Love The Way You Love Vol. 1

Written by Jamie S. Rich
Art by Marc Ellerby
64 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

One of the genres of comics that I’m always happy to see make an appearance is romance. Romance comics, while common in other countries, don’t seem quite so big in the English-language market. While I don’t have a problem reading translated comics to get my fill of this type of comics (thank you, Japan!), it’s always nice to see a homegrown take on the idea. And it’s with that in mind that I was quite happy to see Jamie S. Rich and Marc Ellerby’s Love The Way You Love.

Tristan Scott is the lead singer for the band Like A Dog, trying to avoid the woman who broke his heart, and more than a bit of a romantic. Isobel is the girl that Tristan saw at the airport and instantly felt a connection to. Lance is Tristan’s brother, the one who let Isobel into the after-show party for Like A Dog’s latest performance. And Marcus is the obnoxious record executive who sets Tristan’s teeth on edge… and is also Isobel’s fiancé.

The first installment of Love The Way You Love is primarily set-up, moving the main characters onto the stage and setting everything in motion. Rich lets us get a good feel for the cast, letting them all interact in small groups before everyone’s thrown together for the big party at the end of the first volume. It’s a sound strategy, letting us know things like how the band members get along, or the sort of person that Isobel is when talking to her friend Branden. This is very much a book that’s character-driven rather than event-driven, so it’s important that we understand the players on the field. Tristan’s band members talking to Marcus behind Tristan’s back makes perfect sense once you understand the relationship and past events between the different members of the band, for instance. Rich isn’t afraid to let Love The Way You Love unfold at its own particular pace. Part of me would like to see a lot more happen in future installments, but at the same time I can really appreciate and enjoy Rich taking the extra space in the 64-page size to flesh things out.

Ellerby’s got a stripped-down, simple style that I wasn’t sure was the right match for a couple of pages, but I was sold before I knew it. His figures are lively and animated, and he’s able to bring out the human, emotional side of Rich’s script. I also have a good deal of appreciation for Ellerby having actual fashions and different outfits throughout Love The Way You Love. It’s nice to read a comic where you get the impression that the artist knows what people are wearing and gives a nice visual variety to the characters. Love The Way You Love has a nice sense of humor about it, and Ellerby really brings that to life as well, from the little visual jokes in the corners of the panel to being able to have some of the funniest expressions I’ve seen in a while. By the time I was done with the comic, I knew this was a good pairing of writer and artist.

Love The Way You Love is off to a good start—the big question will be, of course, where it goes from here. I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to a good romantic story, so I have high hopes for future installments. Provided the story keeps rolling at a good clip, I’ll be happy to keep reading. So far, I’ve got a good feeling about this. This is a really nice debut.

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