Roughly 1,744 years ago, St. Valentine of Terni passed away, leaving a legacy of chocolate, teddy bears and reservation mania for centuries to come. Legends posit that Valentine married Christian couples illegally under the reign of Claudius II, leading to his martyrdom in the name of love. Historically, the comics medium hasn’t advocated for all things amorous with the same conviction as Valentine, but some of the best sequential art still revolves around love, loss and mixtapes. Craig Thompson’s Blankets (and Habibi), Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga are a few of the books keeping the passion flowing through the panels, even if they’re not all exclusively romance comics.
This month’s best comics covers still keep the flame burning, too (and no, we’re not talking about Baltimore: The Red Kingdom.) Tula Lotay is no stranger to sensual art, and her upcoming work on All-Star Batman alongside writer Scott Snyder brings that melodic, fashion-forward aesthetic to the mainstream. Issue #7 introduces a new arc for femme fatale Poison Ivy, and the cover accentuates her redwood-size presence as she dwarfs a very uncertain, and probably smitten, Batman. Robbi Rodriguez hurls Spider-Man Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen together and how can that not result in intense passion and/or heart-rending tragedy? Kudos for the cool bokeh effect and magenta/black contrast, courtesy Rico Renzi.
In other corners, Greg Smallwood plays with displacement on the cover to Moon Knight #11 and Jae Lee tackles high-puppet-fantasy in the long-awaited Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal comic sequel.