Bryan Lee O’Malley (Writer), Leslie Hung (Artist), Rachael Cohen (Colors), Mare Odomo (Lettering)
July 5, 2017
There’s something hauntingly attractive about Snotgirl. Perhaps it’s the colorful, luscious detail in every outfit, as they change from page to page. It could be the curious, withdrawn entanglement in the lives of others that Lottie and the reader feel pulled to. An inability to figure out how to relate to other people. A focus on maintaining a certain image to convince oneself of meaningful self-worth. Snotgirl #6 questions all of these experiences, from self-obsession to detachment to self-confidence.
Issue #6 opens up the world of Lottie Person. It’s not just about Lottie anymore, it’s about how she interacts with those around her. Readers begin to see inside the lives of Lottie’s fellow Hater’s Brunch bloggers, Cutegirl and Normgirl. Lottie is still as selfish as ever; her involvement in the lives of others almost seems to be an accidental coincidence. Despite the haphazard way the universe puts Lottie in awkward social positions, she continues to discard the people that make her uncomfortable, or force her to deal with her emotions. In issue #6, Lottie’s universe throws some people in her way, making it hard to do that.
Friendship is a fragile thing in Lottie’s world. For the ladies involved in the Hater’s Brunch, it’s something of a useful coincidence. They get along well enough to complain about the behavior of others, including their unfashionable and boring relatives. The outright rejection of mainstream normalcy is one of the things that makes the Snotgirl universe unique.
In this issue, we get a glimpse into the real life of Cutegirl, her past, and her family. To Lottie’s surprise, Cutegirl grows as a person during this issue. It’s not something that the Hater’s Brunch usually talks about; personal growth is not a hot topic for the fashion blogger world in Snotgirl. But as Cutegirl interacts with her sister, Lottie wonders if she can grow, too. Which brings us to Caroline.
Coolgirl, or Caroline, is a classic chic chill girl. Her signature move is to show up when Lottie least expects her to, and in the process of trying to have a good time, give Lottie an emotional fit. Caroline sees Lottie for what she is. She knows about Lottie’s secret, calling her “Snottie” when they’re alone together, a nickname that throws the green-haired fashion icon into a rage. In the past issues, Coolgirl teases Snotgirl for her shallow behavior and dismisses her bad moods.
But in issue #6, this isn’t the case. It seems that Lottie has stopped texting Coolgirl, though she can’t seem to stop thinking about her. Caroline persists, to her own disappointment. Lottie can be great at giving the cold shoulder. But the universe won’t let Lottie escape Caroline’s gravitational pull. Even in her subconscious dreams, Lottie needs Coolgirl. She craves and loathes the brutal honesty. She doesn’t get that in her online fashion world or with her fashion friends, where she feels like a secret mess. This frankness is what attracts Lottie to Caroline every time.
Lottie constantly wavers between, “I’m amazing” and “I’m freaking out.” Caroline sees her for who she is, and still wants to be her friend. Out of Lottie’s insecurity and her own shallow attitude with her friends, comes a desire to be loved despite her secret allergy problem. So Lottie needs and feels inextricably drawn to her new friend. There is something fashionably sensual, something suave about Caroline’s cool attitude that makes Lottie jealous, hungry. Before this issue, Coolgirl was generally chiller than ice water, and Lottie was constantly wishing she could be the same. She longs to possess the lure that is seemingly effortless for Caroline.
The storyline is spurred on by the colorful appeal of Hung’s drawing style and Cohen’s colors. When Lottie feels stressed out, so does the reader. When she feels ugly, the colors are yellow and green, reminiscent of her messy allergy problem. The unhappiness Lottie has when her personal monster rears its head feels tangibly gross, creating empathy for her character panel by panel.
Scenes where Lottie is dressed up are bright, with colors vibrant and shimmering like her fashionable outfits. Hung’s panel sequence choices are flawless, emanating the emotion of a scene. When Lottie dreams, the pages are dark, scattered with warm colors of passion between shadows. Indiscernible yet full of clarity, like real dreams. The gorgeous, uncommon colors and uniquely detailed artwork are both part of what makes Snotgirl so addicting.
There is a lot in Snotgirl that reflects modern social situations. We have friends that tease us, friends we’re jealous of, and friends that call us out. There are days when we don’t feel like responding to the texts we’re getting. The appeal of Lottie and her characters not only lies in fashionable daily drama, but in her experiences. I know I’ve had days when my friends frustrate me or remind me that I need to grow. Snotgirl reflects these modern social values and brings them to the forefront of the story for examination. It prompts the reader to reflect on questions like, “Has Lottie damaged her friendship but giving Coolgirl the cold shoulder?” Don’t be deceived by its utter elegance; Snotgirl is a study on human interaction. Themes of contemporary friendship in a world much like our own, coupled with the beautiful artwork and enchanting colors, make Snotgirl a must read.