Novel Ideas / Snotgirl Volume 1

This is Third Person’s monthly column about the written word; stories in books, graphic novels, webcomics, and more. It will showcase new ideas, great art as well as something great to pick up for your commute or a trip. If you have reading suggestions or wish to submit a guest article, reach out to colin.thirdperson@gmail.com with the subject “Novel Ideas”.

This month’s Novel Idea is Snotgirl, the first volume collection from Image Comics, written by Scott Pilgrim and Seconds creator, Bryan Lee O’Malley, with art by Leslie Hung. It’s a stylish story about an, even more, stylish fashion blogger named Lottie who leads a dual life: her online blogging persona, and her less than flawless daily life – plagued by allergies and IRL drama. After meeting a new friend, Lottie’s story starts to take a turn. Not long after, her reality begins to crash down around her.

Header photo provided by Author, interiors from Comics Alliance

The theme of duality is the heart of this story. Lottie struggles to reconcile the facade she has created, with that of her actual life. It’s this facade that begins to fade out more and more as Lottie begins to cross the lines that divide her life. *She both hates and loves her friends, is desperate to make it big – despite the book giving hints otherwise, of collaboration with Nike or with the eventual reveal of how many people visit her blog (Hint: It’s a very big number). Although, Lottie is easy to feel sympathetic towards, because, even though Lottie appears to be superficial, her fears and feelings are common to everyone.

I’ve known many people like Lottie, and her friends Normgirl and Cutegirl (Lottie gives everyone nicknames). The book does a great job at nailing the more unfavorable parts of their personalities. They’re always dressed fashionably, striving for attention, and get upset when their fragile reality is pushed against. Despite this, they’re immensely likeable and relatable. This comes from O’Malley’s strength in characterization, fourth wall manipulation, and subtle pop culture references. As seen in his previous works, he touches upon the culture that the main characters surround themselves with. While simultaneously referencing dominant culture, in both straightforward and subtle ways, to ground the reader and the characters. It doesn’t come across as a crutch though. It doesn’t fall into the “Ready Player One” problem by relying on references or nostalgia to carry bad writing. Instead, references are smartly placed, and work towards building the world of the comic.

Snotgirls’ first volume does a great job of setting up the characters, and introducing conflict. It also does the  quintessential early comic book arc: dropping a huge mystery on a single page and leaving you to want for more. Ultimately, Snotgirl deserves a read because of its novel narrative, and artistic quality. While offering a look into fashion and blogging culture, It’s also O’Malley’s fantastic writing on show – the main characters being well written women. Leslie Hung does a fantastic job with the art. Her characters are memorable, the outfits are on point, and most of her panels would not be out of place in a fashion magazine, or on a Pinterest moodboard.

Snotgirl Vol. 1 | Amazon 

Growing up in a small town, going to school for graphic and web design and finally moving to Toronto, Colin began to look for a new project and landed on Third Person. He has always had a passion for video games and finally decided to do something about it. Inspired by websites like Giant Bomb, Polygon, and Waypoint, Colin has founded Third Person with the intent of covering games using a mix of the old and the new.

Colin loves to dive into RPGs of all kinds, exploring their worlds and developing his character. Well-crafted stories draw him in too, and he is always on the lookout for a new adventure.

When he's not spending a billion years in a game's character creator, he can be found behind his camera, reading comic books or probably sleeping.

Some of his favorite games: Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen, Alpha Protocol, Mass Effect, Overwatch, Life is Strange, Persona 4