Written by: Matt Hawkins & Jenni Cheung
Art & Lettering: Linda Sejic
Publisher: Image Comics
Review by Evan Maroun
For many, sex is important. You have your awkward first encounters, start to get comfortable during those wild college years, and before you know it you’re married, have a few kids and your life is moving so fast that too often sex falls by the wayside. In Swing by Matt Hawkins and Jenni Cheung, we get a look at a couple that falls into this exact pitfall. Except rather than accept the decline of their intimacy, they decide to do something about it– that thing being Swinging.
When I first started reading Swing, I had no idea that it was actually a spinoff of Stjepan Sejic’s Sunstone—Another romantic comedy series bound tightly by an erotic bow. It deals with another avenue of sexual exploration, but at its core, it is a love story.
Before you get scared at the sight of the word “spinoff” know this: You don’t need to know anything going into it to understand this or it’s characters.
The story opens with Cathy, a young Asian girl starting college. She is more interested in boys than schoolwork but also doesn’t want to spend her weekends under the grimy roof of a frat house. You can see the dilemma. Fortunately, she meets a brainy English TA named Dan and they immediately hit it off. Cue lots of risky sex and a whirlwind of a relationship montage with a baby following. Fast forward, they’re married, busy, and rarely find time to take pleasure in that anymore. That’s when the idea presents itself to Cathy in the form of a google search result. Hey, not every epiphany has to be a sign from God.
One of the things that Hawkins and Cheung capture so well in this story is the head-spinning rush of starting a new relationship and all the things that come with that. Gorgeously dream-like splash pages by Sejic serve to push this feeling even further. I’ll admit, the romance genre is generally not in my wheelhouse. Yet, here I found myself wrapped up in it. Both Cathy and Dan are given enough depth where they feel like real people, not quite the idyllic couple that is often presented. There is a wonderful couple of pages where Hawkins and Cheung show us things Dan is worried about at the thought of Swinging. Then, they mirror Cathy soon after, showing us she has her own list of worries about the very idea she proposed. It’s moments like these that help to really humanize these characters and draw you into a subject that chances are, you’re not quite familiar with.
Without Sejic’s art, this story would not be nearly as effective as it is. Don’t get it twisted, that’s not a knock to the story. That’s just how suitable Sejic’s work is for this tale. Her characters are drawn quite attractively and expressive, matching the sexy nature of the story with pages playfully covered in skin, and other times leading us with as little as a smirk or raised eyebrow.
I’ve only gotten the chance to read the first half of the forthcoming TPB from Image, but if it remains this consistent, I think Swing is a provocative and honest look at a couple trying to get closer together by first coming apart.
Look for Swing hitting shelves next month.