Written by: Alejandro Rodriguez, Special to CC2K
What grand gesture does the universe have in store for you when you find the one that is your true love? Certainly you will be telling your grandchildren the story of how you first met your one and only. What better way to start off by saying, “It was like magic kids, we had an 84% match. It was beautiful.”
So This is What It’s Come to… A Comic Zine About the Trials and Tribulations of OkCupid collects stories from four indie comic artists on what it’s like trying to find true love on the Internet. While a large number indie comic books already base a large portion of their stories on romance and heartache, So This is What It’s Come to… takes a jab at the usual seriousness that you see with a lot of indie comics.
The stories in So This is What It’s Come To… deal more with the lunacy that comes with meeting random people over the Internet and the anxiety that comes with meeting with those people face to face. The zine is somewhat of a roll of the dice for those who get it, since no single story looks the same. If you’re looking for a consistent look and feel to each story then you may be a bit disappointed. For others, this comic zine is like a variety pack, you may end up preferring some stories more than others.
Liz Prince starts the zine off with her story: “Love is a Data Field,” while the beginning of the story is entertaining, it suddenly ends out of nowhere and leaves you wanting more. In it Prince explains what she’s looking for in a man and the high cost of fame that one can get at the hands of OkCupid. Mostly it’s her complaining about the types of creeps that cross her path while on the site.
Prince ends it with a recap of the only OkCupid date she has ever been on and it is short, it spans two pages but in reality it could have been done on just one. Perhaps there was a problem with the layout of the zine, but the ending really underperforms and makes you wish that Prince spent more time detailing what happened on the date.
The next story is from Leslie Perrine, simply titled “Bad Date.” This zine is the first time I’ve heard of this artist. Her art isn’t going to impress anyone, but that isn’t too uncommon in the world of indie comic. Simple is the word I would use for her art, but that’s not a criticism. Perrine tells a story of awkwardly trying to juggle a date with someone she met on OkCupid while meeting up with her friend, Ramsey Beyer, at the same coffee shop. It isn’t until later that she gets a moment of realization that her date may have thought that she used Beyer to ditch her date.
While the story of the date isn’t that impressive, it’s what happens after the date that is the most interesting. You get a peek at the anxiety that Perrine begins to feel after the blind date. It’s too bad Perrine couldn’t explore that avenue in more detail as I think that would have made her story a little more interesting and definitely stand out.
Perrine also has an extra story in which she finds someone on OkCupid who is willing to give her the Amelie-esque romantic gestures. It’s only seven panels longs, but it’s pretty cute for what it is.
Jim Kettner’s comic stands out the most as it has the least amount of art in the zine. Instead Kettner’s story develops mostly through text on the events that transpired when he met up with an attractive rocker girl on OkCupid. While my main complaint for this comic zine has been the lack of solid stories, Kettner’s style allows him to get as much detail into the story as possible, the only setback is that people who are looking forward to seeing a lot of art will be disappointed. While there isn’t a lot of it, Kettner’s art is nice and definitely the most realistic looking compared to the rest of the art in the zine. (Perhaps that’s the reason why there is so little of it in the zine.)
I really enjoyed Kettner’s story the most out of everyone in So This is What It’s Come To… his comic is told in a matter that is outside the box and it grants him the ability to tell a great story without having to be rushed. I do wish he had more art in the zine though. It looks rather nice.
Finally, Ramsey Beyer gives us an interesting look at the anxiety she feels when looking for a special someone on OkCupid. Beyer begins to stress about the fact that since unread messages begin to pile up in her message box she is given the scarlet dot of shame. (AKA Responds selectively)
Like Perrine, I really wish that Beyer just stayed the course with that idea, instead she has three more stories that kind of go nowhere. While I do think the story “OkCupid Walk of Shame” is really good (it seems like the best companion piece to her first story, Responds Selectively), “The Potluck” and “The Gameplan” kind of just both end with no resolution. While something like that can be acceptable for an online comic, it kind of makes owning a physical copy of the story futile. I wanted more and was disappointed when it ended so suddenly.
It’s good to see the romance genre get lampooned every now and then; it can be tiring reading the same melancholy story over and over again. They’re nice, but you can easily reach your limit. Sometimes it just feels good to laugh at romance and the problems that come with it, and that’s what So This is What It’s Come To… does.
So This is What It’s Come To… is a good comic zine even with its faults, I was a bit let down by Liz Prince’s section of the comic. It isn’t bad, but the main story ends quickly and you get two extra stories that go nowhere. I did enjoy Jim Kettner’s story, it’s the stand out story in the zine and it definitely impressed me enough to want to read more from Kettner.