Valentine – A Web Comic
Writer and Artist: Seni-Arseni
Published at: tapas.io
A review by Christoph Staffl
Who could ever forget the lyrics of Oasis’s Wonderwall?
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all
You’re my wonderwall”
Valentine is the perfect translation of the song into the comic book format. Seemingly alone in the world, one of our protagonists faces his fears. Glaring into fears eyes and in that he finds a companion for a journey everyone has to make – one way or another. What becomes of them? Let’s find out.
Imagine this: It is Valentines Day. You are nineteen years old, closeted, and as shy as one person can be. How do you find your Valentine? Well, you take all the courage you can manage and go to the annual “secret Valentine” get-together your school is organizing every year. Of course, there are boy-cards and girl-cards, because, that’s how the world is. So somehow you have to get your hands on one of those shiny pink ones. Oh, and you need trust and hope to meet the right person. Because if your Valentine is not that understanding, a lot can go wrong.
But Max takes this leap of faith. The first time you see him on the page you have to love him. His constantly red face, his naiveté, but also the courage and trust he has in people. His personality provides a fresh and positive view of the world, even if the world around him suggests the contrary. It is just incredible to watch him take on the journey.
His Valentine is Alex. A straight (?) guy, who is very understanding as Max tells him that he is gay. But Alex also warns him. Because it is dangerous to tell a stranger that you are gay in this society. Who knows what will happen? At first, this was a bit off-putting because I didn’t understand the society this comic takes place in. But then, a few pages in, I realized we are in Russia, and instantly the story dragged me back in. This information puts everything Max did and continues to do, into a new perspective. And I love it.
The two of them instantly become friends, and Alex is very protective of Max. He even invites him to a friends birthday but advises him not to tell anyone his secret. Max cannot believe how lucky he is. Not just meeting Alex, but also meeting friendly people and finding common minded ones. The main story, of course, focuses on Alex and Max and the development of their relationship.
I read through all the available chapters in one sitting. The story is engaging, the artwork incredible, and you have to love the characters. And did I mention the artwork? The facial expressions and the body language of the different characters tell you a lot about their state of mind. I would describe the style is manga-ish; which is a good thing because in this case, you get a lot of subtext and symbolism. The colors also work very well with the simplistic style.
Read it! Valentine is a great romantic story, with relatable characters. The situations and emotions they go through feel authentic.
And by the way: The f*ing cliffhanger in the last update of 2017 killed me. What is going on?! I definitely will support the creator on Patreon to get the next chapters.