Writer: Tee Franklin
Artist: Jenn St-Onge
Colorist: Joy San
Letterer: Cardinal Rae
With all the hate that’s going around in today’s world, it was nice to read a love story. But this wasn’t any old love story, this was a black gay love story. I know some people may think this sounds like a broken record, for those that do, keep it moving. Bingo Love is another example of why representation matters in comic books. After reading this captivating and exquisite story, Tee Franklin and company have shown that black gay love is a beautiful thing, but that it certainly is not without its trials and tribulations.
Elle and Mari are a joy to read and look at. One can’t help but love the blossoming relationship these two go through as they grow up. From the first day they met and up until high school, these two were inseparable. It’s clear that these two belong together, but its fear that keeps them from wanting to be with each other. During the sixties, it wasn’t easy for gay people to express their love and to make it worse, both Elle and Mari came from strong religious backgrounds. It’s when these two finally decide to express their love to each other is when it all falls apart.
Their families kept them from being together for most of their lives. Both families thought Elle and Mari kissing was the most unforgivable thing two people in a strong church upbringing could do. So they did what they thought was best, they kept them apart and made them live lives they were not happy living. Both married and had kids, but they were just playing their roles. It wasn’t until these two reunited later in life that they both still loved each other. Their love never faded and they were allowed to love each other like they were supposed to from the very first time they met each other.
Bingo Love should win best OGN this year. I know it’s only February, but this book has it all. It has great writing, fantastic characters, and it has beautiful and vibrant art. But most of all, it’s a relevant story for any person of color that has struggled with expressing their love for a person of the same sex. Gay people in the black community know how hard it can be to come out because there is still this stigma that being gay and black is immoral and emasculating. Religion is still the main reason behind this stigma. I once dated a black woman whose mother called gay people faggots in front of me because she thought they were doing something “blasphemous”. Bingo Love did a great job of examining this with Elle’s and Mari’s family. This story started off in the 60’s, but this is still something that is very much alive in the black community. Tee Franklin has something special on her hands and I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.