Mean Girls Club
Ryan Heshka (creator)
Disclaimer: This comic will probably maim you if left unattended, but it was also given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A gang of ruthless rebels and riotous dames are here to partake in vices and kick some behinds. Welcome to the Mean Girls Club, where Ryan Heshka creates a fun and entertaining comic for your inner rule breaker. Given a 1950s vibe, we’re invited to witness what a typical club meeting looks like, and it’s as random as one would expect from a group hell bent on exacting mayhem and destruction. We’re dragged along for the ride, going from scene to scene as the the antics are punched up more and more. We’re given a moment to breathe in the middle, with a two page spread, and then we dive even further into the weirdness before sticking a landing that made me yell, “Again! Again!”
Heshka’s chosen setting in the 1950s is clearly deliberate. It’s an era determined to reestablish its social norms after World War II shook them loose. Men were returning to find their women in occupations outside the home—factory workers, streetcar drivers, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, etc.—and soon social campaigns and propaganda flooded the media with the happy nuclear family. Women were supposed to aspire to marriage, bear children, and stay home to raise them. Mean Girls Club is made up of women who spit in the face of “normalcy” and feminine expectations. They’ve organized into a gang, drink, do drugs, commit random acts of violence, they’re sexually active … and they do it all for fun. They’ve taken up traditionally masculine activities without giving any real reason other than because, but they haven’t completely relinquished their femininity.
The comic’s strength is its art and colouring, where the sneers on these women are punctuated by bright pinks and black. They’ve taken the feminine and “docile” pink colour and repurposed it, warped it in this 1950s world. They exist within the pin-up style, but it’s not for the pleasures of the male gaze. They own power, and their sexuality isn’t wielded as a weapon, but just a statement of fact. That first page tells you everything you need to know about these women, with five of the six panels containing deadly, dark, and cast-out creatures—a bat, a rat, a Venus fly trap, a wasp, and a snake—that allude to who they are.
Pinky is my favourite member, but that’s mostly because she stars in this really trippy sequence where she becomes a black widow spider. Mean Girls Club is gorgeous to look at and encourages multiple readings. It’s honestly batshit crazy in the best way possible, and I highly recommend this short comic for all to read. Maybe colour outside the lines after you do.