Sometimes, all you really want to read is an adorable story about a timeless love winning over intolerance and other people’s opinions. On days like that, I heartily recommend Bingo Love, the triumphant graphic novel by Tee Franklin with art by Jenn St. Onge , Joy San and Genevieve FT.
Hazel and Mari met at a bingo night back when they were young. Although they fell in love, they were separated by family and society not ready to accept them for who they were. Decades passed and they each went on to marry, have children and support their families, but when they are reunited, their love rekindles. Whether society – and more importantly – their families, can accept them as they are, is the body of this story.
There are many things to like about Bingo Love. Available in print and as a digital comic, this story about two black American women, living lives with roots in church and family, finding true love despite everything, is something that the world of graphic novels was ready and waiting for. That Bingo Love is also a real-life success story of a team of women of Color, who built the book through crowdfunding, eventually licesing it to a large national publisher, is worth celebrating. (It’s worth noting too, that Spike Trotman’s Iron Circus Comics has raised over 1 million dollars in crowdfunding for graphic novels for and by people of color.) This is the money that mainstream comics companies are passing over in favor of retread Batman and Avengers narratives. It’s worth saying this and, if we care about comics, it’s worth listening to. These stories, these creators, deserve the limelight and deserve our support.
Even more importantly for us here at Okazu, Bingo Love gives us something we rarely get a chance to enjoy – the after “happily ever after.” It’s a rare look at adult women in love, dealing with real-world issues that queer women actually have to deal with. For that, this would be a must-read, but Bingo Love is so much more.
Art – 7 Utterly squee
Story – 9
Characters – 8 Even the ones that make you angry, you can’t really hate.
Service – Not really
LGBTQ – 10
Overall – 9
In this holiday season, there’s no better idea for us to highlight and support women of color creators telling the stories they want to tell. And in return you’ll get a sweet love story that spans American history and looks forward to a better future for all the Hazels and Maris out there.