I picked up the a FCBD copy and thought it was smart and funny and I was smitten with Mark and Abby. (That I am a fan of Lois and Clark certainly helped). I just picked up the first trade and it was an equally fun read.

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  4. Pingback: Pull List Assessment Time « Girls Gone Geek

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