Snot Girl review – by Lillie Scarth
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s fixation on the strange that so many readers grew to love in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and swooned for in his non-serial releases Lost at Sea, and Seconds, is rejuvenated in the new comic Snotgirl. O’Malley’s quirky characters are brought to life by artist Leslie Hung whose exuberant style, choice in color, and open layouts candy-coat the high emotion of the series. Snotgirl follows the day to day life a 25-year-old fashion blogger with severe allergies. That’s it. And honestly, that’s all this dynamic duo needs to make the series work. Lottie Person is beautiful, shallow, trendy, and petty– but when she goes home at night, her blogger personality fades away and she becomes Snottie. Her obsessive self consciousness that shows through her runny nose and bleary eyes makes her character accessible to a wide audience. O’Malley works to display the ugly sides of a cute girl that readers can still learn to love.
In addition, O’Malley revisits a feminine relatability introduced in Jack Kirby’s romance comics of 1947. However, this does not make the comic “girly”. O’Malley’s application of common stereotypes is not inherently aggressive; instead he normalizes the culturally negative trait, making even the most unlikeable characters relatable. For example, Lottie’s friend Megan is a promiscuous character. Lottie uses this trait to categorize and demoralize her own friend. In contrast, O’Malley’s ultimate portrayal of Megan and her relationship with Lottie does not condone judgmental treatment. The application of the stereotype places Lottie in the wrong rather than persecuting Megan’s behavior.
The deceptively simple focus of Snotgirl also reflects on the overwhelming nature of insecurity and a lack of social belonging. Lottie’s negative outlook on her allergies allows her to believe that they control her and her life. Depicting this phenomenon can be particularly important for young readers because any individual can experience severe insecurity that debilitates them in other facets of life. Because Lottie’s character assumes a role that many young people admire, her display of vulnerability validates a reader’s own emotions and increases accessibility.
At the end of the day, O’Malley and Hung have crafted a series that departs from the plot-heavy norm of comics and relies on the emotion and response from readers. In this case, readers are encouraged to participate in very subtle ways throughout inter-character relationships. This series is truly fun in every aspect. Snotgirl is a definite recommendation for old or new comic readers alike.
Snotgirl No. 3 is hitting shelves today, so don’t miss it!