GIRL TOWN

Carolyn Nowak, Top Shelf Pro­duc­tions (SEPTEM­BER) Soft­cover $19.99 (160pp) 978-1-60309-438-2

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight | Debut Fiction - MYA ALEXICE

Carolyn Nowak’s Girl Town is an in­trigu­ing, mas­ter­ful cel­e­bra­tion of girls and girl­hood that hon­ors young women of ev­ery shape, color, and iden­tity with spell­bind­ing, vivid art.

Five self-con­tained comics uti­lize Nowak’s charm­ing, vi­brant il­lus­tra­tions to ex­pertly de­velop a one-of-a-kind plot. Comic-book medium aside, Girl Town is for girls who are at least in high school, as it ex­plores adult themes and im­ages.

In “Girl Town,” the hu­mor­ous pol­i­tics of a neigh­bor­hood feud come to light. The heart­warm­ing “Radishes” tells the story of two girls who play hooky and dis­cover the nearby fan­tasy mar­ket, while “Diana’s Elec­tric Tongue” chron­i­cles a love story be­tween girl and ro­bot. These are the col­lec­tion’s stand­out en­tries; each crafts a fa­mil­iar but quirky uni­verse with ex­pert world-build­ing. Tiger cafés in lieu of cat cafés; radishes with mys­ti­cal pow­ers—sub­tle but pow­er­ful cre­ativ­ity abounds.

Nowak plunges into the world of fem­i­nine friend­ships in earnest. The girls in this book are flawed, unique, and com­plex, just like real girls around the globe: They crack jokes, they make mis­takes, they fall in love. As they grow, each story puts forth univer­sal and nec­es­sary take­aways—ideas about ac­cept­ing your­self and oth­ers, mov­ing past trauma, or just re­mem­ber­ing to have fun. In ad­di­tion to their mean­ing­ful mes­sages, the sto­ries are laugh-out-loud funny. Pithy one-lin­ers and dead­pan hu­mor fill the pages, com­ple­ment­ing the col­lec­tion’s deeper side.

The art is truly gor­geous. Nowak il­lus­trates with clean, crisp lines to cre­ate fresh, charm­ing set­tings. Ev­ery­thing feels fluid; dy­namic char­ac­ters come to life. The skill­ful jux­ta­po­si­tion of pan­els and text al­lows for easy comprehension, and the color pal­ette varies from story to story, al­ways match­ing the at­mos­phere and tone.

Girl Town is a cere­bral, spir­ited work of art.

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