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Comic Review: Love Hurts

Written by: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K


One of the television mediums that I truly miss from the late 90s and early 2000s are the anthology series that would include three to four short stories in one hour. Shows like Tales from the Crypt or Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, their episodes gave you a quick glimpse into someone’s world or story that added an eerie shock or surprising twist. I loved the horror or sci-fi elements of these shows and, unfortunately, it’s not a genre that we see too often today. Fortunately for me, Love Hurts by Kim W. Andersson has managed to temporarily fill that void with his delightfully shocking series of short comics all centered on the titular theme of love, and the horrifying things we do because or in spite of it.

 

Writer & Illustrator: Kim W. Andersson

Love Hurts is both written and illustrated by Swedish comics creator Kim W. Andersson, and compiles several volumes of Andersson’s work into one trade paperback that will be available for purchase on October 28.

 

Andersson’s stories are quick, punchy and beautifully illustrated. Each one builds upon the last and they individually create an eerie feeling and morbid curiosity in the reader. Most stories don’t last more than three or four pages, but each one contains enough substantial plot that they can stand on their own.

What makes this compendium great is seeing the breadth of Andersson’s creativity, blended with his penchant for conciseness. He doesn’t stick to a single genre; he doesn’t get stuck in a slump of the same rote twists and turns. Rather, he will have a story that takes place on a pirate ship with sea sirens, then follow it with an intergalactic space opera escaping an alien incursion.

The real draws of this comic are the ever-surprising plot twists and moments of horror. You’ll be hard pressed to read a story that doesn’t end in death or dismemberment, but the fascinating plot build and the heartbreaking twists give each one of these tales an added layer of emotional complexity, and make this compendium truly difficult to put down at times.

However, as with all volumes of short stories or quick tales, it’s easy to quickly identify some high points and low points. With the sheer number of tales that Andersson packs into this volume, not every one of them is great, and you will find yourself skipping to the ends of some while slowly savoring others.

Andersson’s artwork has an exuberant and youthful charm. He can capture the look of a couple in love and the hopeful longing for one another, while also allowing his characters to exemplify crazed depravity. After reading this volume, there’s no denying Andersson’s astounding artistic talent. In one comic he’ll have bright happy tones and colors that convey hope or optimism, but then he’ll turn the stories tone on a dime with a dark moody scene that will make your skin crawl.

Love Hurts brings back the short-story/anthology narrative in a VERY big way. This volume is shocking, terrifying and downright awesome. If you’re looking to read something this Halloween that’s scary and has strong shock value, then Love Hurts is definitely a comic you should pick up.

 4.0 out of 5.0

Author: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K

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