Snotgirl Vol.1 - Green Hair Don't Care
Bryan Lee O'Malley, writer; Leslie Hung, artist
Image Comics, 2017
Snotgirl is Lottie Person, a glamorous fashion blogger--except for the extreme allergies she keeps secret (which explains the snot). So it's not nearly as gross as it sounds; in fact the allergies humanize a character who is otherwise all about surface impressions. On the surface, she's gorgeous and successful. Behind that mask, she is lonely and full of insecurities. Looking at her friends, she has good reason for the insecurity. They're mostly fellow fashion bloggers, so they are also all about presenting a beautiful front at all costs. And they tend to turn on one another in a heartbeat if it will gain them social media points.
Those allergies play a key role in a major plot point. Lottie starts taking an experimental allergy medication, and while there's no discussion about the possible side effects, the bottle contains the ominous warning "Do not operate heavy machinery or make important life decisions." As things develop, it starts to become increasingly difficult for her to believe her own memories of events. She makes a new friend, who may or may not have died during a night out together--and when she reappears, is she even real? Or was she ever?
Lottie has become the quintessential unreliable narrator: there's simply no way for her (or us) to trust the evidence of her senses. By the end of these first five issues in the series that has become the main story driver. It will be my main reason for following the series going forward, because the characters tend to be pretty unlikable. I can readily stipulate that I'm probably not the target demographic, since it seems strongly focused on contemporary young adults. Not being one of those (or a professional blogger, if that's even a thing), I frequently found it hard to relate to the characters. There have already been moments of humanity for some of them, so I have hope that they will become richer as the series progresses..
Almost forgot to talk about the art. Hung seems like a perfect match for this story. Her art is like a manga-influenced version of an Archie comic. A bit more representational than O'Malley's cartooning on previous comics like the Scott Pilgrim series, but along the same lines.
I remember reading the first issue and deciding not to pursue the series. The art was fine -- I agree to all your points about it -- but evidently I have a lower tolerance for superficial characters. I find it hard to enjoy a series when I'm rooting for everyone in it to fail.
That being said, I'm always interested when someone enjoys something I don't, to see what it is I'm missing. Doesn't sound like I missed anything here, but I'll be curious to hear your comments if you continue.