Because I am their parent and, thus, the person they trust to provide them with authoritative information about the world around them, my girls nodded solemnly, taking mental notes on the Important Life Wisdom I was sharing with them. "Love is....," they recorded in their sweet little impressionable brains, "Worst comic ever, someone gets paid for this=totally unfair, running for 41 years=insanity!, continued appeal=completely mystifying."
Actually, "love is..." is completely mystifying in many, many ways. This is why, if you must know, the three of us have become kind of obsessed with it. Sort of in an ironic way, but also sort of not. (My husband, quite reasonably, thinks our "love is..." love is wack and will have nothing to do with it.)
I mean, it's just so fucking weird. There is a male and female, and they sort of look like kids, but maybe they're adults. It is not clear if they are married, or dating, or just neighbors. And they are always naked. Always. The whole always naked thing gives the comic exactly the right surrealistic touch that adds an extra dimension of fuckupedness to each panel.
The other day, the panel read, "love is... when he invites you to come to his place." It was illustrated with the naked guy opening the door of his apartment to the naked girl who was standing in the hall. That a man would eagerly let a naked girl come into his apartment seemed self-explanatory enough, but why was this chick just wandering the halls of the apartment building with no clothes on? She looked clear-headed enough and didn't appear, at least on initial inspection, to be in the midst of a fugue state. And why did this dude think he should answer the door all naked? Did he peek out, see she was naked, then strip? Or does he just greet all visitors in his nude glory? (I use the word "nude" here because it's just so so 70s. Maybe, if you're lucky, I'll use the word "unisex" for you as well.)
And yesterday, the strip read "love is...gazing longingly at each other across a crowded room." The illustration was the guy and girl gazing longingly at each other across a crowded room full of other naked kid/adult people. "There are MORE of them," my 10 year old intoned ominously. Everyone in the drawing looked happy, as I guess people tend to look when they are at a naked party. I, tragically, am never invited to naked parties, so I wouldn't know. Just what kind of free love, public nudity, mushroom-decorated world do these kid/adults live in?
|Maybe he'd have better luck if he wore clothes to the Job Center|
Oh, so many questions! And the "love is..." Wikipedia entry just fuels the mystique. Whoever wrote the entry seemed to have closely studied the strip, searching desperately for clues.
The main characters are a male and a female. Their names may be Roberto and Kim, respectively, since in a 1974 episode which says "Love is... your name pronounced by him while sleeping" the male pronounces the name "Kim", the strip's creator's name, and in a 1971 panel the female writes the letter 'R' in the beach sand (the creator's husband's name is Roberto). The male has dark black, short hair while the female has light, waist-length hair. The characters have been featured in various stages of romance: just meeting, boyfriend/girlfriend and husband/wife. They appear to be quite young, looking like toddlers, however, they are apparently supposed to represent adults
Sometimes, the male is seen to be part of the Army, Marines, etc.
When featured as husband and wife, at times a child/children will appear who are much smaller than them, but never more than two children, a boy and a girl. The boy and girl have the hair coloring of their opposite gender parent (i.e., the girl has her father's black hair, while the boy has his mother's light hair). The children have been featured both as infants and as elementary school age; they have not been featured as teenagers.
I love it, it's so... tentative and unsure. I mean, searching for clues in a letter scratched into the beach sand? It's madness! "They appear to be quite young, looking like toddlers, however, they are apparently supposed to represent adults," the entry's writer notes, flummoxed and completely losing the usual authoritative Wikipedia tone.
However, I can judge all I want, but that fact is, at the height of the strip's popularity in the 70s, creator Kim Casali made between £4-5 million a year. I don't know the exact exchange rate into U.S. dollars, but I'm pretty sure it's a fuck of a lot of money. By contrast, this month, on Amazon referrals alone, I have made...let's see here....carry the one...exactly 52¢. Right. So I'll just shut my damn trap now.
(note 8/16): this is a re-run. this would explain why an oddly high amount of commenters mentioning cock rings. I was having a contest--now edited out--partially so that anyone who decided to search for "Love is..." and "cock ring" would find somewhere to land.
Also, Love is... is still going strong.