Comfort Food Comics Potluck: Snotgirl by Bruno Aquino

Snotgirl Green Hair Don’t Care
by: Bruno Aquino (@Beelzebru)

Written By: Bryan Lee O’malley
Art By: Leslie Hung
Colors: Mickey Quinn Letters by: Maré Odomo
Published by : Image Comics

Read the first chapter absolutely free:

As human beings and specifically as infants, we rarely make the conscious choice of what concrete things our minds fixate on. Let’s go back to little kid me growing up in Mexico City, it wasn’t sports like my brothers or most of my peers, for me it was picture books that I fixated on. Just a picture could tell me a whole story and fascinate me. In time there were other things I enjoyed, but as I kept learning about myself I always cycled back to pictures and word balloons that I couldn’t yet understand. From panel to panel, a magnificent amount of color and story was waiting to be absorbed. Comic books and I had great times together but we ended up going our separate ways for a short period of time since where I’m from, comics were not as massively distributed and I only got them as presents from relatives visiting from the states, so I struggled to find a place I could actively buy them in my country. I kept in touch with the characters always by reading on blogs and wikis, watching cartoons and playing video games. Don’t get me wrong comics were available on the newspaper stands and pharmacy comic racks around my area and I still bought a few, but the downside was when dealing with distribution, we tend to only get the top authors, top sellers and miss out on meaningful arcs and stories where our favorites get to shine( Note: As of Today Snotgirl has been published in many different countries including Mexico). Comics for me were an opportunity as a non native English speaker who always preferred to read them in their original language, to use them as sort of teachers. I was always learning from them, whether it be life lessons, art styles, or the language itself, helping me break out of my own shell and the outside world barrier little by little.

Fast forward to 2015, I am roughly 18 years old now and I’ve done my research and found a local comic shop where I am a regular, I’ve found what I Love and I’m never letting it go. I’m mostly buying back issues as I have lots of catching up to do, and only a few current titles to see what the mainstream comics were up to these days as I was pretty unsynchronized with the industry and how it worked. But then suddenly I see: “Scott Pilgrim creator announces new series: Snotgirl”… and I think to myself “Hey you enjoyed that comic, you even saw the movie a couple of times, this is nice. I’ll keep an eye on that!” Only seeing the promo image made my mind go wild! “This is NOT O’Malley’s art” I think. And I start researching and reading interviews “dazzling newcomer LESLIE HUNG!” says the solicitation and the deal is done, my mind has become fixated on this comic.

Snotgirl is officially the first monthly comic book I subscribed to and waited for, anxiously counting the days, staring at the promo poster my LCS had set up (which I unsuccessfully tried to buy). Me, a mostly shy teen, I don’t have many friends to talk about this with, even though there were a lot of people like me, I had yet to find them.

So, what even is Snotgirl? 

Is it a slice of life? Is it comparable to the other O’ Malley work?

Well. it sort of is, and isn’t. O’Malley’s characteristic art is only present here through variant covers but his humorous writing is fully present. Snotgirl introduces us to a world of fashion, drama, allergies and although dark and pulpy at times, a colorful world filled with beautiful and fleshed out characters. But what really makes all this land and truly shine is the duo of the series artist Leslie Hung and Colorist Mickey Quinn, for Snotgirl above anything else, is a comic book, and Hung’s character designs speak for themselves.

Taking a look at the way Hung draws silhouettes, expressive faces, and body gestures, specifically the way she draws hands, conveys a devilish elegance; it’s truly a delight in and of itself. Then enters the fashion aspect of it all starting with the covers, stylized as haute couture magazine covers, to all the outfits the characters wear which always tells us a story, and gives us small and large tidbits of who they are, something most mainstream comics rarely even touch on. While Superhero costumes help us get to know them and their powers why do we never really see them wearing something that really matches the personality when outside of heroics? It’s mostly outdated outfits or simple tees that most of the time are a hit or miss.

If you’re one who finds the devil in the details I’d like to pass on a little advice; while finding the TPB´s might be easier and slightly cheaper, if you’re a floppy collector or just don’t mind the format you read the story in, every single issue is full of extras that are not printed in the collected editions. From the brilliance of the recap pages to double the amount of sketches at the end from both creators to the back covers of the issues, which are usually a highlighted panel from the issue in high contrast to a real life photograph.

It’s refreshing to open up this comic book and find the looks you’d see outside today in magazines, on fashion models, on that mannequin at the store you just can’t stop staring at or on your friend Becky who is a little extra all the time and you love her but goddamn can she just NOT for the next 5 seconds?

Not your headspace at all? Well it is for our Protagonist, Lottie Person. A beautiful Fashion model, age 25, who seems to have her life all figured out. She is gorgeous, famous and everybody wants a piece of her. It seems perfect, except for the fact that her horrible allergies rule her life, her REAL life. While she uses social media like most of us, it”s only a collage of her finest hours, perfect moments in time now and forever immortalized on the internet. Her Real life is one of disgusting mucus break outs, panic attacks and food intolerance. (which I can heavily relate to). Her friends adore her, sure, but mostly because they sort of aspire to be like her. She sort of likes them too, but they don’t truly know HER. She shies away and hides her dark secret while also being a terrible friend herself, encasing just about every person she meets with a big defining characteristic of theirs with a playful nickname: Cutegirl, Normgirl, Hotgirl, Thrashboy, Coolgirl, etc.

Let me put this to you straight, the characters are not Role Models. They’re not supposed to be. It’s a      slice of life full of the tabloids and drama we all stay away from in our life but LOVE to read about and consume from TV and other media. Snotgirl’s story unravels with her making her way to success, getting through an emotional breakup, new allergy pills and meeting a possible new friend she actually wants to be around, Coolgirl, who might end up dead in just the first issue. We follow Lottie through the mundane day to day life of a fashion blogger in L.A  accompanied by beautiful panels, inspired by manga and pastel colors that fill this made up reality with oozing personality and drippy body fluids. It’s disgustingly gorgeous. Masterfully reflected via the color palette changes from pastels to darker tones and the art going from stylized lines to a more messy chaos that while bloody and “grotesque” is still impossible to look away from be it a perfect instagram photo #ootd to a murder mystery filled with blood.

Even if at first glance characters may seem mean, purely egocentric and strictly vanity driven, there’s much more relatable layers to them making Snotgirl vol 1. a fun, empathic journey. It’s a real page turner through its initial colorful first 5 issues to know just what Lottie and friends have gotten themselves up to this time  A murder? Attending a party with the same dress as another guest? #FML The New Years? Or maybe even a sexual awakening. As a 24 year old bisexual guy reading a book full of fictional gorgeous men and women, Snotgirl has a ton to offer in just about every aspect it entails. It hits the sweet spots that fill me with joy and is so very near to my heart and I’d like to thank the creators for that. This comic they’ve put their heart and soul into to create has helped me connect with other people through our shared love for comics but most importantly with myself. In the end Snotgirl: Green Hair, Don’t Care is a story about ourselves, friendship, social media, and a LGBTQ+ friendly atmosphere filled with romance not unlike many of our lives. I encourage you to go give it a read and then come back for more!  Vol 2 and 3 elevate the series to a whole new level and I can’t wait to tell you all about them if you enjoyed this. 

Thank you so much for reading. As a little treat here’s a picture of my ever growing collection of Snotgirl which as I type this I just realized maybe Lottie wouldn’t like me… haha whatever. #StanLottiePerson.

¨Allergy Pill Goes down… I have the power! I hold all the cards! There’s only one me, and it’s me.¨  -Snotgirl Issue # 3

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