Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Comic Review: Gingerbread Girl

Top Shelf Productions, 2011, $12.95

I got Gingerbread Girl because I had a vague impression that it had been the hot item for this year’s Stumptown Comic Fest, which makes sense as it was published this year by a Portland cartoonist and it is set in Portland, OR. So when I found it at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, I thought I’d at least flip through it and read the back. The art was endearing to me – a simple character style with a realistic background. And the story summarily wrapped up on the back cover was overwhelmingly intriguing. It went in the pile (along with a collection of Harvey Pekar, Freakangels (Abe’s great pick), and Chew Vol. 2).

Art: 4 stars
I enjoyed the art immensely, such smooth, fluid lines and the two tone as far as I remember (I have since lost the book somewhere in the apartment already). I really like the style with cartoony people and realistic backgrounds. The cartoony people are easier, quicker, to read and readily provide a canvas for varying emotions. Coover’s style is sort of like Julia Wertz in that juxtaposition of cartoony people and realistic backgrounds, but sweeter with softer lines as opposed to Wertz’ stark, hard lines. Coover’s style fits the story well. The pigeon at the beginning and end is particularly charming.

Story: 4 stars
Boy, will Abe hate this. It is one of those stories that goes about its business until it just stops rather than ends. By “ends,” I mean satisfactorily wraps up the storylines and characters. That was certainly not the case with Gingerbread Girl. And fortunately for me, I love that type of story. It kind of continues on in your head for a ways. This could have been a prologue to a much longer, far stranger story. It’s almost just a practice in character development. And they do it in a really interesting way by having the reader follow a variety of characters to explain their point of view on the main character. It is quite a weird set of view points since half of them don’t even know her. But as you read, each character fleshes out not only themselves, but the main character in some fashion.

Overall: 4 stars
Grab it now if you love pointless meandering stories about people who are slightly off. Off what, I can’t say. I am really glad we bought this book.

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