When I was a young girl, I secretly fell in love with a robot. Her name was simply “The Machine,” and she was the buxom basis for a pinball game called “Bride of Pin-Bot.” In between bouts of eating wings and watching football with my dad at our neighborhood family-friendly sports bar, I’d slink off with as many quarters as I could muster to play Bride of Pin-Bot. The goal of the game was to use pinballs to activate The Machine’s functions – first her voice, then her eyesight – until her face metamorphosed into a fully human one. I experienced a thrill every time The Machine’s sexy robot voice cheered me on, as well as a frisson of fear that someone would catch on to the fact that I had a very gay crush on a fictional robot lady.
Fortunately for everyone involved, the sexy robot technology of Love Circuits’ “Nuevo Miami” is far more advanced than that of the late 20th-century suburban Miami where I first learned what it is to love a sultry, shiny robot babe. In this fresh new webcomic from writer Taneka Stotts and artist Genué Revuelta, our love-and-lust-able robot friend is not a nameless machine, but a refurbished, *ahem* “fully equipped” Heartbreaker named Lucos. He was given as a surprise birthday gift to the comic’s other protagonist, Yvonne King, an escultor (sculptor) who appears to make her living from repairing and creating robot hardware. Yvonne isn’t quite sure what to do with Lucos, a situation further complicated by Lucos’s occasional malfunctions and hints at a hidden (or purposefully erased?) history from the time before he came into Yvonne’s life.
Love Circuits is still a relatively new project, launched in February of 2017, so that’s about as much of the story we know, for now. However, Revuelta and Stotts have been doing a wonderful job of enticing the reader with fun surprises on every page update. Revuelta’s art is slick but inviting, rendering both the organic and metallic bodies of her characters with equal spirit and vivacity. I love the way Yvonne’s thick two-toned hair bounces and the grace with which she carries her rounded, technologically augmented body (even when hungover), just as much as I’m charmed by Lucos’s dancer-like articulated poses, which serve to underscore his bubbly personality as much as his sleek robot-ness. I may be a bit biased toward bright colors, but Revuelta’s coloring feels beautifully balanced. The warm tones of Yvonne’s and her friends’ brown bodies and tasteful contemporary fashions contrast very appealingly with the coolness of Lucos’s purplish build. Meanwhile, the fun splashes of pink and blue lending a neon glow to many a page remind us that we are somewhere in a perhaps not-too-distant future.
Story and dialogue-wise, Stotts’s pacing and comedic timing are impeccable. In one of my favorite pages so far, Yvonne and Lucos are moving around Yvonne’s apartment talking, and in each full-body shot of Lucos, a different person or thing blocks his most sensitive equipment. Many pages are stuffed with delightful little details and sight gags to chuckle or puzzle over: I knew this webcomic was going to be one of my favorites when I noticed that some of the trash leftover from Yvonne’s birthday party included a burst piñata that had scattered dildos, anal beads, and butt plugs all over the living room floor. The dialogue is tight but naturalistic, never giving us too much exposition or information, but still dropping enough hints at mysteries yet to be revealed to keep the reader moving eagerly from page to page. What goes unsaid by the characters is just as compelling as what they say aloud.
Having been born and raised in Miami, the setting of this comic lights up that hometown pride pathway in my brain, delivering a rare and special joy that comes from seeing an underrepresented personal experience reflected back at you. I have a deep appreciation for the way that Spanish is seamlessly integrated into not just the characters’ dialogue, but the background as well, from tech alerts to news reports. And especially considering that the real-life Miami is under serious threat from climate change in the coming years, it’s refreshing to imagine a future in which the city where I spent my formative years continues to adapt and thrive and burst at the seams with life as it long has – although, it’s worth noting that Nuevo Miami may not exist on the same land as present day Miami (or perhaps Miami Viejo, as the characters in Love Circuits might say). Either way, Stotts and Revuelta have built a world that feels comfortingly familiar, while still promising curious novelties, and my queer-robot-loving Inner Gayby can’t wait to learn more about it.
I have no doubt that Love Circuits is going to keep delivering fun, fantasy, and drama, and is well worth your attention and your dollars. You can support Stotts and Revuelta by becoming a patron – which also gives you access to the duo’s Patreon-exclusive hunk-tastic comic, Glass Castles – or by buying some of their shop merch. Love Circuits updates every Friday, so add it into your regular webcomic reading schedule and get on board while the story is still revving up!