Sunday, 19 November 2006

Violence gets sexy: The Whogirl

This bastard spawn of Tankgirl and Transmetropolitan is probably best served by taking it with a grain of salt. Steven Henry's, The Whogirl, looks at first to be a bland Spicegirls rip-off on too much sugar. Typically I prefer my dystopias to be a slice and dice of evil and vice. Schism perfects this stylised world, it's a morass of secrets and a search for redemption. However, I also think there's a place for this strip and its mixture of goofball humour and study of corruption.

You'll notice the silly sloganeering at first, 'I am the girl that all girls wish they could be', ignore that, ignore the hyped up mid-1990's rave wear the heroine wears and ignore the Mozza style hair on the Emo looking kid. If you don't like manga this won't convert you but if you let yourself look at what Henry is doing here with this jokey brand of speculative fiction then all that silliness is an apt accompaniment to a world gone sour. Carpe Diem with bad haircuts.

The energy concurrent in the strip can be a bit off-putting, the first fifty strips haven't yet mediated between post-feminist braggadocio and the background of a dystopic state. Once this is resolved Steven Henry has matured the strip into something approaching an alternate darkness. Looking at the artwork, yes, perhaps there is a certain cartoony roundness evident but once you understand the narrative and its inherent darkness the spirit of the silliness and antic violence starts to make sense.

Musical Accompaniment: Fun Lovin' Criminals, Loco. This album is my dirty secret, I guess you could call it Afghan Whigs lite but really I have got the jonses for this album because of the dark skanky froth within that makes sense emotionally, an album for a cynical drunks in a decaying city.

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