By Dustin Cabeal
I’m torn. I’m all out of faith. This is how I feel… wait, no let’s just back up Natalie Imbruglia (90s darling) to “I’m torn” as in torn about how I feel on this issue. Because I have to wonder if this was any other series, if this was any other writer… would I have enjoyed it as much? And is that necessarily a bad thing? We all have our reader preferences, our blind spots, our irrational likes and dislikes so it’s really hard for me to say whether or not this is good because I liked it or if it’s good in spite of me liking it. And again, is there really a difference. The plot thickens the fuck up in this issue. The gist is that Lottie goes to an engagement party in the O.C. (which is as great as that fucking TV show makes it seem) and not one, but three things out of the ordinary happen. Perhaps the strangest is the return of Cool Girl… at the party… randomly. What Lottie doesn’t piece together is the fact that she knew about Cool Girl before her friends so how did Cool Girl get a rsvp to the party?
Before I go into my theory, because why the hell not, I don’t know of any other reviewers that are as hooked on this book as me; here’s my thoughts on the writing and art. Bryan Lee O’Malley is great. He’s breaking from all the formula writing that’s plaguing comics right now, and I love it. When I read New Super-Man, I commented on how it was just an average third issue, and it was. Snotgirl #3 is the farthest thing from a typical third issue. The story progress, we learn a bit more about Lottie and her former intern stocker.
All of the characters are developed as O’Malley continues his tone of storytelling. This weird hybrid of Perfect Blue meets fashion blogging with O’Malley’s humor sprinkled in at all the right moments. When Cute Girl said, “Whoa, that wasn’t me that was my twin” referring to Lottie, I inhaled through my nose rather loudly. I don’t know exactly what O’Malley is doing, and he’s not giving up the ghost just yet, and that’s fine because the rest of the story is interesting. The mystery can keep marching on because I no longer subscribe to the Lost style of reveals in which you have to “give them a piece of the mystery each week.” No, I’d rather enjoy it. I’d rather be led by my nose because I’m tired of quick reveals with shitty outcomes.
Also, I just want more of Leslie Hung’s art. Lottie is great; I love her style and her look and the snot that is constantly creeping out, always slightly being kept at bay. I love Cute Girl as well. She’s so completely manga but in the best way. And the dudes. Damn, it’s nice to see a dude with a modern haircut, but not every dude with the same modern haircut. Hair in comics is my biggest pet peeve, and so I’m just happy to see different hairstyles in general. My only gripe with the art is the censored penis. This is Image, un-censor that shit. Not that I’m all, “Show me the dong!” but if I wanted blurred penis all up in the center of the page I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of that coming from Japan just sitting a few click from the keyboard away from. That and it might help other Image artists do a better job of illustrating penises. I was going to cough and say “Rob Liefeld,” but I’d rather just say it this way.
Now for my theory. If you don’t want to hear it then you’re done, walk away from this review it’s getting a perfect score from me. I think that the intern is Cool-Girl or assumed the persona of Cool-Girl in a weird way to get close to Lottie. Why? Perfect Blue. But instead of trying to control Lottie’s career she’s trying to become her. Or fuck, I don’t know; Cool-Girl is in Lottie’s head, and her meds are making her go crazy. I just hope here, and the cop go on a date and really connect, they seem like they’d make a terrible couple, but that’s okay. More than likely I’m wrong. I don’t have enough info, but I like throwing these out there sometimes so I don’t dwell on them and hype it up more than it needs to be. We’ll see if I get anything right and if you have a theory or something I missed, even though I’ve combed through all three issues, then let me know.
Snotgirl gets perfect marks from me because it doesn’t feel like it’s being written for the trade or the story arc. It feels like the first honest to god ongoing story that I’ve read since the 90s. It feels like the comics so many of us grew up reading, before the TV formula and the books sales dictated how a comic was created. Back when you had to guess when a story would end rather than look at the issue number. And yet, it feels like one of the most modern comics to happen to the industry in years. I went from reading a lot of Image titles to pretty much just this, and I’m so grateful for this.
Writer: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Artist: Leslie Hung
Publisher: Image Comics