The Story
LNC Store
The Creator
Contact
Read Love and Capes Online
Love and Capes Trivia
Downloads
Home

 

Thom Zahlerís Love and Capes is my favorite super-hero comic, even when it breaks from its own proud tradition as it did with its tenth issue [Maerkle Press; $3.95]. Love and Capes is the story, the romance of Abby and Mark. She owns a bookstore, heís a mild-mannered accountant. Heís also the Crusader, the mightiest super-hero on Earth.

Love and Capes has always been more sitcom than super-hero, a witty effort drawn in a bright, welcoming style. But, in this tenth issue, with Mark having proposed to Abby and her having said ďYes,Ē she begins to wonder what his super-heroic life is like and if thereís some way for her to experience it, the better to understand the man she is to marry. It turns out there is a way and, before long, Abby is flying the super-hero skies and trying her best to live up to that great responsibility.

Plot-wise, thatís all you get from me. My good friend Zahler has, in this issue, crafted the best super-hero story of the year and one of the best super-hero stories ever. It is thoughtful and moving in a way too few super-hero comic books are in these days of endless crisis and misery as a marketing tool. It deserves every award our industry has to offer.

Love and Capes #10 earns the exceedingly rare six out of five Tonys. I refuse to be bound by your earthly math.

--Tony Isabella
Tony's Tips

About issue #11…
The favorite trophy for last week, by a knock-out, was Thom Zahler’s magnificent Love and Capes #11. With only one issue left before the big wedding, it’s time for Abby to choose a dress. When she realized the dress she’s set her heart on was designed by her fiance’s ex-girlfriend, though, her pride may be a bit more than she can swallow. Words just can’t express how much I love this book. Each issue is steeped in superhero trappings, but the core is invariably about the heart, the relationship, and everything that comes with being in love – both the good and the bad. Zahler is a brilliant storyteller, both in words and visually, and Love and Capes is the smartest, sweetest, and most honest love story I have ever read in comic book form. The double-sized wedding issue doesn’t ship until December, so you’ve got time to get the trade paperback and issues #7-11 to catch up with the greatest comic you’re not reading. What are you waiting for? GO!

About issue #10…
For those who havenít been following along, Mark Spencer is the Crusader, the worldís greatest superhero. His fiancť, Abby, has come to grips with the reality of being a heroís girlfriend, but before they can get married, she wants to know just for a day what itís like to have the burden of his power. She turns to one of his superhero friends for a little help in understanding what his life is like. Abby embarks upon a career as a superheroine, experiencing all the heights Ė and the one low that balances out everything.

Thom Zahlerís title is, typically, a superheroic romantic comedy, with the relationship stuff usually being the dominant element. This issue, although thereís no story without the relationship, the superhero stuff is at the forefront. This is, in essence, the story of a superhero experiencing her first days on the job. Itís a great thing, something that anyone reading the book would love to experience Ė until Abby hits the one moment that every hero hits sooner or later. Although this is just as sharp and funny as any issue of this remarkable series, thereís some true drama here that pulls you in and makes you feel for Abby in a way thatís somehow perfectly relatable, even for those of us who havenít gotten around to being superheroes yet.

Zahlerís art is a lot of fun. The sort of ďanimatedĒ style fits the tenor of the book, and he gets across a lot of expression in the faces. The designs are all old-school cool, from the look of the city to the hero costume designs. (The scene where Abby tries to pick out a costume is particularly funny, with plenty of in-jokes for the comic fans.)

Although this issue does pick up on the last one, it stands on its own very well. You donít really need to know anything other than Abby is the girl in love with the Big Hero of this universe. The archetypes are familiar enough that you can follow the story with no trouble, even as youíre learning just who these characters are and what sets them apart from the other heroes that fall in the same mold.

Free Comic Book Day is a great chance to try comics youíve never sampled before, and thereís no book more deserving than this one. Check it out. Give it to your girlfriend. Give it to your sister. Just read it and see why Iíve been gushing over this title for months.

Blake Petit
ComicXtreme.com

...let's look at the indie publication Love and Capes. It's a fairly simple light comedy about a superhero who reveals his identity to his girlfriend. The main character is a Superman analog, and there are analogs of (at least) Batman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League around as well. Although the correspondence is decidedly loose and tilted towards humour. What makes this series so great is the characterization. While there are other more obvious gags in the book, most of the humor and fun come from the interactions between the protagonist, his girlfriend, and a few other characters. They have well-developed enough personalities already that creator Thom Zahler can play them off each other well enough to make a whole interesting book.

