Grrl Scouts by Jim Mahfood
I really like Jim Mahfood’s work. His art has this great, funky, angular, graffitti-cartoon vibe going on; his characters are visually unique and compelling; and there’s a ‘comics are fucking cool’ attitude to his work. Some of his one-pagers are very funny, as can be his autobiographical stuff. And, he’s a white boy who digs funky music and cool flicks, just like me.
However, Grrl Scouts doesn’t work for me. It tries too hard to be hip and cool, his three ethnically distinct lead girls being so implausible in their traits. I couldn’t handle one of the characters, the white girl who wants to be black, spouting lines like ‘This is da’ shit!! Saturday morning with the three essential Cs – coffee, cartoons, and — da chronic!!!’ before having the girls spout extended author rants on how cartoons brainwash kids.
Essentially, the story is about the three girls, who deal drugs to get by, and enjoy life in Freak City, before their lives are changed by the intervention of the Brotherhood of the Cracker and the Nykee Corporation, both of which should win special awards for total lack of subtlety. The girls retaliate, with extreme and over-the-top violence after a week (a week!) of training from one of the girl’s long-lost father, and win the day.
The whole thing feels very juvenile, with gratuitous joke about Daphne being a noisy, sweary girl during sex, which goes on three panels too long, followed by a spot of fourth-wall breaking, and even an appearance from Jim in the book himself. The white male fantasy of cool, sexy chicks with guns who take no shit and stand up to The Man felt, well, a bit sad. I bought the book because I enjoy Mahfood’s cartooning skills but felt rather disappointed in the result. I’m amazed it got a second series.