Love the Way You Love: Side B: Songs of Devotion (Oni Press)

ltwyl-header.jpg A manga-inspired indie rock romance from Jamie S. Rich and Marc Ellerby.

 

 

 

200 pgs., B&W; 11.95

(W : Jamie S. Rich; A: Marc Ellerby)

Love the Way You Love: Side B collects issues 4-6 (chapters 9-17) of the series by Jamie S. Rich and Marc Ellerby. It’s set in the indie-verse populated by Tristan, Isobel and company and captures the emo lives of young people teetering on the precipice of adulthood and trying to figure out how to maintain their identities and youthful idealism while also becoming contributing members of the grown-up world.  

The cover to Love the Way You Love, Side B by Marc Ellerby. Click for a larger image.Tristan and his friends are like the characters in the typical high school manga romance, only a few years later and transplanted to the West. They even have big eyes and remarkable hair and dress in uniforms (not school uniforms but the badge of their indie tribe) and spend much of their time and energy ruminating on affairs of the heart. That’s when they’re not obsessing on music: they’re part of a subculture which defines itself by the music it listens to (footnotes identify what songs the characters are listening to in various scenes) and strenuously defends the borders from the hopelessly uncool. Unlike their Japanese counterparts, they also feel the need to defy the man, which is sometimes in conflict with their desire for worldly success. Like most young adults they’re full of themselves and make lots of mistakes but they’re also so sweet and sincere that you can’t help hoping it will all work out for them in the end.

Here’s some of what happens in Side B: Tristan and his band Like A Dog find their efforts to get distribution are being blocked by Marcus, who is still carrying a torch for Isobel. Eleanor and Branden discover that oranges are not the only fruit. Tristan’s old friend Maria turns up and not with good intentions. Lance tries to take advantage of the situation. It’s all very angsty in a teenage/twenty-something sort of way: from the outside it seems like there’s nothing very major going on, while from the characters’ points of view the world positively rotates on its axis according to their states of mind and heart.

Marc Ellerby’s illustrations accomplish something which is really quite difficult: they catch the spirit of the characters and their milieu and make both seem entirely real while at the same time leaving them non-specific enough that the story could take place in any number of locations (Ellerby works from London, while author Jamie S. Rich is located in Portland, Oregon).  Maybe there’s a statement about international youth culture in there, or maybe it’s just a style he has perfected. Anyway, it’s the perfect match for Rich’s text.

Love the Way You Love is rated T for ages 13+. Extras include a gallery of covers for the original comic issues, character identity pages (like the "20 questions" pages in teen magazine, where celebrities tell you their hopes, dreams and astrological sign) and a few interpolated bonus comics including a drinking game. You can see a preview at http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=10466 and check out the authors’ other projects at http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=10466 (Marc Ellerby) and http://www.confessions123.com/jamie/mainpage.html (Jamie S. Rich). | Sarah Boslaugh

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