Pinky and Pepper Forever
June 18, 2018
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Pinky and Pepper are two artists in love. They’re both students trying to refine their craft and find their audience, but neither one feels like they’re having much success. Pepper’s classmates criticise the singular focus of her art and her technique, whereas Pinky’s classmates applaud her technique, but argue that her work is devoid of meaning. Turning to each other for validation, the line between the devotion to their art and their devotion to each other becomes fuzzy. Co-dependent doesn’t even begin to describe their relationship.
Though they both feel down about their recent criticism, Pinky takes it particularly hard. She is unhappy and lashes out at Pepper, who decides to take a few days off and stays with her parents. Alone, feeling depressed, and misunderstood, Pinky plans one last piece: a lethal performance art piece. But despite the terrible cost, the disturbing piece finally gains her the attention and praise she’s always wanted.
Pepper, of course, takes this badly. In an act of desperation and depression, she follows her girlfriend into death only to find that they’ve both ended up in Hell. Which sounds bad, except that in Hell, Pinky is doing way better than she ever did on Earth. She’s not just another torture victim, she’s a grim reaper in training.
The distinct personalities of Pinky and Pepper are defined early on in this comic. Though they may personally define themselves by their relationship to each other, it is quite clear to the reader that they are distinctly different people. Though both have their insecurities, Pepper has more of a direct, stubborn side. She sings at karaoke while Pinky only watches, in their S&M play she is the dominant partner. But while Pinky may be more insecure, she’s also more dramatic, lashing out and anyone and everyone when she disagrees with them or feels vulnerable.
Because their personalities were so clearly defined, it was easy to get a sense of their relationship and its weird dynamics. Like I mentioned before, they’re very codependent, and the whole time I couldn’t help but think about how unhealthy the situation was for the both of them. Instead of bringing out the best in one another, their relationship only seemed to amplify their own insecurities. In the beginning, it felt as though the story was trying to highlight and critique these aspects, but by the end, I got the feeling that I was supposed to root for them while they spend eternity together talking out their issues. Though I loved the concept for this comic, I couldn’t help but wonder what either of them was really getting out of this relationship and why they were so determined to stick together.
Though I found the relationship troubling, I loved the art. Each page is bright, with vibrant colours and full of energy. Bright pink, purple, orange, and green pop off the page and with very little black space the artwork has an almost psychedelic feel. I also liked the way Atoms placed with space. Some pages use a conventional panel structure, while others use the panels more as suggestions and other forgo them all together.
The majority of the comic is done in coloured pencils and there is some sculpture mixed in. Neither of these methods are ones I see frequently, so it made the comic unique, unlike anything else in stores right now. It’s something that will jump off the shelf/screen at you and keep your eyes busy even on a second or third reading.
Somehow managing to be both adorable and disturbing, Pinky & Pepper Forever is a wild ride of a story. It’s dripping with drama and extreme emotions. Their relationship may be troubling, but the illustration is so inventive and colourful it doesn’t matter. Once you start reading you won’t be able to look away.