Bingo Love -Review
There are very few books that I can honestly say that I’ve been looking forward to. Bingo Love is one of those books. From the time I read about the Kickstarter to the preview comic I picked up at HeroesCon, I have been waiting to read this book, and was thrilled when it was announced that Image would be publishing it.. This can be a double-edged sword for a comic, because it has a lot of anticipation to live up to.
Story: Tee Franklin
Art: Jenn St-Onge, Joy San
Cover: Genevieve FT
Published: February 14, 2018
Second Printing: March 14, 2018
Digital : $7.99
When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER’s “THE OUTFIT,” Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & The Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.
This book is a really refreshing read in a sea of mediocrity. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good comics, which may be why this period we’re currently in is so different from the 1990s, which we find ourselves constantly comparing it with. However, because the average level of quality is so high, it all starts to blend together and the level of “average” is so much higher. That’s a good thing, generally speaking, but it makes it so much more special when a book like Bingo Love comes along.
I’ve read the first few pages of this back in the summer, and had a feeling of what to expect, but when I sat down, I was honestly surprised, and again, not surprised. The story went where I thought it would, but the path that it took to get there was so honest and different from the romantic movie it seems to mirror at times, which I won’t name because it will spoil Bingo Love to do so. It’s refreshing to see the comic take a believable journey from point A to B, but showing that there’s a detour for points C through H. While the ending does tend to mirror the aforementioned movie, it goes a step farther and gives us the ending that the characters so rightly deserve. That’s the largest part of what makes this book so special, it shows that Tee Franklin likes these characters enough to give them the ending that they deserve without compromising the story itself.
Now, the art sets itself apart in that it rises to meet the quality of the story. The characters and settings are not just consistent, even through decades of aging, but absolutely believable. Jenn St-Onge has a talent for giving characters expressions that add so much to the story. I simply cannot get enough of the lightness that she brings to every character. The closeness she brings to these characters make it so much harder when their hearts break. This book seemed like such a brief read, but after I was done, it just seemed like so much love has been put into it that I had to take a few minutes to bask in that. It did what few comics can do nowadays, and that was leave me feeling better after reading it. Her artwork is complemented so nicely by the colors laid down by Joy San, who can add an emotional quality to the pages that deserve it.
Final Rating: 9.7 (out of 10)
Like I said, it has some very obvious parallels to a certain movie. As such, I saw some of the most important story elements coming, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of this book.