“For those who don’t know Bingo Love, I see it as Moonlight meets Black Mirror’s San Junipero episode.”
A happy little thrum of recognition rolled off of the crowd gathered at Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse when author Tee Franklin described her gorgeous book as such. I had just finished reading Bingo Love at my table before heading over to the Q&A area. There’s something almost unbearably vulnerable about crying in public so I quickly, almost peevishly, swiped my tears away and got to the business of covering the world premiere of this new queer love story published through Image Comics.
I won’t go into depth for fear of spoiling a good read, but the basic premise is that two young girls, Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray, meet at a church bingo game in 1963 and as their feelings for each other move quickly from friendship to more, society and their families move to pull them apart. The book then follows their journeys to find their truth over many years and many circumstances.
The art is vibrant and inviting. The story is at turns funny and melancholy. I especially liked the two-page montages that cover large chunks of time with a surprising thoroughness. Something about the story and how it unfolds puts me in the mind of the famous quote by Zora Neal Hurston, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”
I even like that Bingo Love is rated Teen so young people can access the story and get the fortifying message that they aren’t alone. This was an important thing for Tee Franklin to communicate as her touring of cons and college campuses has put her in community with young people who desperately need to see these affirming images. However, during her Q&A, she did cheekily say that she’s not adverse to a little saucy Bingo Love fan art if fans are so inclined! Do yourself a favor today and pick up this worthy addition to the small but growing queer Black comic canon.