cover image Young Frances

Young Frances

Hartley Lin. AdHouse, $19.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-935233-42-8

This thoroughly entertaining graphic novel collects the serial comics “Pope Hats,” which were originally published under the pen name Ethan Rilly. Now published under Lin’s real name, the complete arc showcases Lin’s disarming brilliance, through skillful comics art and authentic conversational humor. Frances Scarland is a smart young law clerk at a high-pressure Toronto firm, who disguises her anxiety about a career in the legal profession with level-headed sincerity and clever wit. Her best friend (and roommate), Vickie Griffin, a gorgeous, talented actress, is just the opposite: a let-it-all-hang-out party girl, perpetually discarding hookups and nursing hangovers when she isn’t stealing scenes onstage. Offered a promotion that promises long hours working for imperious attorneys, Frances is forced to reconsider her life (“No one in history ever wanted to be a great law clerk”). Vickie, meanwhile, leaves for L.A. after getting the lead role in a trashy TV show about lawyers. Using the women’s professions as a stage, Lin mines their long-distance phone calls and text messages (and the cutthroat office politics of the firm) to define the nature of their friendship. This much-anticipated release captures the emotional bonds and clumsy charm of two besties who will always have each other’s backs. (May)