Ed Luce’s gay romance comic Wuvable Oaf, reviewed.

A Romance Comic for Bear-Lovers and the Bears Who Love Them

A Romance Comic for Bear-Lovers and the Bears Who Love Them

Reading between the lines.
Aug. 5 2015 1:02 PM

Meet Oaf

A romance comic for bear-lovers and the bears who love them.

Ed Luce Promo.

Image courtesy of Fantagraphics Books

A panel from Wuvable Oaf.
A panel from Wuvable Oaf.

Courtesy of Fantagraphics Books

Sure, Oaf Jadwiga may be enormous, muscled, extravagantly bearded—indeed, so hirsute that when he shaves his chest, the hair springs back out mere moments later. Sure, Oaf’s been known to crush a man just by rolling over onto him. Sure, he was once the fearsome masked wrestler Goteblüd, who sprayed gore over vanquished foes from his enormous goat horns.

Dan Kois Dan Kois

Dan Kois edits and writes for Slate’s culture department. He is writing a book called How to Be a Family and co-writing, with Isaac Butler, an oral history of Angels in America.

But Oaf just wants to be loved. And in Ed Luce’s indie comics series Wuvable Oaf, readers have seen poor Oaf cuddle his rescue kitties, get dumped by San Francisco jerks, lovingly construct his limited-edition stuffed animals—and, finally, meet Eiffel Desmarais, the lead screamer for disco-grindcore (or is it black spazz-metal queercore?) band Ejaculoid. Now collected into a very funny book by Fantagraphics, the tentative-yet-sexy romance between gigantic Oaf and tiny Eiffel will be catnip to bear-lovers and the bears who love them—but also to readers not steeped in the queer scene who simply love a witty, warm-hearted story and a lead character who’s worth rooting for.

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Luce’s energetic pen is the key to Wuvable Oaf’s wuvability. His distinctive symmetric characters muscle their way through panels crammed with whimsical detail. Luce finds the cuteness in death metal, mud wrestling, hairballs, and cat butts. He gamely exploits the incongruity of two very different bodies trying to find a way to fit together, but he also doesn’t shy away from depicting sincere tenderness. And he loves drawing hair. Boy oh boy, is this comic hairy. Wuvable Oaf is almost certainly the hairiest comic I’ve ever read, and I’m delighted to have Ed Luce illustrating the August issue of the Slate Book Review.

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Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce. Fantagraphics Books.