Lovefool 05.02.11 | The Amazingly Dreamy Andi Watson

This week, Lovefool turns the spotlight on one of her favorite creators, the mind behind Breakfast After Noon, Slow News Day, and Paris.

 

 

For some reason, and that reason is probably a mention on Jamie S. Rich’s Twitter feed, I’ve been thinking a lot about Andi Watson lately. Andi Watson, as British as not-Princess Kate. Andi Watson, he of the instantly recognizable art style and sometimes achingly normal tales. When I was but a budding nerdling, Andi Watson was part of a magical pantheon of pros whose name on a project guaranteed that it was getting my money. And while this sounds like another trip with Lovefool’s Magical Nostalgia Tours, you’ll be happy to know that Andi Watson is totally relevant right now since Marvel Comics has recently announced that they’re reviving and old project of his and that he’ll be scripting a 3-issue monster-sized comic about…wait for it…tennis. Tennis!
 
But here’s the thing: I can’t wait to read it. It’s about a girl attending a prestigious sporting academy whose game starts slipping a little (leaving her in danger of losing her scholarship) and her struggles to regain her form. I bet there’s something about a relationship in there, too, but that it blends seamlessly into the story. And, yeah, it’s being billed as a rom-com manga style book and it is called 15 Love, but don’t be fooled. The world of Andi Watson isn’t an easy one but tennis prodigy Mill (and you) will probably leave it a better person.
 
The first Andi Watson book I remember picking up was Breakfast After Noon. I know, I know, the excellent Skeleton Key was around forever and Samurai Jam was awesome and Geisha was completely amazing and philosophical, but those came later for me. I picked up Breakfast After Noon, I’m sure on someone’s recommendation, and I was completely engrossed. Rob and Louise are utterly normal people living utterly normal lives filled with utterly normal plans but, in Watson’s hands, their story is transfixing. Breakfast After Noon is, at its heart, a story of a relationship both doomed and redeemed by change. I’ve never been a superhero’s wife forced to give up love to save the world, but I have been unemployed, I have been disappointed in a partner and I have decided that maybe a wedding wasn’t the thing to do at that time. I have, like Rob, chosen to dig in my heels and pretend that it’s just a blip, that one day things will go back to normal. And I have, like Louise, decided that change is just that, something different but not necessarily the end of the world. I’ve moved forward and left someone standing still. I’ve also been in the very real, very terrifying position of screwing up a good thing and wondering if there’s anything, anything at all, that can be done to stop the train wreck in progress that I’m living from day to day. And then deciding that I really want to stay up until 4:00 a.m. to watch bad television because whatever. So, you see, I’ve also stood still.
 
From Breakfast After Noon, I found my way to Dumped, a love story for collectors starring two seemingly unlikable and unalike protagonists that, somehow, add to the feel of the story. Dumped left me feeling slightly desolate, which was fitting for a story about things left abandoned. After that, I picked up the completely delightful Slow News Day, a story about change, once again, but also about new things. Californian Katherine finds herself working for the tiny Wheatstone Mercury butting heads with Owen, the Mercury‘s sole reporter, over everything from England itself to the validity of small news outlets in the world of 24-hour news networks. Watson has noted the influence of ‘30s comedies on Slow News Day and it shows. It’s lighthearted without being shallow and sometimes painfully realistic (my inner office gal winced several times) but avoids getting bogged down. And then there was Paris. Oh, Paris. Written by Watson and drawn by the excellent Simon Gane, it’s a mid-century love story about art and who we’re expected to be and who we actually are. It’s amazingly dreamy and I was completely entranced by it, of course. I could probably write an entire column about Paris but, instead, I’m going to encourage you to go out and read it for yourself. And then email me. We’ll talk Paris for weeks.
 
And any column about Andi Watson’s romantic comics isn’t complete without a mention of Love Fights, perhaps one of the finest examples of what he’s about. Oh, how my lover’s heart loved Love Fights. Published by Oni Press, Love Fights was a monthly book that explored what it was like for two people falling in love in a world where there always seemed to be some superhero mess happening around them that would always manage to come between them. It was “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues” brought to life, it was what happened to the people that happened to be on that train that Spidey had to stop. It was, more importantly, funny and clever and fun to read. Watching Jack and Nora try to get together while balancing superhero-related careers was charming and real, despite the elements of the fantastic.
 
For me, Watson is still a name to conjure a smile and part me from my cash and I can’t wait to meet Mill. I’m tempted to deviate a little from Lovefool’s modus operandi just so we can talk about Glister, Princess at Midnight and Little Star but, while excellent, they’re respectively more fantastic and a little less romantic than the books we’ve talked about here. I’ll leave you with a challenge for this week though, sweet nerdlings. I double-dog-dare you to go pick up one of the books we’ve talked about, read it and not see yourself in it, even a little bit. Yes, even Paris. | Erin Jameson
 
Eager to sample Andi Watson’s work? Click here for a preview of 15 Love right here at PLAYBACK:stl, and here and here for previews of Love Fights and Breakfast After Noon, respectively.

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