If anyone ever asks you if a graphic novel is a “real” novel, hand this over to them and watch their eyes goggle. Alex Robinson’s 600 plus page whopper doesn’t just prove comics can sustain length — it’s a sly, funny, melancholy mix of romance and relationships. The grand message here, if you’re looking for one, is simple: no one can really help who they love, and it’s not wise to try — you’re stuck with who you love, and even if no one else gets it, it’s worth fighting for. Intertwined with all the romantic pairings and betrayals is a compelling tale of a famous comic creator who still gets no royalties off his work due to a naive faith in the industry, and in the background, everyday life and work moves along with all its quirks and small surprises, both good and bad. I was particularly drawn in by the snide take on working in a bookstore — not unlike working in a library, my friends — but the heart alongside the snide comments makes the whole tale affecting as well as funny.