Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Clouds rolled in, followed by the crowds. Masses of people, condensing into being like cumulonimbus. A clap of thunder gave way to an applause of same. Bonfires were lit, seemingly immune to the torrential downpour. Goats were sacrificed. A wicked guitar solo cut across the land. Men and women alike consumed their weight in hallucinogenics. And lo, responding to the cries and chants of the faithful, the massive godhead shimmered to life in the dark sky. It wore sunglasses. It was bald. It also seemed to be Scottish.
I am one of Grant Morrison‘s whorrisons. This week, you will learn why, as I present to you– Grant Morrison’s Greatest Hits! Or, at least, seven of them. Seven little comics that blew my mind. Are you ready?
Today: A joycore little pop comic that’s ridiculously fun and cool and just click on through the fold already. The archive can be found here, as always.
189. Kill Your Boyfriend
Kill Your Boyfriend is a jazzy little Vertigo graphic novella that I’ve written about before (in an article called “Pop Comics/Joycore and the (New) Mainstream,” which can be found in two parts here and here). I may paraphrase some of my own passages. I’m definitely reusing the images, as they constitute my favorite panels in the book.
The comic itself is a 1995 work by Grant Morrison, Philip Bond, and D’Israeli, and is completely awesome, crazy, wonderful, frabjous, full of joy– joycore. One Barbelith poster remarked it’s the first thing they’d rescue from their home in case of a fire. I can understand why.
The plot is your standard fare, described thusly on the back cover: “Boy meets Girl. Girl falls for Boy. Boy takes Girl on violent rampage through English suburb. Murder, sex, drugs, and anarchy follow.” Girl (the main characters aren’t named) is fed up with her life, sick of the endless tedium and tired of her nerdy boyfriend. She encounters Boy, a charming rogue, and they hang out, get drunk, and decide to kill her boyfriend. Things escalate from there, and they end up on a mad chase involving alcohol, narcotics, sex, wigs, anarchists, more sex, implied incest, and death. Don’t worry, though, it has a happy ending. Sort of.
It’s a really twisted dark comedy written by G-Mozz at his breeziest. The dialogue is sharp and witty, the mood is sarcastic, the fourth wall means nothing, and there’s even a riff on Morrison’s own Invisibles in the characters of the anarchists-on-the-bus. Bond, Phil Bond’s art is crisp and cartoony, carrying the madcap feel of the book in excellent fashion. His Girl is quite fetching, considering she’s a drawing. I’ve always felt that Girl’s depiction reminds me of someone, but I can never place who it is.
Kill Your Boyfriend is the perfect comic for the angry, blisteringly insane teenager in all of us. It’s out of print and hard to find, so if you do come across it, snatch it up right away. If you still don’t believe it’s good, though, I’ll let the book speak for itself (click any image to enlarge it):
(Don’t worry. He’s not his dad, he’s a priest. Well, sort of. Not really.)
Every line is worth savoring, as is every panel. For more KYB excellence, check out this really neat Random Quote Generator for the comic. Some brilliant stuff in there.
As I said in those posts two years ago, Kill Your Boyfriend is the perfect example of a pop comic. It’s short, it’s cheap, but it has a spine and can sit on a shelf. It’s ridiculously entertaining, like a marvelous pop single you can’t stop listening to. It’s, yes, joycore. I don’t use the word much anymore, but it definitely applies to Kill Your Boyfriend. By joycore, I mean it’s fun, imaginative, and awesome.
Joycore pop comics are the way to capture the mainstream, and by that, I mean the true mainstream, the dirty “normies” who read novels without pictures and go to the movies and like things that are in different genres. The comics industry needs these people, but the industry has to produce and support material these people will like first. There are loads of great little indies out there, but if the shops don’t order them and they don’t hit the bookstore market’s radar, then the audience they’re aimed at will never know they exist. Comic shops and bookstores have to start ordering good comics, and the bigger companies have to start making good comics. Comics like Kill Your Boyfriend.
C’mon, Vertigo, reprint KYB. It’s one of my favorite comics. It’s also one of Matt Fraction’s favorite comics, so if you’re not gonna listen to me, listen to him.
Alright, that’s my spiel. For more, uh, read those old articles I linked you to. I quite liked them, and they helped get me this Comics Should Be Good gig. Haha. I’ll see you tomorrow. Until then, remember:
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