12 Reasons Why I Love Her (Oni Press)

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12rheadJamie S. Rich and newcomer Joelle Jones craft a romantic mix-tape in graphic novel form.

 

 

144 pgs B&W, $14.95

(W: Jamie S. Rich, A: Joelle Jones)

 

 

For readers to whom one of the crucial stages of courtship is the exchange of carefully crafted mix-tapes, Jamie S. Rich's 12 Reasons Why I Love Her tells the story of star-crossed lovers Evan and Gwen the way a mix-tape would. Short scenes depict 12 of Evan's most treasured memories of Gwen, and each memory is accompanied by a song.

 

The 12 segments, which are told out of chronological order, take the reader on a tour of the couple's relationship. We see their near-disastrous second date, first anniversary, and even a childhood memory. The story is deeply emotionally affecting, and seems like a candid look into the lives of two real people. The songs, which accompany each piece by title and artist, create a fitting soundtrack, giving the book a cinematic feel.

 

Joelle Jones's art complements Rich's emotionally-driven story very well. Her style changes with the mood of the book, cartoonish in one scene, sketch-like lines in another, and occasionally dark and moody. She is especially talented in drawing faces; the characters seem alive, thinking and loving and hurting. The appeal of Jones's art is crucial to the book's effectiveness. Her depictions of Gwen and Evan make the audience care about them and their relationship right away.

 

When a story is told out of chronological order, there is always a concern of confusing the audience. In 12 Reasons, it seems clear when each of the stories parts take place with the exception of the very first scene--which seems intentionally ambiguous. The reader is left with some degree of uncertainty about the outcome of the story, furthering the melancholy feeling left when one has finished the book.

 

Jamie S. Rich is becoming known for his great work in romantic fiction, and this book is certainly no exception. 12 Reasons Why I Love Her is a visually pleasing and emotionally moving book for which any lover of contemporary romance will fall head over heels. Hopefully there will be more work from this creative team soon.

 

Click on the thumbnails below for a 5-page preview of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her.

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