There’s two things I will admit to you, dear reader, as we start this review. The first is that like hundreds of thousands of people, I am a big fan of Bryan Lee O’Malley. It’s probably a little harder to find people that aren’t a fan of his that read comics than it is to find people who are. The second thing I will admit to… is that I’m scared every time he does something new. Legit scared.
As excited as I was for Seconds, I lived in a constant state of fear that it would be terrible. I didn’t let it out publically, but damn it was there. Festering and brewing. I’m scared because he’s pretty much it for me in terms of creators that haven’t let me down. I still stick to the mantra of “kill your idols” because it always happens eventually. And so I was scared that Snotgirl would be that one. That it would let me down because statistically… O’Malley is due.
Swerved you motherfuckers! You thought I was going to be like, “Snotgirl, more like won’t read issue two girl!” (Work with me. It’s hard to make serious puns about snot) Nope. Instead I read probably the best comic yet to be released from Image Comics. I know there’s other amazing books out there, but for me some titles just become ones you buy and their good credit from the early days keeps them going. That’s okay. Everyone needs a few books that they just sit down and comfortably read and no series can sustain the “ewws” and “ahhs” each month, year after year.
Snotgirl is a character piece. It has a different narrative than O’Malley’s previous work and even though I’m sure people are going to hate me for saying this, but I’m glad he’s not illustrating it. His style doesn’t match the tone of his own writing and so we’re introduced to Leslie Hung. I say introduced because this was my first exposure to her artwork and it’s incredible looking. Part manga, part glam, part strange and all of it really, really good. I never once wanted to throw up at the sight of snot.
Lottie Person is the star of the book. She’s a fashion blogger who always has her best face forward. On the outside, she’s always 100% put together and beautiful. On the inside, as we learn from her narration, she’s a mess like the rest of us. Her allergies make her running nose look like a fountain of snot has just been turned on and it’s something she doesn’t let anyone see. ANYONE.
The issue itself walks through Lottie’s life. Her blogging, her friends, the nicknames she gives everyone and it’s all interesting. Then she makes a new friend… and things get interesting. Is this friendship for real or is Coolgirl just looking to defraud Lottie?
O’Malley’s writing is really sharp. He’s grown as a writer and it’s clear that he changed his style of writing since he wasn’t writing for himself. There’s still his trademark style to the characters and presentation. There’s some great lettering that honestly feels like something you’d see in Scott Pilgrim, but it was completely in place with this story as well. Lottie, as a character, has a lot of depth to her already, but we’re still just getting to know her and see what makes her tick. The second issue will definitely peel back more layers and I’m excited to read that next issue.
Hung’s artwork is gorgeous, but her storytelling is extremely strong. Due to the nature of the story, there’s a lot of social media and phone usage in the comic. Let me tell you right now it’s the first time that I haven’t found that shit to be annoying and out of place. O’Malley and Hung have cracked the code and it works. It works with the art and doesn’t overpower it.
The character design is great. There’s not just beautiful people in the comic, there’s a range, but my favorite was Cutegirl. Dear lord was the art just extremely cute. It reminded me a little of Adam Warren’s style. There’s still a lot of visual pieces that have O’Malley’s touch to them which I really liked. He didn’t feel separate from the art, but instead a part of it with Hung in the lead. Also, her coloring is wonderful. It’s different from a lot of books, but it wasn’t off-putting. It really makes the art stand out as original and different.
I don’t think the book needs two covers because they really could have saved it for when this sells out and needs another print because no shop is going to know how to order for it. Those shops that have relied on Scott Pilgrim sales in the past are likely to take a big chance on it, but the ones ran by guys with ponytails and a stick up their ass will likely think that no one is going to buy a book called “Snotgirl,” but they’d be wrong. Do your part and pre-order it so that a lot of their guess work is eliminated.
The reason I told you that I was afraid of this book was so that when you read my glowing review, you’d have some context to where I was emotionally and mentally when I started to read it. I was prepared to be let down. I was prepared to be destroyed and yet I came out extremely excited about this series. I came out wanting more Snotgirl and that would have been weird to say, but I have a feeling the nickname thing is going to catch on like wildfire with readers. Bottom line, if I need one, is that Snotgirl is not to be missed because there’s like snot everywhere, it’s hard to miss, but read it too.
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