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Thoughts on Girls

Girls! The subject of a bunch of songs, paintings, and… uh, statues. Also, I’m not sure you know, but they also make up for a little over half the species! Girls isn’t about girls, not really, but it has plenty of Girls. Along with sex politics, naked alien women, brutal violence and assault on bear genitals.

A limited series by the Luna Brothers from around 2005, Girls follows a small town that has to deal with an invasion of unbelievably gorgeous, unbelievably murderous naked women. It’s not B-Movie grindhouse or exploitation; this is a pretty meaty character drama dressed up in sci-fi horror. Like The Walking Dead with naked ladies instead of zombies.

I just finished the complete collection yesterday, so I have some thoughts on it. Thoughts I’ll share with you now, if you’d indulge me. Don’t let the nudity fool you, these are going to be mature thoughts for mature readers. Elbow patches on our jackets and everything.

One of the biggest pillars holding Girls up is its character work. How each of them travel the spectrum of morality, how they interact with each other. For the vast majority, it’s actually really good. No one ever delves too deeply into “villainy” or “heroics”, everyone seems believable. Everyone seems human. At first.

See, one of my biggest issues is that these characters start out so… weird. Like cartoon versions of dramas. See, a big starting place for the drama is mistaken misogyny, but it’s such a huge overreaction from the town’s women and it happens immediately. It felt like the book was taking such a delicate, nuanced topic and ham-fisting it into oblivion. I nearly quit reading.

Luckily, as the story goes on and the situation grows dire the characters begin to change. We’re able to examine everyone’s issues, both women and men, in much more intimate detail. It feels more real and gives us an overall better experience. Which is frustrating. The conflicts didn’t need to be set up this way, in fact the whole premise is that they’re ingrained. It hurts the overall experience from the beginning.

I think the eponymous “Girls” make an interesting monster. There’s nothing overtly disgusting about them, nothing really alien or too otherworldly. Their power, their terror, comes from their allure. It’s easy to be terrorized by a xenomorph or zombie, but the horror of these Girls is much more subtle. They’re like zombies, but zombies you (if you’re a heterosexual man) want to be around. You, even your love ones, become enemies as well.

What is there to say about the art? It’s the Luna Brother’s art, you know what you’re getting. For me, it’s in a weird middle-space between good and amateur. The lines are super clean, the poses are really simple. There are a lot of repeated panels and many panels have no background. It’s serviceable, I suppose. It doesn’t detract from the experience.

Readers should also keep an eye out for the ending. I feel it may be too ambiguous for some people, though I may be wrong. Perhaps I’ve underestimated these “people”. Not to spoil anything, but nothing is really revealed or a grand plot foiled. You’re mostly here for the characters, not grand alien invasions.

If you’re a fan of Vertigo comics, if you like The Walking Dead comic or The Twilight Zone, I’d recommend you check out Girls. Is it a cult comic now? Is it a classic? I’m not sure how it has stood the test of time. Let me know what the current consensus is.

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