In Snotgirl #12, Lottie’s sister drops in out of the blue for a visit as more clues emerge in the ongoing mystery of what Caroline and Virgil’s whole deal is. Snottie’s older sister Rosie has no qualms with making herself comfortable at Lottie’s place and as the baby of the family, Lottie doesn’t quite know how to kick her out. Does the new issue introduce the #familydrama in a compelling way?
It does all that and much more. This issue serves everything that makes Snotgirl, Snotgirl. As has been the norm since issue #6, this issue is brought to you the reader by series co-creators Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung, with colors and lettering by Rachael Cohen and Maré Odomo, respectively. Rosie’s introduction as Lottie’s sister is a lot of fun to read and the team does a great job conveying their familial dynamic right from the jump. Without any clunky exposition, you know exactly who Rosie is and what her relationship with Lottie is like within the first few word balloons. Through Rosie, the team also gets at the sympathetic core at the heart of the series, adding more layers to Lottie’s characterization and further rounding her out as the complicated protagonist she is. There were moments in this issue where her whining about Rosie brought early Sailor Moon‘s Usagi to mind and I mean that with the highest amount of praise. More surprising, the team even has a moment shining a little light on a possible insecurity Virgil may have, illuminating a chink in his armor of enigmatic intrigue.
I said it once and I’ll say it again, Leslie Hung is one of my favorite artists in comics and she and Rachael Cohen far from disappoints with the pencils, inks, and colors in this issue. The way Hung renders hair continues to be one of my favorite aspects of her work and adding Rosie to the cast means more drawings of long, voluminous hair colored a gentle lilac by Cohen. Her coloring work in this issue plays with lighting a lot with scenes taking place in the morning or at twilight, leading to a lot of well executed gradients and shadow placement. I noticed a lot of notes of salmon and pink in the background coloring which played off of Rosie’s lilac hair well while also conveying the mood and lighting of the issue strongly.
The issue continues the series trend of evidencing a lot of research when it comes to the fashion on display, with all the characters sporting multiple looks. Virgil in particular has a couple great ensembles in this issue. Look out for a subtly placed, “Take a bite,” on one of his pieces. Hung’s faces are always lively and expressive, and she conveys Lottie and Rosie’s vulnerability well while also making good use of body language when a character’s face isn’t visible to get similar ideas across.
There’s a panel in particular near the end of the issue where a character covers their face with their hands and the framing of the character in the panel alongside the inking over their face and darker color work from Cohen makes them look very small and tired. Even though the character is expressing how they feel through dialogue, this rendering and framing conveys several more layers to their emotional state and the placement of the word balloon by Odomo leaves a lot of space to further emphasize the character’s smallness. This panel is placed beneath one in which the character is rendered to fill much more space in the panel with a brighter colored background. Placing the more somber panel beneath this one in the layout creates a great juxtaposition with the eye literally moving downward as the character’s expression and the coloration get bleaker. It’s a moment that only works in comics and really stands out as an example of how masterfully the Snotgirl team works in characterization. The little strand of the character’s hair coming out of place as their composure breaks down is just icing on the cake.
I could keep writing about this and every issue of Snotgirl forever, so I’ll wrap up with a quick note about Maré Odomo’s excellent lettering which included stylish setting labels and fonts that mimic a certain popular streaming service expertly. If someone ever asks what Snotgirl is, though they’d be missing a lot of important story information, they could read this issue and essentially have their question answered. The cliffhanger at the end of this issue is probably my favorite one yet and made me miserable at the idea of waiting for the next chapter in this increasingly wild series. This issue gave me everything I want and some I didn’t know I needed. Without going into spoiler context, I will leave you, dear reader, with the phrase: thotty Metal Gear Solid.