Comic Book Review – ApocalyptiGirl
By: Andrew MacLean
Well, to be fair, let’s start with the whole, not-really-web-or-title-friendly title of the book, ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times. My fingers stumble and seem a bit lost every time I try to type “ApocalyptiGirl,” and just in this review alone, I’m already past three. ApocalyptiGirl. ApocalyptiGirl. I just can’t seem to get the hang of it. It looks like a cool word. An interesting word. Anyway, let’s move on.
“ApocalyptiGirl” is a relatively short venture, checking in just shy of 90 pages. That said, writing and drawing your own 90 page comic is no small task, so before we even discuss what I thought of it, it’s worth taking a moment to note that MacLean did just that.
Of all the things I could say about this book, unique is definitely the adjective I would start with. The art is, well, a little difficult to explain, so I’m glad for the visual aid of the preview images. I’m not even positive that this went through traditional pencil, ink, color processes, but at least for the sake of review, I’ll stick to those basics to help identify the various sections of the art.
The pencils are very minimalistic not offering a ton of detail on things like facial features, textures, etc. They are a certainly cartoony, but in more of a skewed, exaggerated, and flat view on the world than a bubbly, shaded approach. The inks are often broadly stroked, but quite prevalent as they trace out more nuanced details in the surroundings and add some amount of depth. The colors are very.
Just that, the colors are very. There isn’t a lot of shading and things are often quite solid. A pool of blood is a large, red pool; the end. The colors are certainly themed, however, with reds, yellows, and oranges occupying large spaces during battles. Calm times are often blue and mauve. Danger is black and violet. Safety is white and baby blue. The outside world at peace is green and brown. All flatly so. You get the idea.
Now, I’m not saying all, or really any of this is bad. It’s actually quite good, but in a way that you’re not used to seeing art be good. Which makes it both a strikingly out of the ordinary approach, but also not the easiest, at least for me, to quickly reconcile.
The story is. Honestly, I’m not sure what the story is. It is. I can describe what it’s about; it chronicles a few days of a woman’s life, with her cat beside her (sometimes… he’s skittish). There’s quite a history to the ruined world she is on. We get a good amount of that history by way of sorts of brief riddles and extended metaphor.
I can’t particularly say it’s a good world, or an evil one at that. It was civilized at some point, but seems to be no more. Mostly. Partially. To some degree. I’m pretty
sure that Aria is a good person. I mean, other than the killing and the explosions and potentially the purpose of her mission on this planet. Her mission is to follow… things. I’m not really certain if the things are close or far or mobile or static. If she were to find it, would it be intentionally or accidentally? Even having read the book, I still can’t answer these questions.
It seems that I’m actually pretty limited in what knowledge I am able to impart about the book, which is kind of unfortunate, given the typical purpose of a review. I can say I like the book. That I was occasionally bored by the extensive exposition. I mean, the whole book is exposition, save for a bit at the end. I’m not particularly fond of that, but I somehow still have a good feeling about the book? I’m not sure. I aimed to step outside of my usual comic types on this review, and I can say that happened, fiercely. So the point here is, the book is definitely unique, and I’m pretty sure I liked most of it, but when it comes to explaining what the book is, or why it is something I do or don’t like, I find myself in the same position as when I try to type the title. ApocalyptiGirl. ApocalyptiGirl. I got one of those without a typo for the first time. I’m not sure what that means….
Score: Mauve / 7