Tag Archive for image comics

Near Miss: BoHoS

In the late ’90s, a California teenager named Maggie Whorf and friends got into trouble for distributing a zine called “Whore-Hey” at their school. So of course, Whorf ended up writing a comic book. That comic was the three-issue series BoHoS, published by Image/Flypaper Press.

(I tracked down Whorf a few years ago and talked to her about all of this. For more background, please read Remembering BoHoS: A conversation with Maggie Whorf. There’s no need to repeat all of that here.)

Does BoHoS hold up? No, not really. Whorf had a good grasp on what it was like to be a teenager at the time, and her stand-in lead, Catherine Wheal, provided an easy entry point for readers (you know, if you were a teenage girl who could relate to a protagonist with blue hair) and that carries over pretty well, but jagged, technicolor art by Byron Penaranda and the dated references to Hanson and MTV’s Tabitha Soren place this firmly in the late ’90s. This is not one for the ages.

I actually read BoHoS at the time (the publishers reached out to me — an early web address for Comicsgirl is actually listed in the back of issue #2) and it may be the only Near Miss comic I read as it was actually being released. It’s far from perfect, but it’s still a comic I have a lot of affection and appreciation for. There was nothing else like it at the time and I’d say there really hasn’t been anything like it since.

True to Whorf’s zinester roots, the back of each issue had essays, reviews and poetry from other teenage girls as well as links to web sites of interest (this was the late ’90s — the Internet was still young for many of us). I liked that beyond the main story, it just wasn’t about Whorf. It was about other teenage girls that may not feel like they fit in and it wanted to give them a voice.

And certainly, teenage girls have always found places to share their thoughts, but I do wonder what shape BoHoS would’ve taken in today. I look at Tavi Gevinson and Rookie (and the fact that comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly was the one to put out Rookie: Yearbook One) and I just wonder what would’ve happened if Whorf had been in a world where she could’ve created a blog instead of a zine.

Which isn’t to say BoHoS was ahead of its time. It was very much of its time and not really worth reading beyond it being a piece of comics history. Still, it continues to delight me that nearly 15 years ago, a teenage girl got to write a comic that was published by a major publisher.

I think that continues to be an important thing.

Near Miss is a semi-regular feature that will be appearing on Comicsgirl throughout 2013. This project is sponsored by Big Planet Comics.

Review: Phonogram: Rue Britannia

Phonogram: Rue Britannia

Buy at Amazon.com

I once wrote a break-up letter to Belle and Sebastian after one day realizing we’d drifted apart. It was full of “It’s not you, it’s me” and “I’ll always value the time we shared” and even reassurance that while I had been hanging out with this other band a lot, we were just friends.

No, I didn’t send it to the band. I’m not that insane. I mostly just wrote it for my own amusement and the amusement of a few of my friends. I’m just sharing this story because I need you to know why going into Phonogram: Rue Britannia (Image Comics), I was already going to love it. If you know anything about me, you know I’m going to be pretty pre-disposed toward a comic where music is magic, where the music genre you love is literally your god.

No, seriously. I can’t really judge this comic in any proper way. Of course Kieron Gillen‘s writing is top-notch — witty, sly and fast-paced — as is Jamie McKelvie‘s art, which is crisp and emotional.

Is the music that main character David Kohl loves the music I love? Not exactly, although there’s some crossover. But I relate to his journey and his desire to not let go of the music that means something to him. We all have our first band, our first album, after all, even if want to forget about it. And I mean, you must have had that magical moment at a concert where the rest of the audience just dropped away and it was just you and the band — the music was there for just you. If you haven’t, you’re probably not the sort who thinks writing a letter directed at a band breaking up with them is something perfectly reasonable. And you probably won’t quite get Phonogram.

I know the relationships I have with the bands and musicians I love is real. It’s real for me. And that’s why I loved Phonogram. Like nothing else I’ve read, it’s the closest to capturing what that feels like.

And not my favorite Belle & Sebastian song (that would be “Seeing Other People”) but close enough:

(Yes, I’m going to read Phonogram: The Singles Club, but I need to stop being broke first before I can buy it. That may take a while.)