In “Snotgirl” #1, Bryan Lee O’Malley — the New York Times bestselling creator behind “Scott Pilgrim,” “Lost at Sea” and “Seconds” — teams up with newcomer artist Leslie Hung to introduce the world of Lottie Person, a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star who also happens to be a gross, allergy-ridden mess behind the screen. This dark comedy, which is centered around Snotgirl, her friends and the day-to-day life of a fashion blogger, is a bright addition to the medium. “Snotgirl” is perfect for newcomers, perfect for loyal fans and just plain perfect overall.
O’Malley immediately introduces readers to Lottie, a social media goddess and flawless beauty with a devoted fan base who is adamant about hiding her true self. However, thanks to O’Malley’s telltale touch, Lottie gets a few more layers of complexity mere panels later. She is at once compelling and well-rounded, not once coming across as predictable or a shoehorned trope. O’Malley’s own constant social media interactions with fans have provided some interesting insight for those who are plugged in at all times, and Lottie is no different; he uses her profession and almost bored regard for her following to frame the most intriguing thing about her: her absolute loneliness.
Some may see “Snotgirl” as a departure from O’Malley’s earlier works, but it’s familiar enough that it won’t alienate longtime fans. The series feels like a natural step outside his comfort zone; after all, we get another funky heroine here, but there is much more to her than meets the eye, and the same can be said for the new chick in her life. It will be exciting to find out where O’Malley takes their story next.
As if the story wasn’t enough, the word “exciting” doesn’t even begin to cover Leslie Hung’s eye-popping artwork. Her style is a match made in heaven for O’Malley’s work and adds that familiar manga-esque feeling to his story. Hung’s art is effortless and cool, much like Lottie’s new friend Caroline. Calculated and sharp, every face and character is handled with love as she paints a distinct cast of characters, from the verdantly coiffed Lottie to perfect Caroline to every so-called friend in Lottie’s life. Hung also deftly balances the glamour with the disgusting, making the issue that much more relatable and real. When paired with Hung’s art, colorist Mickey Quinn’s work makes every panel worth studying, as he adds a subtle glow to the cheeks, bright sheens for the backgrounds and more; it all adds to the entire effect of “Snotgirl.”
Overall, “Snotgirl” #1 is a bold and nuanced first issue that explores both what it’s like for those with anxiety as well as the pressure we all put on ourselves in a refreshing and introspective way, all while delivering one hell of a story.