Something for Everyone in “Fresh Romance #1” Review

Fresh Romance 1 Cover

Cover by Kevin Wada

Fresh Romance #1
Rosy Press

Last month we brought you an interview with Janelle Asselin, founder and editor-in-chief of Rosy Press. After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, Rosy Press launched their flagship romance title this Tuesday with a digital-only release of Fresh Romance. As a year-subscription donor, I was delighted to download my copy and I can assure you that it was worth the wait and the donation!

Fresh Romance is an anthology series that aims to bring us three new stories roughly every quarter; each story runs multiple issues, meaning each issue nets you three comics in one. This month, Fresh Romance launches with a queer teen love story with some surprising twists from fan-favorite Kate Leth, an emotional Regency-era arranged marriage from Sarah Vaughn, and a supernatural matchmaking tale from Sarah Kuhn.

Ruby Equation Art

Art by Sally Jane Thompson from The Ruby Equation (Also, me after getting my Fresh Romance download)

The strength of Fresh Romance is in its diversity of stories; each tale looks and feels different, giving you three distinct reading experiences and guaranteeing that almost everyone will find at least one story they love (and two stories they can share with their friends). I’ve never read anything quite like it in comic form, and it was fully worth the $50 one-year subscription cost.

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Leth, Vaughn, and Kuhn do an amazing job building three distinct worlds filled to the brim with compelling characters right from the start, all beautifully brought to life by the unique styles brought to each story by their artists.

Justine and Malie of ‘School Spirit’ subvert the ‘fighting over a partner’ trope in a particularly fun way, and for those who like a more serious edge to their stories, Catherine of ‘Ruined’ hits all the right Austenesque notes. ‘The Ruby Equation’ rounds out this month with the tale of a cynical barista (Ruby, coincidentally) saddled with Cupid duties — imagine all the spectacular ways that could go wrong, and you’ll know why I’m looking forward to the second installment.

There is something for everyone here, and more delightfully, an excellent chance you will see yourself represented somewhere in the pages of any of these stories; Asselin and many of her contributors are vocal advocates for diversity in comics and Fresh Romance walks the walk.

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Between the engaging stories and the fun extras, including process art and a very helpful advice column called The Divorcé(e) Club, Fresh Romance is a fun read for folks who like a heaping helping of romance mixed in with their genre fiction. The first issue is available for $4.99 at Rosy Press and Comixology in a variety of download formats, and $49.99 year-long subscriptions are still available through Rosy Press.

Cover: Kevin Wada

School Spirit
Writer: Kate Leth
Artist: Arielle Jovellanos
Colors: Amanda Scurti

Ruined
Writer: Sarah Vaughn
Artist: Sarah Winifred Searle

The Ruby Equation
Writer: Sarah Kuhn
Artist: Sally Jane Thompson
Colors: Savanna Ganucheau

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