Tag Archive for oni press

Review: Part-Time Princesses by Monica Gallagher

Part-Time PrincessesSenior year isn’t going as well as they’d hoped.

Best friends Amber, Tiffany, Michelle and Courtney perform as princesses at their local theme park, The Enchanted Park (which has seen better days) and are looking forward to their futures. However, as obstacles keep them from their perceived dreams, our heroines in Monica Gallagher‘s Part-Time Princesses (Oni Press, 2015), realize they can use their strengths and abilities to save their park from those who want to destroy it.

It’s refreshing to read a comic about teenage girls that’s not focused on them being misfits. Although our heroines are popular, they’re more Clueless than Mean Girls — they can be a bit self-involved but they’re well-meaning and each has her own motivations and interests, from the ambitious, smart Michelle to the dramatic Tiffany

Gallagher has a wonderful eye for fashion and the way teen girls actually interact. Each girl looks unique — down to her body type and style (Courtney is athletic and sporty, wannabe model Amber is tall and graceful). While Gallagher’s backgrounds are sparse, they focus the attention on her strong ability to convey personality and emotions through body language and facial expressions. The girls not only feel like friends to each other — they feel like girls you know.

While the story mostly proceeds with the expected beats as each girl finds her true abilities, there are a few curves — an unexpected romance, a hidden conspiracy — that keep the plot from feeling too obvious. Gallagher’s gift for the playful rhythms of life keep her storytelling strong and fresh.

As much as I love comics about girls and women in extraordinary circumstances (whether it’s real life or fantastic), it’s refreshing to read a graphic novel that’s about normal girls doing mostly normal things. I would love to see more comics like Part-Time Princesses in the world.

Digital review copy provided by Oni Press.

Review: Glitter Kiss

In the first few glitterkisspages of Glitter Kiss (2012, Oni Press) by Adrianne Ambrose (writer) and Monica Gallagher (art), main character Tinka is chided by her mother for wearing too much makeup and for her skirt being too short — the first because boys don’t like girls who wear a lot of makeup and the second because boys like short skirts too much.

That’s basically Tinka’s world when the book starts — her appearance, her attitude are all treated to be for the consumption of boys and not for herself. Welcome to the world of every teenage girl.

Tinka is a typical teenage girl for the most part — Gallagher gives her flowing hair and pouty lips, but she’s not treated to be any particular beauty. Ambrose writes her as average — she’s neither anonymous or overly popular. She’s just one of the girls who filled the hallways of your high school, dealing with harassment from boys while still desiring to be with one.

Once her secret romance with Jason is discovered by his soccer teammates and he cruelly dismisses her, Tinka gets revenge, although accidentally.

Due to a thunderstorm unleashing the high school goth girl’s latent witchy powers and a tube of glittery lip gloss, Tinka gains the ability to give these boys a taste of their own medicine. She turns them into girls.

Jason manipulates Tinka into kissing him one last time and he wakes up as a girl. Tinka receeds into the background for a bit as Jason tries to make sense of his new reality. The book turns out to be nearly as much about him as it is about her.

There’s a party where people play spin the bottle and Tinka kisses a few more boys, all before realizing what’s going on.

And the boys get to learn exactly how their behavior affects girls when they face it themselves. (Ambrose doesn’t shy away from showing the cruelty of other girls, too, though.)

Gallagher has fun with the boys being perplexed by their different bodies. She plays with posture — when the boys stood tall and strong, they hunch as if trying to hide themselves as girls. Movement and facial expressions are exaggerated (Jason’s mom, who is not nearly as confused by her son’s transformation as she should be, dresses him in a ridiculous outfit for a party). While most of her characters are attractive with their manga-inspired big eyes, she draws a wide variety of body types. Her world feels inclusive beneath the glamor of her art.

Ambrose’s writing is snappy and funny and always unexpected. Her dialogue is smart but feels natural and scenes transition easily between slapstick and heartfelt. There’s a definite playfulness to what she’s doing here and her message never drags it down. I love watching these fictional boys transform — both literally and figuratively — in their understanding of women. She also allows Tinka to learn how to be comfortable with herself, as a girl, and the conclusion to her story (and Jason’s) feels appropriate and satisfying.

Maybe something of a strange complaint, but with its title, all-female creative team and pink cover, this book won’t get into the hands of the people who would probably get the most out of it — teenage boys. While it’s a delightful story for teenage girls (and people who once were teenage girls), I do wish more teenage boys could be taught that girls are people too.

Still, I have some hope some smart teenage girls will leave this lying around where their brothers may pick it up. Even without that happening, it’s still an intelligent and witty glimpse into the pressures all teenagers face in trying to relate to each other.

The D.C. Area Comics Scene for July 24

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Housekeeping:

  • I am compiling a standing list of D.C. area webcomics, comics-related podcasts/TV shows, yearly events and other things that I’m not always able to include in the weekly roundup, so email me with whatever you’re up to. Thanks!

Have comic news or events related to the D.C. area to share? Email me! Submit no later than Monday at 9 p.m. for inclusion each Tuesday, but the earlier, the better! More information is here.

The D.C. Area Comics Scene for July 17

Up-top announcement: I am compiling a standing list of D.C. area webcomics, comics-related podcasts/TV shows, yearly events and other things that I’m not always able to include in the weekly roundup. This will be very much a work-in-progress I’m trying to get the initial list up by the middle of next month. I have a good list, but email me what you have (if it’s a webcomic or podcast, also include what day it’s usually updated as well as how often it’s updated). Thanks!

News/interviews/reviews:

Event/con reports:

Announcements and debuts:

Upcoming releases:

Events:

Have comic news or events related to the D.C. area to share? Email me! Submit no later than Monday at 9 p.m. for inclusion each Tuesday, but the earlier, the better! More information is here.

The D.C. Area Comics Scene for July 12

Rusty Rowley and Joe Mochove of Full Sanction at Kids Read Comics! in Ann Arbor, Mich.

 

News/interviews/etc.

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Announcements:

Upcoming releases:

Events:

Housekeeping:

  • Starting next week, The D.C. Area Comics Scene will switch to Tuesdays.

Have comic news or events related to the D.C. area to share? Email me! Submit no later than Monday at 9 p.m. for inclusion each Tuesday, but the earlier, the better! More information is here.