Featuring tales of love gone right, love gone wrong and love gone downright bizarre, Image Comics’ four-issue anthology Twisted Romance reads like a creative jam session between writer Alex de Campi and a dozen of her closest friends—or at least her Twitter mutuals, as de Campi said elsewhere that the book’s cast assembled more or less through direct messages over one weekend.
In this week’s debut issue, Katie Skelly (My Pretty Vampire), Sarah Horrocks (Goro) and Magen Cubed (Leather and Lace) join de Campi for a mix of prose and comics featuring trendy succubi and Cupid knows what else. Future issues, releasing weekly throughout the month of February, will feature rising talents like Trungles (Fauns & Fairies), Meredith McClaren (Hinges) and Vita Ayala (The Wilds), all of them celebrating the fun and foibles of love—perfect for Valentine’s Day and its fallout.
To commemorate the weekly series, Paste invited the team of Twisted Romance to send us their favorite—in de Campi’s words—“falling-in-love song…breakup song…get-busy song.” Since Twisted Romance has a full dating-show’s worth of collaborators, we’re splitting the playlist in two, with the de Campi and the creators from the first two issues up first. Be sure to check back in two weeks, after Valentine’s Day, for the rest of the team’s romantic tunes (or breakup songs, depending on how your holiday goes).
Alex de Campi, Writer/Letterer/Curator
My falling in love song. The lyrics end me every time. “You are the only thing in any room you’re ever in / I’m stubborn, selfish and too old.” Ugh, call me out, Guy Garvey, why don’t you. And the crescendo right after the completely simple, understated delivery of “darling is this love”. UGH. SO MANY FEELINGS.
“Sacrifice/Let There Be Peace,” Bob Mould
My bad breakup song. Five and a half minutes of howling, fuzz-tone guitar and Bob screaming hoarse about how he is doing JUST FINE ALONE, thank you very much and drop dead. Yeah, we’ve all been there. tbh every song on Black Sheets of Rain is a doozy of a breakup song but “Sacrifice” is the loudest and therefore bestest.
“Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most,” Rickie Lee Jones
My I’m Not Over You song. “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most” as sung by Rickie Lee Jones. (It’s best known as an Ella song.) “Love seemed sure, around the New Year / Now it’s April, love is just a ghost. Spring arrived on time, only what became of you, dear…” I mean, Rickie Lee Jones is driving & crying music at the best of times but this and the two-song run of “Company” and “After Hours” off her first album? Bye. Bring tissues.
“Bob’s Yer Uncle,” Happy Mondays
I’d LIKE my getting-it-on/grinding song to be Beyoncé’s “Partition,” but it’s actually the Happy Mondays’ “Bob’s Yer Uncle” and this is probably why I’m still single
Katie Skelly, Issue #1 Main Story Artist
“Look,” Sébastien Tellier
My infatuation song.
My let’s-get-married-in-matching-spacesuits song.
“Freak,” Lana Del Rey
My blueprint for starting a hippie love/death cult.
Magen Cubed, Issue #1 Prose Author
“Easy to Get,” Hot Chip
My taste in music is ridiculous and I apologize for nothing. An infectious dance track about locking eyes with someone on a dance floor and falling into something that could be love by morning. Sensual, a little vulnerable and tinged with the danger of falling for a total stranger.
“I Wanna Be Yours,”Arctic Monkeys
A slow, sexy, emotionally naked song about the completion of giving yourself totally to another person. Love as religious devotion and pleasure through submission.
Sarah Horrocks, Issue #1 Backup Comic Writer/Artist:
“Skinny Love,” Bon Iver
The perfect song for when you are in love but also realize it won’t last that much longer. Which I think makes it really romantic.
Alejandra Gutiérrez, Issue #2 Main Story Artist
“Leave A Scar,” Marilyn Manson
The Having Sex With Your Ex song. He has a lot of good fucking songs, but this one specifically for when you’re doing it and you both know you’re not good for each other but you do it anyways because who knows why, and then the acoustic version for the morning after. Best line: “I’m just a painting that’s still wet, if you touch me I’ll be smeared, you’ll be stained”
“Novias,” El Guincho ft. Javiera Mena
The I Just Met You But Let’s Run Away Together song. Like a cool upbeat crush jam, for when you meet your beach fling and you’re both girls, no boys allowed sorry. Best Line: “Solo algo nuestro algo que nadie conozca y que entre los dos permanecer ocultos” (“Just something between us that no one knows and between us can stay hidden.”)
Vita Ayala, Issue #2 Prose Author
“Let’s Stay Together,” Al Green
If you aren’t officially dating yet, or are all up in your feelings but not sure if they are, bust the glass on this little tune and watch the magic happen. Warning: do not use if you aren’t planning on going steady, this is some powerful mojo.
“Natalie,” Bruno Mars
Whether or not you get taken for all your cash in the end, when a girl breaks your heart it sure as hell feels like being fleeced. Lord help the sista…
“The Boys Wanna Be Her,” Peaches
Doing it fast & possibly dirty. Hot and heavy, fast and sweaty and probably on the rainbow spectrum. You’re welcome.
“Work Song,” Hozier
Slow and steady, and possibly while saying goodbye. The musical equivalent of a Hurt/Comfort fic of your favorite rare pair in your favorite fandom.
“You’re All I Need,” Method Man & Mary J. Blige
Bonus: the ULTIMATE love song. This is the realest love song known to man. Period. Word is bond, and there is no more unshakable promise than this.