Review: Snotgirl, Vol. 2: California Screaming

Snotgirl

Title: Snotgirl, Vol. 2: California Screaming
Author: Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung (illustrator)
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 136
Publisher: Image Comics
Availability: Available now!

Summary: Lottie Person is a glamorous fashion blogger living her best life in L.A. — at least that’s what she wants you to think. CALIFORNIA SCREAMING finds Lottie putting the past behind her and trying to make the best of a bad situation — her life! Lottie’s new bestie is an emotional roller coaster: first she died, and then she killed someone. Who will Caroline hurt next, and what is her brother Virgil doing here? What secret is Detective John Cho seeking in the desert? Why did Cutegirl ghost her sister? Is Normgirl really going to marry Ashley? And what in god’s name did Sunny ever see in Charlene? [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Review: For the last few years, I’ve been trying (with some success!) to read more comics. Last year, that meant diving into a few short comic reads, including Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Aside from the gorgeous art by Leslie Hung, the reason I picked it up was because I loved O’Malley’s previous works – Seconds and Scott Pilgrim. One of those rings a bell, right? Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care was a whole lot of fun, if a little baffling (I assume, intentionally so), and I was excited to pick up volume 2 recently!

Volume 2 isn’t going to make much sense if you haven’t read the first volume, so get on that first. Snotgirl is all about Lottie Person, a fashion blogger who is as gorgeous as she is famous. There’s just one catch — she’s got super allergies and without her allergy medicine, she’s a fountain of snot, which doesn’t exactly fit into her glamorous celebrity persona. The dangerous side effects of her allergy medicine, her complete absorption into her social media life, and a new friendship with Caroline (who dubs Lottie “snotgirl”) all combine to throw Lottie into a life of mystery and murder.

Snotgirl as a series is first of all just gorgeous. The art by Leslie Hung is incredible. As for the story, there’s a lot going on — but it mirrors Lottie’s inner life: She’s self-absorbed, totally wrapped up in her social media persona, and given to harsh snap judgements of everyone around her. At the core of Snotgirl is a murder mystery (and probably some kind of commentary on our relationship with social media), and it’s all filtered through Lottie’s lens. All this works together to make for a series that’s just plain fun to read.

I loved Volume 2 of Snotgirl even more than Volume 1, mainly because I’m just now starting to pick up the threads of the plot. This isn’t harshing on Snotgirl at all – I’m just bad at following plots, especially ones with psychological and mystery elements. I’m really looking forward to Volume 3 and finding out just what exactly is happening, and who’s the culprit in all this.

Sidenote: I read a post a while back by the author discussing how he wanted to bring more PoC representation into his comics, and I wondered how Lottie figured into that. Here’s a quote from this article for NBC Asian America: “Although Lottie’s background isn’t explicitly addressed in the first issue, she is half Japanese and half Swedish, O’Malley said. If she looks white, that’s not just due to the unpredictability of mixed-race genetics but also because she’s trying so hard to conform to a narrow standard of beauty.”

If you’re interested, I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a gorgeous comic to read that’s up on all the latest in pop culture, but with a twist of mystery. Get Snotgirl, Volume 2 soon!

Recommendation: Get it soon!

Further reading:
Bryan Lee O’Malley on POC representation in his comics
Rich in Color’s Review of Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley

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