Love and Capes isn't trying to change the world of comics or make any other such grandiose claims. But if you like secret identity hijinks and light romantic comedy, you should really make the effort to track down this book.

 

This is a really fun series, which could best be described as crossing Superman with a 30-minute sitcom. The art is crisp and iconic, and the dialogue flows quickly and snappily. Heroes may be one way to take superheroes onto the television screen and make them really work, but Love and Capes is absolutely the other way to do so.

A surprisingly charming tale about a hardworking superhero and his girlfriend — he’s frustrated by all the attention the upstart ‘Arachnerd’ is getting. Thomas F. Zahler’s boldly cartoony artwork recalls "The Incredibles," and so does his wry, smart dialogue. A-"

"BREEZIEST SUPERHERO READING:
Love and Capes (Maerkle Press)
These mundane episodes in the domestic life of a superhero — some more amusing than others — exude just enough charm."

Love and Capes #4: Thomas Zahler’s super-hero romance comic is cute and unpretentious, and liberally littered with in-jokes for super-hero fans. He has a unique art-style and a good ear for snappy dialogue… This particular issue’s story, about a Superman-type hero’s jealousy of a Spider-Man type’s popular film is especially fitting given the timing of this year’s FCBD.

Get it

As a scripter, Zahler has an easy ear for dialog (wish he didn't make his word balloons so translucent, though) and a facility with the quickly established character joke. Though he peppers his script with periodic fannish comic book japes, he's also smart enough to make 'em secondary to the situational punchlines. As a writer, Zahler plays fast and loose with his universe, occasionally alluding to comic book characters beyond the pages of Maerkle Comics. When Abby asks her Crusader boyfriend if he has any weaknesses, for instance, he notes that the "last guy I knew who told his girlfriend his weakness wound up seeing it splashed across the front page of a great metropolitan newspaper." Mark has reason to be wary of keeping too many secrets with Abby, we already know, since it didn't take any time at all for her to spill the beans to her sister Charlotte.

Zahler's art in Love And Capes is well-suited to the material: heavily outlined with thick brush strokes, cartoonishly retro in its look. If all the single women share the same humongous eyes and basic body type (so much so that when Abby frets over her meeting with Amazonia, we can't really see what she's stressing over), it's a small plaint. Gotta admit I chuckled over Abby's first meeting with the Parents, wherein Ma Spencer notes, "I like her Mark. She's not all skinny like that Amazonia girl." Abby's "Gee, thanks" response is humorously carried by the art – and those big big expressive eyes.

The art work is of a very high quality and the fact that it is colour throughout adds to the visual effect but the real standout feature of this title is the writing. It is sharp contemporary, precise and very, very funny. For example we have The Crusader and his sidekick discussing whether he should reveal his true identity to Abby while they hold a villain by the neck high over the city. and a fallout between the lovers when they both fail to keep a secret. There are also some nice allusions to modern pop culture that just add to the fun.

The dialogue is also highly individualised and this is particularly the case for Abbey who is the more appealing of the two main characters. Her sarcasm and indignant anger when faced with the knowledge of Mark’s previous girlfriend is realistic and amusing. In fact the tension between her and the super heroine Amazonia is one of the comic’s highpoints. In the same way her fears when she watches her man get beaten up on TV whilst defending the city are touchingly realistic. The cover says it all really as Abby and Mark are locked in a passionate embrace in a phone booth, a super hero super situation comedy.

Hey, we've been mentioned on the Geek 4x4 podcast as a recommended title. How cool is that? Check out the site, and the 'cast, here.

Thom Zahler, a creator who has made a name for himself in producing some of the more intelligently done action/spy comics of the past few years, does a full 180 with this surprisingly sweet romance comic. By adjusting his style, his sense of design, and adding color to his work, he demonstrates a lovely versatility, and a sense of bravery that I wish more creators possessed.

Thom Zahler has an appealing, cartoon-influenced style that’s just right for the romantic superhero comedy Love and Capes. Mark is the Crusader, a Superman-like hero. Abby is a detail-oriented bookstore owner who somehow has missed figuring out his secret identity. They’re in love, so he decides to stop hiding things from her.

