REVIEW: 'Love Everlasting' #1 by Tom King, Elsa Charretier, and Matt Hollingsworth


Love Everlasting #1

Writer: Tom King
Artist: Elsa Charretier, Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: Clayton Cowles

 (Big Head Little Arms and TKCK)


★★★★★ (5/5)

Yesterday was another landmark day for comic book creators who are expanding their creator-owned distribution prowess by establishing their own Substack newsletters. The tiered-pay channels have been growing in popularity with successful creators like Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Skottie Young, Donny Cates, Saladin Ahmed, and many others. Now joining this trend are Grant Morrison, Jen Bartel,  Khary Randolph, Joanne Starer, Brian K. Vaughan, and Niko Henrichon. It's been a creative outlet for these creators as a direct channel to consumers for updates on upcoming projects, work-in-progress, tutorials, and most enticing exclusive comics available only to subscribers. One such exclusive comic was made available for free, Love Everlasting, by Tom King and Elsa Charretier on their new Substack - Everlasting Productions.

The unexpected thing about this release was that it wasn't about superheroes, aliens, or horror. 'Love Everlasting' is a delightful throwback to the popular romance comics that were ubiquitous from the 1950s through the 1970s. They featured the work of future comic legends like Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Frank Frazetta, John Romita, Wally Wood, and Ric Estrada. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that one of the medium's most prolific writers in King and one of the most talented artists in Charretier would collaborate on such a cool niche title. Along with colorist Matt Hollingsworth and letterer Clayton Cowles, this amazingly bright and colorful romp is not just endearing but absorbing because it's not everything it appears to be. 

Joan Peterson left the midwest behind for life in the big city of New York. She becomes embroiled in a love triangle in the first chapter of issue one that is as melodramatic and complicated as you'd expect in a romance comic. Joan's exposition is constant so we know her every motivation and concern throughout. It plays out as faithfully as those 'Young Romance' comics of the 70s before going into the next chapter. This is where things get a little weird. Another romance, another tricky situation yet not far removed from the first. Soon, we realize there's more going on with Joan's life than we can determine. King is setting us up for some mind-blowing mystery. 

King is undoubtedly one of the best writers in comics right now but his versatility to pull off a romantic storyline with such ease and confidence is impressive. The language and pacing with all its angst and drama like a soap opera give King a completely different voice. It's not just an homage to those great comics of the past but a modern retelling that snaps and hits all the right notes. Charretier gives the story the look and feels of those comics with beautifully conceived designs that take the reader back to the 50s and 60s. This is a perfect collaboration that surprises with flawless execution, joyous authenticity, and captivating storytelling. 

'Love Everlasting' #1 is a masterclass in taking an old beloved genre and not just paying homage through imitation but lovingly bringing it to life with a few new twists. Just when you think this delightful romantic adventure is predictable, it takes an unexpected turn that only draws you in further. 'Love Everlasting' might be free but its value as a wonderful new comic series is immeasurable.