Other thoughts: Snotgirl, by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

OK, yes. It’s a weird title. Got past that? Good. Because Snotgirl is one of the best ongoing series out there right now.

The protagonist, Lottie, is a fashion blogger with severe allergies – hence the title. When the series starts, Lottie is stuck in a bit of a rut, tired of her friends Megan (a normcore fashionista, who Lottie calls Normgirl as a result) and Misty (very kawaii, hence “Cutegirl”) and their weekly “Hater’s Brunch”. This all changes when she meets Caroline – “Coolgirl” – a woman of effortless style and ruthless humour who Lottie comes to revere (and possibly fancy).

Lottie quickly spirals into confusion, as her life is usurped by a stalker who seems to be trying to take her place and on a cocktail of powerful anti-allergy pills she accidentally causes a bloody accident in a nightclub, all with “fashion police officer” (actually, just a regular police officer who wears nice suits) John Cho (not him) on her trail.

For a book about self-obsessed bloggers, the book isn’t fluffy but nor is it cruel. As much as Lottie may despair at her friends vapid behaviour (and as much as she indulges in it herself), the narrative still steers you to sympathise with these characters – which is essential as the pressure builds and everything closes in on Lottie.

Some great art from Snotgirl issue 7 (click to enlarge).

If Snotgirl reminds me of anything, it’s Hitchcock on Instagram. With her flowing green locks and always-pursed blood red lips, Lottie could be a noir femme fatale – albeit one who wears jeans as often as dresses. Hung does a good job of dealing with a large cast in constantly-changing, always-elaborate outfits (as much as I love O’Malley’s art, I can see why he might hand over drawing duties to another artist on a project like this!). The colours, provided by Mickey Quinn, mimic the faded pastel quality of social media filters, with occasional punches of neon colour (especially, of course, snot green) – and speaking of colours, letterer Maré Odomo does some very interesting things with the shades of speech balloon and narration boxes on the page, making them almost look like instant messenger chat bubbles.

Anyway, it’s a fun book, and if you like noir with a modern twist, you’ll enjoy Snotgirl.

Yes, that’s still its name.

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