Followers of Armstrong's six-year-old strip will enjoy reading about working-class Joe and Marcy's meeting, their teen courtship and their trip to wedded and parental bliss.
Along with the 250 pages of black-and-white cartoons, author Armstrong includes at the beginning of ``JumpStart'' anecdotes on the birth and evolution of his strip and his thoughts on love, marriage and ``Adultaphobia,'' (fear of growing up).
You probably have to be a fan of the strip or really love cartoons to want to give or receive this book.
For three other African-American love stories, minus the pictures, readers can turn to the latest short-story collection from Arabesque books. Past Arabesque faves Carla Fredd, Brenda Jackson and Felicia Mason make ``A Valentine Kiss'' a pleasing, although sugary, read.
In ``Matchmaker,'' Fredd brings together a Southern city girl and a country sheriff to see if they can overcome background differences to find true love.
Jackson's ``Cupid's Bow'' reunites childhood chums Kimara and Kyle after Kyle's rich grandfather passes away. The old man's posthumous meddling to bring them together competes with half-hearted objections from both love objects.
Finally Mason offers the most fantasy-laden tale in ``Made in Heaven.'' If you can get past Prince Charming Eric Fitzgerald telling the lonely beauty a mere hour after he meets her that she's the one he's been waiting for all his life, then you'll enjoy Mason's very '90s writing style.