Girl Town

Carolyn Nowak. Top Shelf, $19.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-60309-438-2
The first story in this magical collection of short comics opens on a group of female pals who “all got kicked out of astronaut school for being too good looking to be sent to space.” This sets the tone for the entire escapade, which mixes elements of fantasy and science fiction—enchanted pork pies, android boyfriends, underwater hotels—into a contemporary young-adult milieu of zines; podcasts; sleazy gaming guys; sarcastic roommates; and smart, cool, insecure women. Two friends confront their doppelgängers; a girl is fitted with an electric prosthetic tongue; a young divorcee travels to her parents’ lake house with her new girlfriend. Though the plots are eclectic, the stories share a common thread in their exploration of memory and self, themes that mesh with the melding of fairy-tale past, millennial present, and cybernetic future. Nowak switches up her visual style for each piece, but her art is consistently appealing, with relatable funny-faced characters inhabiting imaginatively detailed settings, all drenched in bright broad-paintbox colors. Two of the stories won Ignatz Awards, and the full collection represents the emergence of a promising new comics talent. Agent: Jennifer Linnan, Linnan Literary Management. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 09/25/2018
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