Soppy by Philippa Rice is a small collection of illustrations rather than a graphic novel – but boy, I have never known a comic to so accurate be summed up in its title! (This isn’t a bad thing.)
The (biographic) story is really basic – our two characters meet, date, and move in together – and we see cute set pieces from along that path. We see a few of their hobbies/interests, but we’re told very little about their actual characters – and we don’t know why there was a need to buy milkshakes near the end – which makes the scenes both specific and generic enough that every happy couple will see themselves in the figures. (I pointed out the Carcassonne page and the most appropriate set of sleeping positions to John and we were soppy ourselves.)
The artwork is cute – there is no better word for it. Rice makes good use of her three colour (black, white and red) palette and I wasn’t surprised to see that she has an interest in fibre arts because there is such lovely, simple attention to detail on the textiles throughout, which contrasts with the clean, stylised flatness elsewhere. I also liked that she chose to make her avatar a little podgy – zaftig – rather than svelte.
It doesn’t really try to be more than it is – a modern, less-naked ‘Love Is…’ comic. I imagine it’ll be bought a lot this week (given it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday) and I think it’ll be largely well received. It is soppy but you know, that’s alright once in a while: read it when you’re in the right mood and you’ll find it lovely; read it on a cynical day and you might want to vomit.
It reminded me of “Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?“, Liz Prince’s comic collection about her then-current relationship: they come from a very different aesthetic position but the charming content is similar. Both will remain on my bookshelf for when I want a drop of sweetness in my life.