In life, one needs the help of friends. Major Klaus Heinz Von Dem Eberbach AKA “Iron Klaus” has a slew of agents at his disposal, all named after letters of the alphabet to make his life easier. Earl Dorian Red Gloria AKA “Eroica” has James, his very stingy accountant, who also happens to be madly in love with him. These are the main players in From Eroica With Love, a classic shonen ai comic originally written in the late 1970s. In my review of From Eroica With Love, vol. 1 I was amused to finally be reading a comic I’ve heard about so often over the years, but a little unsure where the story was taking me. Volume 2 is where I finally started to understand the sheer addictiveness of this incredibly strange and wacky comic.
In volume 2 all the ridiculous hijinks continue. This time we’ve got jade statues, Russian spies, and international criminal and government conferences being held next door to each other. Klaus and Eroica inevitably meet, Klaus is as annoyed by Eroica as always, and Eroica hits on him as much as ever. Somehow, in the midst of all this, we also manage to have a plot dealing with shipping deals, terrorist plots, and secret microfilms. That’s where needing the help of friends (and enemies) really comes into play.
From Eroica With Love is light, amusing, fast paced fluff. There still isn’t a whiff of actual sexual content for readers to worry about, but there is a constant presence of homosexuality which some readers may not be comfortable reading about.
Actually, that theme probably bears a bit more discussion. Many of the characters within the story are gay and in every case either extremely flamboyant, effeminate, or both. These depictions probably had a much more painful bite to them when this was first published in 1976, but within the context of 2006 the over-the-top characters in their wild 70’s clothes don’t offend so much as serve to make the story all the more absurd and humorous. These are stereotypes that are so big, so ridiculous, and so removed from today’s reality, that most modern readers wouldn’t be able to give them legitimacy. It also helps that the expressions of homophobia within the comic are all made by characters that are just as over the top and during moments that are just as ridiculous, thus assuring that the no one in the comic has the credibility to really argue or prove something to the reader with these stereotypes. All of this is my very long-winded way of saying that ultimately From Eroica With Love seems to me to be fun and harmless, not offensive or cruel. This is a charged issue though and your mileage, as well as the opinions you hold going into this, may vary.