I love the way he shares his secret with her — when taking off his clothes to reveal his costume, she ignores what it means until he sits down on thin air. It’s great visual interplay that fully uses both art and text. The comedy here is honestly funny because it comes from the characters, and there’s so much story that it’s more satisfying than some much longer graphic novels. Judging from the structure, it was originally planned as a webcomic strip — every four panels, there’s another punchline, which helps create the feeling of density, with lots going on.

I was thrilled to see the way Mark puts up with Abby pointing out typos in the newspaper, and her acceptance of who he pretends to be is treated as a strength. Too many people have made fun of Lois Lane, calling her an idiot for never proving Clark Kent was Superman; instead of that insulting approach, Zahler creates two well-rounded people who have to navigate a complex mix of careers, hobbies, skills, and personality traits, just like real life. The reader can easily see why they fell in love with each other — they have fun together.

It’s a shame that there’s only this one issue. I’d enjoy seeing more of these characters, although it’s a pleasure to see a creator who knows when to say when, telling the story he wants to tell, entertaining the reader, and getting out while they still want more.

Johanna Draper Carlson,
Comics Worth Reading

Love and Capes #1 [Maerkle Press; $3.95] is the new comic book by my multi-talented pal Thom Zahler. It's the story of a couple and their relationship, a relationship complicated by the guy being a super-hero. Zahler is the writer, artist, letterer, colorist, editor, and publisher of this 28-page, full-color comic book. If the printer would have let him run the press, he probably would've done that, too.

Abby and Mark are a pretty cute couple. She owns a book store and, when he's not the Crusader, he's an accountant. "I still have to pay my bills," he explains. "Wearing a cape doesn't generate a paycheck. I just do taxes at super-speed. Except depreciation tables. Man, are those things complicated!"

Love and Capes is a romantic comedy with occasional panels of super-folks in costume. It starts a short time before Mark shares his secret with Abby and continues through some of the pitfalls the relationship will bring, such as Mark having dated the equivalent of Wonder Woman before he met Abby. And that "risking his life on a regular basis" thing. It's a very funny, very human comic book with a bright-and-bouncy art style that I love more with each and every page. My pal has done real good here.

Love and Capes #1 gets the full five out of five Tonys. Leave a space for it on next year's awards ballots.

Tony Isabella, Tony's Tips

 

Also to the author’s credit is the fact that his own tagline—‘The Heroically Super Situation Comedy Comic Book’—more properly sums up his own method of storytelling. Love and Capes does indeed play out more like a sitcom, structured around punchlines that occur like clockwork at the bottom of each of his books pages. Also like a sitcom, the jokes are sometimes funny, sometimes cheesy, and quite often, visible from a mile away. And by the end of each episode, the problem is resolved, and we have to wait for next week (okay, three months—the man has a day job, for god’s sake) for the next mini-adventure...it never reaches the absurd nirvana of The Tick, and by the same token never gets caught awkwardly grasping for some deeper meaning, save for the occasional love conquers all/opposites attract themes sprinkled throughout.

 

This week I have a very fun recommendation for your manly reading. In fact I think that your wife, girlfriend or babe you’re trying to impress will also love it as well.

It’s a comic book called LOVE AND CAPES by writer/artist Thom Zahler. It’s classified as a “Heroically Super Situation Comedy”. Ya know what? It is!

This book is almost a one-man-show with Zahler doing the writing, the drawing and most everything else. It’s full color and clocks in at about 24 pages. I love the animated, TV look and pace of the story. Most of you will think of Bruce Timm when you see the art. That’s a very good thing. Zahler has always been one of the wittiest writers and creators I know. For someone to be so talented in so many fields he lacks my shameless, self-promoting ways. He really needs to swipe some of my DNA and have a mad scientist inject it into him. This is a book that many need to see and read. It has no gender borders. It will appeal to everyone. It has the taste of Seinfeld and Friends. Everyone will find something they like here.

LOVE AND CAPES is full of fast paced, witty dialogue that doesn’t tug at your sleeve and tell you it’s funny. You know it is. It’s a play on so many super hero stories that you know and love. I promise you will enjoy the banter and sparks between the hero know and Crusader and his girlfriend Abby. The supporting cast is supports the story, as well written supporting characters are supposed to do. Amazonia is one of my favorite characters in here. You see her and you’ll know why.

You must check this book out. It’s a manly order.

