When I was a little kid, every Sunday I’d go to the candy store with my father. (Swear to god, I’m not making this up.) He’d get the paper, I’d get 50 cents to buy whatever I wanted – I wanted comic books. I read mostly Marvel and over the years picked up some deeply weird and random books…most of which I still have. Like Nova, which was a deservingly short-lived series about a kid who somehow got a super-powered suit and still managed to be a nebbish. As I got older, I got into comics collecting and met and became friends with some folks who worked for the big comic companies. (I tried to get a job with DC, but failed. lol) I even worked for a while at a comic book store. I knew, of course, about Indie comics, but was never interested much – mostly because what I perceived as “Indie” was usually bad art and nothing more than drugs and bad, boring or gross sex.
I was just leaving the world of American comics as small indie ventures such as a new, upstart company called Dark Horse was coming on the scene. I even worked with a guy who had a short-lived comic published by DH about a creature that came out of the toxic fields near Newark, NJ. I think it was called “Zone.” But for all that, Indy comics never did it for me.
I was aware, as all comic readers were, of the dearth of really original, unique story telling and art in the widely available published comics industry. Some of that was due to the American comics nadir during the McCarthy era, and alot was due to market forces. I left comics when the best new ideas that DC and Marvel could come up with were “collector’s edition” covers on popular series.
Fast forward 10 years and the Internet was born. Now, more than ten years after that, and publishing on the net has removed almost all the barriers for self-publishing that ever existed. Writers and artists of all ages and talent levels can slam something together and put it up and say that they are published. This is, quite obviously, wonderful – – and really scary. ^_^
So, yes, I love the *idea* of webcomics – truly independent work by people from nearly everywhere almost instantly findable by almost anyone anywhere.
But in reality, I only like a few webcomics. Wait, no…one. There’s a few I’ll read when I’m really, really, REALLY bored, or haven’t looked at them in forever, but there’s only *one* I read regularly. And that’s Josh Lesnick’s Girly. And I’m thrilled to say that Josh’s first 100 or so strips have been collected into the first volume of Girly, now available on Amazon.
I know Girly is not for everyone. The art is inconsistent (which I quite like, especially as he started this particular comic trying a more button-down style and over time it’s exploded into his usual wackiness) and the story is wildly random (which I also like.)
I was a fan of Josh’s from Wendy and through Cute Wendy, the collected works of which we were able to give away as prizes at Yuricon in Tokyo, thanks to Josh’s generosity. But as I sat here the other night reading Girly, Volume 1, I remembered just why I liked it. It’s got great characters. Otra and Winter have that thing I look for in Yuri – that inexplicable electricity that make a couple work for me. Officer Policeguy, the woman with the cute baby…Chupacabre, they are all just plain fun. Even the vile and cheap repartee’ between Captain Fist and Assmaster makes me laugh.
The book is really well put together – the strips are laid out vertically on a black background, two to a page for a feel similar to the website. The black makes for a cool all-around feel to the book, too. And if you’re an anime fan, Josh lays on some not-at-all-subtle anime fandom in-jokes from time to time.
If you’re not familiar with Girly you’re probably thinking, “But is it Yuri?” Yep. It’s about two women who fall in love and have adventures with rampaging elephants and marshmallow kitties and giant dildos. Among other things.
I pre-purchased my copy of Girly directly from Josh’s site, partially to support him and partially to nab myself a signed copy. When it arrived, it had a lovely drawn picture of Otra and Winter on the inside back cover and the header “Yuri Power!” ^_^ Thanks Josh – it really made my day.
Art – 5
Story – 7
Characters – 8
Yuri – 8
Service – 2
Overall – 7
The story itself has gotten stronger as the comic has gone on, but Josh hasn’t yet lost sight of the qualities that make the characters unique. I look forward to Volume 2. ^_^
Oh, and I adore my t-shirt that says, “Everywhere I go, I’m shooting people into space.” :-D