In Image's Death Of Love, A Self-Proclaimed 'Nice Guy' Wages War On Romance

"I'm a nice guy" is right up there with "Infinite Jest is my favourite book" and "You like Huey Lewis and the News?" on the list of things a man can say that should immediately raise red flags. Philo Harris, the hero of Image's upcoming comic Death of Love, really wants you to know that he's a nice guy.

Image: Image Comics

Written by Justin Jordan with illustrations from artist Donal DeLay and colorist Omar Estévez, Death of Love's premise reads like a cautionary tale. It's about a dude who just doesn't get that love connections usually begin when two people treat each other like, you know, people.

Like many self-proclaimed Nice Guys™, Philo has difficulty connecting to women even though he does all of the things that Nice Guys™ are supposed to do. He'll listen to women speak about their emotions, watch their pets, and even buy them gifts, but even still - he gets nowhere.

When Philo realises that his patented Nice Guy™ techniques aren't working, he begins taking special pills meant to help him find love, but the drug has the unintended side effect of giving him the ability to see the "cupidae", Cupid-like creatures invisible to most that cause people to fall in love. Naturally, Philo decides to use his newfound abilities to do what anyone who's never had all that much luck with romance would do: Kill cupidae.

One can only imagine what sort of chaos Philo will end up wreaking on the world with his crusade against love. Perhaps he'll learn a lesson, though if we're being honest here, Nice Guys™ seldom do. We'll find out when Death of Love drops next February, just in time for Valentine's Day.


    Perhaps he'll learn a lesson, though if we're being honest here, Nice Guys™ seldom do

    As an ex-"Nice Guy(TM)", I take issue with this. A "Nice Guy" is not an intently evil manipulator, simply a dude that is clueless about interpersonal relationships and who tries to apply what little pointers can be found in the cultural and societal collective conscious he can find. "Women like to be treated well", "women like sensitive men", or other well-intending, positive-sounding platitudes are readily available. Moreover, an entirely reasonable and logical understanding of cause and effect trick these men into believing that they only need to follow those easy rules to find love.

    Obviously we all now know that such thinking is deeply flawed as it ignores things such as human nature, agency and the actual elements of attraction, but before knowing any better, that's all they have, and it's not necessarily their fault! External factors such as lack of positive male roles (which was my own case), misinformation spread by friends, media or the Internet, or simply eagerness for validation all can cause such cluelessness, and really, you tell me, what is out there to point them to the error of their ways? Such knowledge can only come from personal experience and growing up.

    So if you come across a "Nice Guy", do not laugh at him. Do not dismiss him as evil or incorrigible nor be hostile to him. Try first talking to him, letting him know why his attitude towards relationships is flawed. Some may not listen, already angry and frustrated by their failure which allowed them to be recruited by misogynistic philosophies (though hostility, mockery or dismissal will definitely make them more entrenched in their hatred). But some may listen and change, even if only eventually. Such was my case. Someone talked to me like a human and I understood and it helped me change.

    If you are at a loss of what to tell people like these, here's one sentence that was said to me and that stayed with me forever: Women don't want a Nice Guy. They want a genuinely Good Man.

      That was a bit more of a profundity than I expected to see on a Kotaku Sunday comic book review.

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