Beau Smith, Busted Knuckles

 

Some characters in comics are for all intents and purposes archetypes, the basic ideas and concepts that people look to. As such, it's not uncommon to see analogues of these characters show up in other comics, especially ones like Superman and Wonder Woman. Reading Thom Zahler's Love and Capes, however, reminded me that just because you're using an archetype doesn't preclude you from having a really good comic.

Mark and Abby at a casual glance are two average, ordinary people in a relationship. Mark's an accountant, Abby runs a bookstore. There's just one small thing that Mark isn't telling Abby—he's really the superhero known as the Crusader. And when he tells her, well, that's when their relationship gets really interesting.

By making two of Love and Capes's three characters analogues of other, well-known creations, Zahler's using a very effective form of shorthand to get his comic moving. He doesn't have to stop and explain the Crusader or Amazonia in terms of their absolute basics, instead jumping right into the relationship between Mark and Abby. In some ways it's a risky move because it doesn't let the creation of brand-new characters distract you from what's important—the relationship between the two of them—but fortunately that's not something that Zahler has to worry about. Mark and Abby's relationship is a genuine joy to read about. The two of them have a really good rapport, one that feels true to life. Because their relationship is really the core of the book, getting this correct is paramount. There's a lot of fun here, from Abby having to try and explain away a tan courtesy a super-powered flight to Maui, to Mark dodging metaphorical relationship bullets. Zahler's scripting reminds me in many ways of a good sitcom script; fast and witty and it aims to make the reader laugh, but still capable of having a good deal of substance contained in its words.

Zahler's art is a nice cross between animation and caricatures; it uses smooth, friendly lines and curves to create the characters, letting them look stylized but still real. Add in a gentle color palette and it's an attractive-looking comic. I especially liked that Zahler sticks with an 8-panel grid throughout the comic; it reads easily and at the same time forces Zahler to keep the visual focus on the characters, which is exactly where it should be.Love and Capes is a fun comic, one that I think has real appeal to a wide variety of readers. Because Zahler uses archetypes for his characters it's not something that people unfamiliar with superhero comics would have a problem with.

Love and Capes was solicited as a one-shot comic, but based on this I'd love to see more of these characters down the line. It's an all-around good read. Love and Capes is in the April Previews for books shipping in July 2006, on page 324. Or, tell your local retailer to use Diamond order code MAY06 3266.

Greg McElhatton, iComics


Love and Capes follows the relationship between Mark and Abbey, a typical couple. Well, okay, not that typical; Mark is really the superhero The Crusader. The comic is billed as a “Heroically Super Situation Comedy”, an accurate description as they struggle through relationship pitfalls with a superhero twist, such as Abbey coming to grips with Mark’s past relationship with superheroine and teammate Amazonia, Abbey’s single sister Charlotte coping with her sister’s relationship, and Mark’s relationship with the rest of the superhero community such as Darkblade and Arachnerd.

Issue #4 focuses on Mark and his rivalry with Arachnerd. Can Mark handle Arachnerd having a box-office smash movie AND being elected membership into his own team, the Liberty League? Can Abby figure out the root of Mark’s animosity toward Arachnerd?

The laughs are authentic and realistic as, despite the superhero backdrop, the relationships among the characters remind us of people, couples, and friends we’ve known. This realism has helped The Crusader receive more character development in four issues than Superman has received in 75 years.

Zahler doesn’t just give us an enchanting view into the private life of a superhero and his girlfriend; it delivers Zahler’s sharp, crisp art. His panels are as dynamic as they are comedic, and that makes Love and Capes a delight to look at.

Imagine the 1992-1999 television series Mad about You, it's charm and humor, but with Paul Buchman being a superhero, not an aspiring film director, and you've got Love and Capes. Buy the books, and check out some of the original online strips at the Love and Capes website. You'll enjoy it."

Love and Capes was solicited as a one-shot comic, but based on this I'd love to see more of these characters down the line. It's an all-around good read. Love and Capes is in the April Previews for books shipping in July 2006, on page 324. Or, tell your local retailer to use Diamond order code MAY06 3266.

Bodog, The Blog Monster

 

Thomas Zahler’s super-hero romance comic is cute and unpretentious, and liberally littered with in-jokes for super-hero fans. He has a unique art-style and a good ear for snappy dialogue. About the only problems with the book are sometimes muddy colors and transparent word-balloons which are frequently hard to read. This particular issue’s story, about a Superman-type hero’s jealousy of a Spider-Man type’s popular film is especially fitting given the timing of this year’s FCBD.
Get it

Valerie Nicolette