Nowhere Girl

OK, I like Web comics. Some of them are better than the tripe doled out by daily papers, and often more relevant to the times we live in. I also dig comic books (go to your local comic book shop and drop a couple bucks on artsy, escapist goodness). So what happens when you find a really fantastic Web comic and mix it with the sweet indie vibe of a comic book? You get Nowhere Girl. Written and drawn by Justine Shaw, Nowhere Girl steps away from the comic-as-an-art-form stereotype. There are no talking animals, nor is there super-powered goofballs running around in spandex (or lack thereof). Also missing is the ultra-violence and/or extreme oddity of regular independent comic publishing. It's fair to say that the artwork has an anime influence, but not so much that you're dealing with pointy chins and schoolgirl outfits every third panel. This comic is very noir, and the art complements it as such. Gripping is a good word, so I'll use that. The plot isn't your run-of-the-mill comic fodder, either. This is a novel with lots of stellar pictures. The characters are real people, drawn as real people and dealing with some real shit. You know — life. In this case, specifically, sexuality. Chapter One (which is currently up and running) centers on Jaime. In her late teens, she's trying to figure out who she is and where she fits into the world. Cliche, right? Ah, no. Shaw takes you through a whirlpool of emotions because that's what life is like. There are no pat answers and all the endings aren't happy. This ain't no After School Special. It's an honest, it's real, and it's better. Much, much better.

—Patrick J. Graney

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