Have you ever met a girl and she’s stuck with you in memory, even though you haven’t seen her in decades? For me, it’s Simone Cundy, whom I met in the mid-’90s in the Vertigo miniseries Girl.
Published in 1996 as part of Vertigo’s sub-imprint Vertigo Vérité, the three issue series followed a teenage girl named Simone in the doldrums of teenage angst and depression who’s roused when her doppelganger Polly (with blonde hair) challenges her. Dealing with issues of growing up and coming to terms with yourself, Girl was a great little series that showed an early example of Fegredo’s excellent work and Milligan’s growing assuredness to tell more complicated stories.
Girl was the third of three major back-to-back projects that Milligan and Fegredo did together, first with 1993’s Enigma and then with 1995’s Face. Since then they’ve re-teamed for some assorted one-shots like DC’s Scarecrow and a story in Marvel’s Tangled Web of Spider-Man, but nothing as formidable as Girl.
Back in 2010, I interviewed Fegredo about his work on Hellboy, but I need manage to sneak in a question about Girl.
“I’m glad you liked Girl,” he said. “At the time it seemed that nobody really appreciated it as it was largely overlooked in favor of Kill Your Boyfriend by Grant Morrison and Phil Bond — not that I disliked Kill Your Boyfriend, it was a great book but then so was Girl! Okay, I’m biased, I’m very fond of all my collaborations with Pete Milligan, he has a very individual voice coupled with a very bleak sense of humor that I think brought out the best in me and I felt I had to make the characters I drew give a matching performance to Peter’s sharp dialogue. Girl was a fairly bleak reflection of many quarters of the UK at that time, high unemployment, limited options and imaginations all around and a desperate hope that all could be solved by the National Lottery… actually, not a lot has changed, it’s just as relevant now. Bleak but darkly humorous.”
Fegredo went on to say that Girl, like his other projects with Milligan at Vertigo, remains “uncollected despite a few near misses,” and that the artist has given up hopes of it ever happening.
Thinking realistically about the market today, neither Milligan nor Fegredo are Geoff Johns or Grant Morrison in stature, but Girl (perhaps with the Face one-shot included with it) would be a great little collection. Milligan has a stable relationship with DC writing Hellblazer, Red Lanterns and Stormwatch, and Fegredo is at his career height drawing Hellboy. While it wouldn’t be a blockbuster in sales, it might do well and who knows, might make for a great low-budget movie.