The best of The Magnetic Fields’ great 69 Love Songs are the silly pop song equivalent of Chekovian short stories, each of them managing to convey a different character and emotion in just a handful of chords and stanzas. So the songs are a natural subject for a collection of 69 comic strips, where an artist must do the same in just a few frames.
That’s the idea behind the blog and perhaps eventual book How Fucking Romantic. At the center of that website is Julia Scheele, the London designer who curates the site. Her sharp eye for comics and illustrations is essential to the project: As an illustrator herself, she asks contributors to first submit examples of their work, to make sure their skills and ideas are up to snuff, before they can stake their claim on a song.
The result is a wonderfully varied assemblage of styles and visions, including collages cut out of magazines and catalogs, a horror vignette out a zombie graphic novel, and comics roughly in the styles of Chris Ware, Ralph Steadman, and Adventure Comics. The best are a perfect match of style and subject—just like the songs themselves—and it’s worth perusing the entire (almost) complete collection.
With the site’s permission, here are a few personal favorites to get you started.
“A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off” by Tom Humberstone:
“I Don’t Believe In the Sun” by Huw “Lem” Davies:
“Underwear” by Julia Scheele:
Thanks to Alexis Petridis for the tip.
Where Do I Start with The Magnetic Fields?