The Only Valentine You Need is Bingo Love

Title: Bingo Love
Author: Tee Franklin
Artist: Jenn St-Onge
Release Date: February 14, 2018
Publisher: Image Comics
Review Spoilers: Low
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Get ready for the love story you’ve all been waiting for: falling in love at bingo night. I’ve been dragged to my fair share of bingo games by my mother and grandmother, and not once have I ever found this to be a romantic setting. However, Tee Franklin gives you a reason to spend the night filling out your sheet with blobs of color, potentially looking for the love of your life.

Bingo Love follows the story of a young girl named Hazel, who meets the new girl in town, Mari, at bingo night with her grandmother. Her interest piques when they meet each other at school and Hazel shows Mari around. The two hit it off instantly, and a love story begins to unfold. Troubles and triumphs constantly challenge them, but Hazel and Mari persist at all costs.

There were many reasons why I appreciated this comic being out there. Firstly, Bingo Love is about two queer-identified women of color. That in and of itself is so important because we don’t often get to listen to those stories, especially in mediums like comic books. Even more than that, this story starts in the sixties when same-sex couples had a hard time being together. It really sets the scene for what kind of dynamics the reader can expect to engage in.

Bingo Love also portrays older women being in love. I love that this focused so heavily on same-sex couples in their later years; not only is this great for the queer community, but also for how Tee Franklin portrays older women with sexuality. It’s placed in the story so tastefully, readers should be able to read comfortably.

The story is so beautiful, just like its characters and art, and it gives you such a colorful and impactful story about how love never dies. Hazel, lovingly called “Elle,” and Mari go through so much to be together. But what’s more, Franklin puts so much into her other characters. As their family expands and new lives are brought into the scene, you can see just how vibrant each one is and how they have an impact on the main characters’ lives.

What really got to me was how the story wasn’t cut and dry; there was no good versus evil, but rather the gray area in between. Elle and Mari don’t always make the best choices in life, despite dealing with very dark and difficult subjects themselves. Franklin embodies the humanity in family and life itself.

It’s not always easy to combine so many different elements that create an identity and make it a smooth story, but Bingo Love does it in a way that entices the reader and gives them all the warm fuzzies their stomach can handle. If you’re looking for a comic that embodies a real relationship, Bingo Love has just called your number.