Snotgirl #1 and #2 Review: Lottie Nose Best
Canadian comics icon Bryan Lee O’Malley returns alongside newcomer illustrator Leslie Hung in Snotgirl, an ongoing monthly story about a social media Goddess who’s plagued with allergies behind the flashing camera phone lights.
Snotgirl No. 1
In Snotgirl #1, readers are thrown into the fashion centric life of L.A.’s hottest blogger, Lottie Person. Online she depicts a perfect life and look for her audience, but things don’t look as good in the real world. Her ex is posting photos of himself with another girl, her blogger friends are bailing on haters brunch (a term for midday gossip sessions I will absolutely be stealing), and worst of all, she’s got terrible allergies: one bad sniff, and Lottie’s nose is flooded with boogers matching her green hair.
The first issue sees Lottie reacting to the pillars of her private life crumbling while her online stardom stays cozily stagnant. She fails to see why her friends, most of which she’s assigned reductive nicknames like Cutegirl, Trashboy, and Normgirl to, don’t prioritize her. In the midst of a breakdown, Lottie runs into Caroline, a life loving “Coolgirl” so awesome that she’s able to keep it together even without her cellphone on hand. The two plan a night out, and Lottie spends the rest of the issue fearing she’ll expose her snotty secret and blow it with “Coolgirl” Caroline.
All the usual trappings of a Bryan Lee O’ Malley story are present from the get go, including the much loved character profile texts from Scott Pilgrim that detail a new character’s age, occupation, and general gist that return with more vanity than ever. O’ Malley has a knack for writing compelling female characters, whether Lost at Sea’s Raleigh, or Seconds’ Katie, and Snotgirl’s leading lady is no exception. Lottie is a hilariously flawed individual who, like so many on Facebook and Instagram, shares only the likeable parts of herself while pretending her flaws don’t exist, instead of taking action to remedy those problems.
What’s new, aside from fantastic new characters and a dissection of the psychological effects of social media, is the stunning artwork of Leslie Hung. In some ways Hung’s art feels like a matured, evolution of Bryan’s own illustration style, while in others it echoes the youthful look of Babs Tarr’s run on Batgirl of Burnside. With the wonderfully drawn outfits, emotive facial expressions, and popping colours, Snotgirl is eye candy in the truest sense.
The first issue ends with a fairly dark mystery, but what can be deduced is that Snotgirl #1 is a promising start to a sometimes funny, sometimes tragic commentary on social media addiction and the beauty standards society places on people, especially young women. Bryan Lee O’ Malley and Leslie Hung have something special with Snotgirl, and fans should be thrilled that their new project releases every month.
Snotgirl No. 2
Issue 2 picks up the morning after Lottie and “Coolgirl” Caroline’s night out, where Lottie saw her ex boyfriend with a new girl and, after crying over it in the bathroom, earned the nickname “Snottie.” Lottie and “Cutegirl” Misty dig into Lottie’s latest stalker, Charlene, who just so happens to be the girl seen with Lottie’s ex.
The comic opens up with a gorgeous two-page spread of Lottie passed out in bed, boogers and all, proving that illustrator Leslie Hung has no interest in taking it easy after the stellar work in issue 1. Readers get to learn more about Lottie’s entourage thanks to her friends attending haters brunch this time around and sharing details from their individual lives. O’Malley and Hung also introduce Lottie’s unpaid intern and fashion school student, Esther.
It’s revealed through a conversation with Esther that the stalker Charlene was a previous intern from 2011 that Lottie forgot about. With the unpaid Esther running Lottie’s social media platforms and Lottie completely forgetting about an old intern, Snotgirl #2 makes a comment on unpaid work in the spheres of online writing and production. So many young creators find they have little choice but to give free labour to companies only offering unpaid internships if they are to have any hope of breaking into their desired industry. Snotgirl #2 doesn’t ignore this ugly truth but calls it out head on by depicting the successful Lottie as a manipulator of two ambitious fashion students.
Snotgirl continues to be a joy in its second issue, with more laughs, more characters, and an ongoing mystery involving Coolgirl and Lottie’s new allergy medication. Plus, Snotgirl #2 ends by introducing the book’s first male fashion aficionado, Detective John Cho (who is definitely not the celebrated actor, John Cho). With two issues in the bag it’s clear O’Malley and Hung’s latest project should snot be ignored.