Two weeks ago, the anthology “Love is Love” came out benefiting the families and victims of the Pulse night club mass shooting. Relax, this isn’t a review of it, because there’s no need. Much like the people it depicts, its perfect just the way it is. It is perfect in its perfection and in its flaws. Its perfect in its voice and in its silence. There’s not a single panel in this book that warrants criticism because they all stem from, and evoke raw emotion. Which ones? All of them. This anthology ran myself through the full spectrum of what it is to feel. I’m glad I bought two copies, because my reader is splattered with tears of grief, sadness, joy, fear, anger, hope, and heart that too many comic creators to name ripped out their souls and charitably laid on the page.
I made the mistake of reading this anthology alone at home. I say it was a mistake because my husband is a night nurse at a local hospital, and I didn’t want either one of us out in public. I wanted him home, safe, with me. I wanted him in a place that hate couldn’t touch him, where bigotry couldn’t shatter our lives the way it did so many lives in Orlando. I wanted and needed to feel that we couldn’t be Orlando…but that place doesn’t exist. It didn’t exist in Orlando and it doesn’t exist in Little Rock. It doesn’t exist because we ARE Orlando. We have to be. WE HAVE TO BE ORLANDO. There isn’t a single place on Earth where that darkness cannot get to us. That’s, perhaps, why it’s all the more a tragedy. Hope isn’t lost though, because everywhere hates’ tendrils creep, love can weed them out. I spent a large part of my early 20’s in gay bars dancing, laughing, and loving just like those beautiful souls in Florida were. That’s why those bullets hit so close to home, and that’s why the love that these creators, and indeed the world poured onto the LGBTQ community hit close to home as well. Love will always drive out hate.
So, I dried up my tears and called my husband, and told him I love him. I was reminded to let him know my love BECAUSE hate exists. Hate exists, so our love has to be louder. The next night we went to a local gay bar. We drank, we danced, we laughed…we kissed on the street in front of all of the gays, and straits, and queers, and drag queens, and strangers. Strangers who might hate, but who also might love. Because I am Orlando, because we are Orlando, and because Love is Love, thank you to every single person credited in this book.
If you don’t own this yet, I encourage you to do so. Order it, pick it up at you LCS, or find it digitally, but pay for it. All of the money goes to charity, you can easily research how it gets there.