Over a year ago, I purchased a cute little red book called Soppy from the local comic book store in the city. This was not one of those books I heard about days or weeks before buying. It was a total impulse buy. Flipping through the images between the covers, there was a certain charm that I just couldn’t resist. The adorable content matched the aesthetic charm to Rice’s comic. If you want to read a feel good comic about two people falling in love, this would be towards the top of my charts.
One thing you may immediately notice about this book is there is no explicit plot line, but at the same time, there is a clear progression in the relationship. It is a loose timeline of a relationship and how it has developed. It shows when they first met, their first date (or at least I assume it’s their first date), their first time spending an extended amount of time together, moving in with each other, and a bunch of moments after that.
And that’s what this story is full of: moments. There are no grand romantic gestures or huge climatic fight that looks like it could end the relationship. In fact there is only one fight shown in the entire book (I use the word shown because I’m sure there were other fights in their relationship in real life) and it didn’t even show the fight. It only showed the aftermath and the apology.The argument or reason for your fight was not important. The important part was what happened after when she comes back home with a milkshake for him.
We live in a world saturated with intense drama and even unrealistic ideals of what it means to be in a relationship. As a repercussion of the onslaught of romantic comedies of years ago, love and relationships became something of an event, fabricated on some sort of story hook to draw you in. Two people would meet, fall madly in love, have some sort of obstacle in the way (my favourite is secret spouse obstacle), overcome the obstacle, and the rest is history. These relationships become defined by their events.
Of course these hooks are what draws you into the story. “He’s a successful businessman millionaire and she’s an average girl. What happens when this hottie finds this hottie disguised as a non-hottie absolutely irresistible.” There always has to be something extraordinary.
Rice reminds us that love isn’t always as glamorous and extraordinary as we may think it is. These large events are important of course, but we cannot forget about the small mundane moments that also define the relationship. Those little moments that whispers love. A personal favourite of mine is this comic:
This is a great example of a moment that tells me a lot about their relationship. They are both very independent in their work and do different things with their time. They both understand that, so quality time together can turn into just doing their own respective tasks in the same room. There is an elimination of having to do something together all of the time.
This comic speaks towards their comfort level with each other too. I believe there is a level of comfort required to feel like you don’t have to talk all the time or that you always have to be doing the same task. I am a firm believer that if you can sit in silence with another person and find comfort in silence, that speaks multitudes towards a person’s relationship with another. I think this is one of the many reasons why people who live alone usually have a pet. The pet is content with just sitting with their owner in complete silence.
Soppy has very minimal dialogue, and when there is, it is usually one to two lines per person in a conversational manner. No fancy professions of love, no poetry spewing out from their mouths. A chunk of the comic is the set up of where they are with what they are doing and ends with some sort of punchline. My boyfriend’s personal favourite is this one, while they are watching The Hobbit in theatres:
With what little dialogue there is, Rice is able to show both her and her partner’s personalities so well. You can see their sense of humour shine on the pages just by panels like that. You can see the chemistry in their relationship radiate from the smaller moments that they have decided to share with us.
This book is full of some of the most sappy (for record, the term “soppy” is the British term for “sappy”) gestures of love I have ever witnessed, on page, on screen, and in real life. More romantic than Noah standing in the pouring rain, telling Allie that he wrote her every single day for a year. It reminds us that romantic, or even platonic/familial relationships are not fully defined by their grand gestures and monumental events. Those usually come far in between. Remember the small moments and the feelings you gained in those moments. One moment is much smaller than an event, but the amount of moments can overwhelmed the one event. They can reveal a lot about yourself, your relationships, and most of all, reveal all of the little ways we say “I love you”.