Bingo Love is a graphic novel that was highly anticipated and brings a LGBT spin to the currently very popular romantic comic genre. It was actually brought to market by a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The campaign was very successful and raised almost $60,000, way in excess of the $20,000 goal that was set; thanks to contributions from almost 2,000 people. This shows there was a clear interest in the story penned by Tee Franklin and Jenn St-Onge.
Bingo Love tells the story of a same sex romance that spans over 60 long years. In 1963 Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray meet by chance in a bingo hall, when playing together with their grandmothers at church and over time they begin to develop feelings for each other and eventually admit their love to one another. At the end of their senior year they share a kiss.
The story is told from the point of view of Hazel, who is given the loving nickname ‘Elle’ from Mari. They are then sadly forced apart by both society and their intolerant families, who believed their attraction was just a taboo novelty. Hazel is then forced to marry a man called James Downing and has 3 children with him. Whilst Mari also gets married and has children.
Decades later the novel tells the story of them becoming reunited in 2015, once again at a bingo hall when they are both in their mid 60s. They are now both grandmothers, but realize nothing has changed, and they still love each other. They then do something that takes a lot of courage and strength; which is where the story really begins. It tells the tale of two women who survived almost their whole lives apart, but still feel as strongly as they first did all those years ago. The reunion is magical for both women, but what can they do about their families and the obligations they have for them. Or will love ultimately win?
Bingo Love is fantastic and unique, a structural marvel that does not leave any artistic oversights or include anything within the novel that doesn’t add a purpose to the narrative and Hazel and Mari really do feel like two real people jumping off the pages. The story avoids any clichés of abusive husbands or similar and just focuses on the amazing connection between the two women that still exists decades later. In fact, the story is one of personal happiness and the journey towards self actualization.
This graphic novel that reunites two African American women decades after their initial love affair, when they both have children and grandchildren, is beautiful. The funny thing is that in our day and age, there are still those who opt to visit actual bingo halls to enjoy the game. This is lucky for them, as we all know most players tend to choose to play via their mobile device or online by visiting mFortune and other reputable bingo brands. Anyways, the comic, one of the most talked about ones of 2018, has now been picked up by Image Comics due to the massive popularity it received online, which was evident by the successful crowdfunding campaign and has been printed again by them.