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Nerd Boner Alert: Does this Comic Make Me Look Fat? Lucille and other Comics for Girls

Outhouse Contributor Katie Hutchinson discusses prolific comics geared towards girls in the latest edition of Nerd Boner Alert!


As a librarian in charge of ordering all the juvenile and young adult books, I see a lot of webinars. Webinars for upcoming books. Webinars on how to integrate literacy into subjects like math and science. Webinars on how to get teens into your library. And so on. Many are boring. Some give me a few new tidbits of information. And few are exceptional.

Not long ago I was reminded why I watch webinars when I had the chance to take part in "How Graphic Novels Saved my Library." It was fantastic. I won't bore you with the library related details, but this is where I learned of the (at that time) upcoming release of Ludovic Debeurme's Lucille.

Lucille_coverFor those of you who have not been fortunate to read Lucille (I bought mine 20% off at a Borders), you need to. Originally published in France it received overwhelming critical acclaim, including the René Goscinny Prize and the Angoulême Essential Award. The basic premise is this: Lucille, an awkward sixteen year old, struggles with anorexia. She feels that she is so ugly that she would rather become so thin that she disappears rather than face the cruel world of judgmental boys whom she thinks will never date her. Little does she realize that there are several men that find her attractive, including a young man named Arthur (also called Vladimir). Vladimir himself struggles with his own issues; his alcoholic (and eventually deceased) father, OCD, his desire to fix Lucille, and anger issues. Lucille and Vladimir decide to leave their homeland of France behind for Italy where they hope to find happiness, only to realize that is something that might only happen in fairy tales.  

lucille_pageI don't want to spoil the ending if you haven't read it yet but it is a fantastic read and in my opinion Debeurme is a genius.   It's a relatively thick book, especially for a graphic novel (about 2.5", prompting me to humorously ask myself "does this comic make me look fat?" a totally inappropriate joke, I know, for a book about anorexia), but I breezed through it since it reads so smoothly. One interesting thing of note is that unlike traditional comics and graphic novels, Debeurme did not use any paneling. In addition, the illustrations are very simple; often there is no background or details. But despite the simplicity in the artwork, there is still tremendous depth in the facial features of the characters. As if you feel their pain and see their heartache.

Because of the love story between Lucille and Vladimir, as well as her issues with anorexia, Lucille is being marketed more towards teen girls and women. And while I don't think that's fair to the book and believe that anyone would enjoy the novel, it made me realize there really are not many graphic novels or comics specifically for us females. Not that's it's a surprise; comics have long been a boys club. So where else have we ladies snuck in?

persepolisOne graphic novel that stuck out in my mind as being pro-female is Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. Part One, The Story of a Childhood, was released in 2004 and took the world by storm, winning acclaim and prizes across the board. In my opinion, Satrapi used the graphic novel medium perfectly to tell the personal story of her life in Iran beginning when she was 10 years old with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 forcing her homeland into a religious state. The novel continues through the Iran-Iraq war and her eventual journey to Europe because her outspoken nature had made it too dangerous to stay. The first part became so popular that she released Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return in August of 2005 about her life during and after her stay in Vienna, her eventual return to Iran, and her now strained relationship with her parents. But once again, I see this as a novel that any gender would enjoy. One thing I know is that when Andrew Arnold of TIME magazine described the Persepolis as "sometimes funny and sometimes sad but always sincere and revealing" he was right. Once again, pick up this graphic novel if you haven't already.

In the end, we always have Wonder Woman. I might not personally be a huge fan of the DC Comic superheroine, but you cannot deny that she is a powerhouse female that did wonders for getting girls to read comics.

So female comic book readers, what turned you towards comics? Was it a strong female lead? And what other graphic novels can we offer to girls who might think the comic medium is "just for boys"? Leave interesting and creative responses below!

Also, everyone make sure to give BlueStreak, author of the Idiot's Guides here on The Outhouse, a big congratulations- next time he posts an article he'll be an old married man!

 

Written or Contributed by: Katie Hutchinson, Outhouse Contributor
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About the Author - Christian Hoffer


Christian Hoffer is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Hoffer is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.

 


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