By Daniel Vlasaty
I didn’t know Jim Mahfood before I read this book. I’ve never read any of his stuff before. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t reading comic books in the 90s and early 2000s – didn’t really start getting seriously into them until 2010-ish. I know it’s crazy and weird and whatever. But I spent literally all the money I made in my late teens and early twenties on tattoos and drugs. Comic books came later for me and because of it I guess I missed most of Mahfood’s books. Like Grrl Scouts and Tank Girl and Clerks, I don’t know. But I’m here now and that’s all that matters, right? Right. Right! Anyway, Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks is a new book that Jim Mahfood wrote and drew. And I read it, and this is my review of it.
The What You Need to Know… at the beginning of this issue is a quick little recap for anyone not familiar with the Grrl Scouts. It tells us who the Grrl Scouts are, that they sell weed disguised in cookie boxes, that they fuck people up for money, and also that they haven’t seen each other in about a year. It also tells us, the readers, to blaze one before we enjoy the book. So that’s the kind of book Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks is going to be. If I still smoked and got high I would have taken Mahfood’s advice. But I don’t. Still I carried on, hoping someone as sober as me could still enjoy a book that basically tells you that you’ll enjoy it so much more if you’re high.
Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks starts already dialed up to 100. We are immediately introduced to Josie Sanchez as she is being released from the hospital, told that she’ll need to continue to take her meds for her health and the uh…safety of her family. Her and her mother leave the hospital and are met in the parking lot by some people who are very clearly up to no good. And then we see that Josie is with them and then she uses a cell phone to kill her mother, by projecting a giant gun out of the screen that shoots real bullets. It is then that we find out Josie’s real mission: to kill the Grrl Scouts.
We are then thrust into a world of seedy bars and sex clubs (?) and tons of drugs and so much violence. This is only the first issue of Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks so much of it is getting us acquainted (or reacquainted) with the Grrl Scouts. In all their badass, drug-dealing, drug-taking, ass-kicking awesomeness. We also find out why the Grrl Scouts split up in the past and maybe even why Josie is out to kill the Grrls.
Jim Mahfood’s writing is frenetic. That’s the best way I can think to describe it. Everything happens fast and hard and there is barely a chance to catch your breath throughout the entire issue. The whole thing is a perfect combination of over-the-top and ridiculous. The characters are cool and hip and they all speak in a slang that only gets kind of annoying after a while (which may be my one real complaint about Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks). There is danger and action and intrigue on every single page. And while it gets ridiculous to the point of a drugged-up girl vomiting up an avalanche of pills and bongs and razor blades and a fork and a mirror with lines of coke still perfectly laid out on it, none of it seems like too much of a stretch of the imagination. At least not in the world the Grrl Scouts inhabit. This is a story and these are characters that I think would be perfectly at home as a TV show on Adult Swim. And it’s also one that I would for sure watch the hell out of.
Jim Mahfood also does the art, obviously. And I can understand outright that some people might hate it. It’s not the most easily accessible art. Everything about the art is exaggerated. The bootys and the excessive drug use and the fight scenes. Everything is bright and stands out and pops. It’s a good kind of sloppy, down to the point where even the individual panel lines aren’t perfectly straight. I love this kind of art because it looks simple mainly because there isn’t much consistency in body shapes and scale. But I have a feeling drawing like this is anything but simple. I think of it as more of a controlled chaos. That’s actually a good way to describe Grrl Scouts as a whole: controlled chaos. The background work is usually just solid colors or patterns and it reminds me of certain cartoons I used to watch as a kid where the only movement comes from the characters, and the backgrounds are unnaturally still.
Again, I have a feeling you’re either going to love the art or you’re going to fucking hate it. Most likely, you’ll be aware of what you’re getting yourself into before you dig into this book. I didn’t, aside from a quick scan of the preview pages that were released some months ago.
I love when I find a book that comes out of nowhere, a book that I have no concept of before I start reading. I feel like I’ve been getting more and more of them recently, especially from Image. They are consistently putting out the kind of books I gravitate toward, and Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks is definitely another one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will now seek out more of Mahfood’s work.
Grrl Scouts Magic Socks #1