Comics and Romance Meet: ‘Fresh Romance’

Comic Books GeekMom
Fresh Romance cover via Rosy Press
Fresh Romance cover via Rosy Press.

One of my special interests is the intersection of the geek and romance, even helping present a “Romance is a Feminist Genre” at GeekGirlCon one year.

So you can imagine my excitement when the press release for Fresh Romance: An Ongoing Comics Anthology landed in my inbox yesterday. I wasn’t the only one. As of this writing, $20,710 of the $28,000 Kickstarter goal had been pledged in the first 36 hours of the campaign. I had the chance yesterday to ask a few questions to the woman behind Fresh Romance, Janelle Asselin, a former DC Comics editor and senior editor of

GeekMom: What’s your definition of romance?

Janelle Asselin: In terms of the genre, it’s any story where the primary focus is about the personal love relationship between two people—one of the reasons I love it is that it’s such an immensely broad genre. It is also such a well-known genre that as I reached out to the Fresh Romance creators, all of them knew instantly what I was talking about when I said I wanted our stories to be a hybrid of classic romance comics and modern romance novels.

GM: What romance do you read for pleasure?

Yanick Paquette's work for the anthology, image via Rosy Press.
Yanick Paquette’s work for the Regency-era romance in the anthology. Image via Rosy Press.


JA: I’m a big fan of Regency romance novels. Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, writers like that. Smart, sassy heroines and brooding gentleman. When I need to stop thinking about comics, I read romance novels.

GM: What do you think is the most effective way to reach your intended readers?

JA: Obviously, this is a project that is living entirely online, so Rosy Press [the publishing company name] is focused on a lot of online options for public relations and marketing. The top of that list, honestly, is the Kickstarter campaign. It’s a good way to hype a project and get people invested and excited. The response so far has been beyond amazing—and I’ve seen a lot of posts online where backers are telling their friends about it. Social media is really important to a project like this that crosses between media and makes it easier for us to drag in fans of romance novels in addition to comics readers.

Fresh Romance will begin with three ongoing stories:

  • A twist on the iconic high-school love story by Kate Leth (Kate or Die), Arielle Jovellanos (Five), and colorist Amanda Scurti, in which a queer couple keep their relationship under wraps by pretending to compete for the same, equally secretive guy.
  • A Regency-era romance by Sarah Vaughn (Alex + Ada) and Sarah Winifred Searle (Smut Peddler) about a couple headed to the altar despite a mutual lack of enthusiasm for their marriage. (Spoiler: Period costumes and culture are consummately researched.)
  • An otherworldly tale by novelist Sarah Kuh, who has a three-book prose book deal with DAW Books and who is penning her first comic with Sally Jane Thompson (Red Jack) and colorist Savanna Ganucheau, in which a cynical, supernatural barista is trapped in this world… until she helps enough lonely souls find love.
Artwork by Arielle Jovellanos, image via Rosy Press
Artwork by Arielle Jovellanos. Image via Rosy Press.

The first-year stories are already planned and if the Kickstarter goes over goal (which looks likely), that money will go to increase the pay rate for all of the creators involved.

Sally Jane Thompson's art, image via Rosy Press
Sally Jane Thompson’s art. Image via Rosy Press.

There’s plenty of time left to support the Kickstarter. The rewards left as of this writing include everything from $5 for the first issue to $75 for a full-year subscription plus the digital collections of the individual stories, $100 for a one-year subscription, the eBooks, and a chance to “advertise your love” by buying space to send a message to that special someone. You can also like the Rosy Press Facebook page to stay current on all Fresh Romance news.

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