Oni, comiXology offer teen angst at bargain prices

[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

ComiXology has a "Leading Ladies" sale this weekend that features some great titles from Oni Press with strong female leads: Anthony Johnson's The Coldest City, a thriller set in Berlin at the end of the Cold War; Spell Checkers, a comedy by Jamie Rich, Nicholas Hitori De, and Joelle Jones,  about three teenage witches with attitude; and Ross Campbell's Wet Moon. There's a lot to like but there are two titles in the mix that are real standouts, and you can get them both for less than $10 if you grab them before the sale ends at 11 p.m. Eastern today.

Both are stories that are about teenagers but aren't really for teenagers, because the main action in each of them is the sort of thing that is clearer in retrospect than when you are going through it.

Ivy, by Sarah Oleksyk, describes one of the great disappointments of youth, finding out that someone you care about is not all you imagined him to be. Ivy is a high school student who is chafing at the confines of her small Maine town and her strict single mother, who is determined that Ivy will have a better life than she had. Ivy wants to be an artist, and on a trip to Boston she meets a guy who introduces her to a whole new way of looking at things.They start a long-distance relationship, but when they finally get together, things don't unfold the way Ivy thinks they will, and she has to come to the hard realization that the person she built up in her head is not the one standing before her. Ivy is not the most likable character, but the story is all the better for that—she's obnoxious and self-centered in the way teenagers often are, without realizing it, and her superior attitude and way of pushing everyone away really ring true.

Bryan Lee O'Malley's Lost at Sea is a quieter story but just as powerful in its own way. It's kind of the flip side of Ivy: Raleigh is a quiet girl who doesn't feel close to anyone, except for a guy she met on the internet. She travels from her home in Canada to California to visit him, but this story is not about that, it's about her trip back with a group of fellow students she barely knows. At first she keeps to herself, put off by the roughness of the others, but as the trip goes on, they start to form a tentative friendship. If Ivy is about learning that people aren't necessarily as good as you think they are, Lost at Sea is the opposite, a story about learning that sometimes they aren't as bad as you think they are, that the people you think are looking down on you might actually like you if given the chance, and that it's possible to have something in common with a stranger.

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