World Comic Book Review

29th February 2024

DEATH OF LOVE (review): “HOW TO SAY FOKKE”

Writer: Justin Jordan

Art: Donal Delay

Image Comics, Valentine’s Day, 2018

FACE IT YOU KNOW how it feels. Love hates you. You are a complete clod, a horrible fraud, totally clumsy and inept, and not in a cute way. People rappel away from you, gravity exhales around you in flushing torrents, and eventually you want to know why, because eventually you would like to get laid, or get a heartthrob to make your life mean something, imagining perhaps if someone else digs you, then at least your parking is validated. Yet all this love and adoring starts with Cupid, and Cupid hates you, no not one Cupid, many Cupids, Cupidae, all of them; and worse, before this feud, the not-so-cute Cupidae did not even know you exist, you were a “nonlister,” a nobody, nowhere near love’s arrows. Now you got love’s attention, their arrows are aimed at you, and they pierce and hurt, and it doesn’t feel like love at all, bro’.

Justin Jordan And Donal DeLay's Bring You The Death Of Love For Valentine's Day From Image Comics



Ashamed to say, I guess, that I laughed at the spectacle of bloody cherubim limbs flying every which way in the melee that eventually ensues, previewed from the start, so the shock wears off by the time you have to knuckle down and actually kill one of these nasty little buggers, though apparently by the end of Issue 4 of five, where I breathlessly await the brow of doom, nothing so far has crippled love’s ire. The pungent question dangles: if love’s agents are invisible and remain unaccountable, do they stay pretty, or do they rather let themselves go like this, and become vulgar, tough, profane beasties? Must any of our gods, or most of our human population for that matter, have noble characteristics, or must we best live with them like it or not? Perhaps only the highest uphold truth and nobility, while those in lesser dominions on the shores of light like the minions of love turn into little shits.

Cursing love’s rude injustice is the first thing to do. Fuck love. With no protective asterisks.

This no‑doubt cathartic story by Justin Jordan, with unblushing art by Donal Delay, came out on Valentine’s Day 2018, and may be used to wipe out another bad year for love. Curses start when the little Cupids show up. The first one growls, “What the fuck are you looking at?” Once the action starts flashing by, paced by the text, you have to stay inside, but often enough all you can say or hear is a diatribal “shit shit shit” or “holy fucking fuck on a fuckstick,” the kind of incantation that sometimes awakens a demon in some far realm sleeping fitfully for eons until you finally call.

A number of titles deploy fuck these days, sometimes perfectly. The way John S. Hall frankly used fuck in song lyrics in the avant-garde band King Missile prepped me, as in his song “The President” in 2003, singing repeatedly, “You fucking piece of shit,” for which I felt deeply sympathetic, and other correct usages, as often now, too, in dramatic scenes like the classic woman alone at a bar with a boorish guy advancing over her shoulder, whom she repels with a brisk “Fuck off” that always sounds just right.

One variation with a clutch of teens saying “fokked up” in skateboarder lingo reminded me I once had a father-in-law and a brother-in-law in Holland, both named Fokke, which means a breeder, an animal raiser, or in dairyland the one who “freshens” cows to keep them giving milk. Saying Fokke is not the same as saying fuck, because fuck is a curse word, and one is not supposed to say it, whatever it means.

Please, I often think, I would like to keep my mind on loftier things than your foul mouth can invent, yet here in the throes of love and death I was swept along. Maybe the little savages should not curse so much, nor the poor humans exposed to them, yet it all feels like the natural thing to do in the face of super-amazing love gone profoundly wrong.

Death Of Love #1 (Of 5) | Image Comics