Words – Bryan Lee O’Malley (@radiomaru)
Drawings – Leslie Hung (@lesliehung)
Colors – Mickey Quinn (@mickequ)
Letters – Maré Odomo (@mareodomo)
Review by Joey Braccino
“My name is Lottie Person, and I’m a fashion blogger… My life is pretty much perfect.”
Lottie Person is a fashion blogger and her life is pretty much perfect. She’s got (redacted) number of unique monthly viewers, she plans hatebrunchs with her friends Normgirl and Cutegirl (nicknames, obvi), and she’s totally “effortlessly chic” as her introductory caption box attests. Of course, who Lottie is on the blog and in her Insta/Snaps and in the group chats is only one version of Lottie—the titular Snotgirl is also Lottie, whose is plagued by horrendous allergies and crippling quarter-life crisis and self-doubt. Snotgirl #1 from Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung starts as an exploration of Lottie’s “social vs. social media” life, but ends up in a shocking and unexpected place.
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s acclaimed work on books like Scott Pilgrim and Seconds will probably bring readers to Snotgirl, but he has stated in many interviews how this project is very much a collaboration between himself and artist Leslie Hung. While there are certainly elements of O’Malley’s signature wit and wry pop cultural musings here, Snotgirl definitely feels like something fresh and new from the creator. Much of the action in Snotgirl revolves around Lottie’s chance meeting with Caroline (who she dubs “Coolgirl”) and Lottie’s desperate attempts to act cool and court her friendship. The characterization of Lottie as their relationship grows is delightfully nuanced in this first issue, as we get a nice mix of the seemingly superficial blogger as well as the seriously socially anxious young woman throughout issue #1. The manga influence is apparent as well, as some of the hard cuts in the sequencing and narration read like something out of that genre. And, of course, the aforementioned twist ending is brutally and staggeringly shocking. Kudos.
But while O’Malley’s name will draw eyes to the work, I think the big takeaway from this first issue will be Leslie Hung’s absolutely brilliant artwork and layouts. Reminiscent of Joëlle Jones’ breakout dynamic aesthetic in last year’s Ladykiller, Hung’s stunning visuals in Snotgirl are truly spectacular and worth the price of admission on their own. The figurework, the page layouts, and even the infusion of the social media screens and text messages throughout all come together to make a distinct, engaging, impressive visual experience from start to finish. Complement Hung’s linework with Mickey Quinn’s bright and rich color palette and you’ve got something truly special. I remember adoring her strong coloring work on Jonesy earlier this year, and having her here on Snotgirl amplifies the energy and vigor of the book. At this point in the year, I’ve got to say that Hung and Quinn’s work here is definitely some of the most memorable and remarkable art I’ve seen so far.
Finally, special kudos to Maré Odomo for some kick@$$ mixed lettering here, from the standard caption and word balloons to the social media text to manga-style borderless musings. Killer work.
BUY. Snotgirl #1 is an impressive and special new comic from veteran Bryan Lee O’Malley and breakout talents Leslie Hung, Mickey Quinn, and Maré Odomo. And holy damn that ending… I need issue #2 now. Check it!