Thursday, September 5, 2013

Review - Girl & Boy

"Together we fight crime and loneliness."

Juliet died for Romeo when she thought he was dead. Hit Girl went ballistic in Kick-Ass the movie when her father was killed. Women react differently when someone they love is taken away from them or moves on. How they deal with the change often defines them, fairly or unfairly. Andrew Tunney's Girl & Boy seeks to shed some positive light on the female side of things in a very refreshing work.

Girl & Boy is written and illustrated by Tunney.

Love (like some superheroes) knows no bounds. It's something that can make or break anyone and--more often than not--does both at one point or another. Girl is a superhero, Boy is a sidekick. Together, the two fight crime and make love, seemingly enjoying each other's company and madly infatuated with one another. Sometimes though, that's not enough, as things change in their relationship, bringing them both to realizations about the other.

Tunney's story is so brilliant in its simplicity. The metaphor of the crimefighting relationship is very obvious as a romantic relationship, but where the book excels at is Girl's growth throughout. She's someone so blinded by love in the entire issue that she doesn't really see Boy's actions coming and it's a scenario that plays out all too often in real life. There's a sense of empowerment on the part of Girl though, refusing to take his actions without a fight and proving to him why she's the hero and he's the sidekick. It's such a poetic and visceral retelling of one of the oldest (if not the oldest) stories in all of time: girl meets boy, girl falls for boy, girl gets hurt by boy.

There's very much a Medea feel to the book, but the way Girl implements her scorn is by knocking Boy down, both figuratively and literally. She strips him of his ability to be a hero (even if he was just a sidekick), effectively proving that she's the stronger person in the relationship and doesn't have to take anything from him. Or anyone else for that matter. It's a very powerful message for women who feel as if they're resigned to suffering because of who they're with. A woman in a bad relationship can be a hero who gracefully rips the dignity from the man if he doesn't treat her right. It's a point in the story that feels so satisfying after half the book showcases the pair's sheer bliss with one another.

For a book that's black and white, Tunney does a marvelous job with the art. Rain is pervasive throughout, as if portending a story that's going to be an ongoing mess. The characters are illustrated with lean and slender looks, yet the two definitely complement one another. There are really powerful panels that focus on shoes, symbols or simple actions, all of which really drive home the emotion of the two main characters. The illustrations really bring the reader into the fold, giving them a front row seat to the events as the play out. There's just the right amount of subtlety and knowing when to show the reader what that really makes the book feel intimate.

Girl & Boy isn't a new story; rather, it's a retelling of a timeless story. Tunney gives Girl all the moxie though, instilling in her a sense of defiance. She's defiant in the face of being mistreated and shows why she's not one to be trifled with. She does so in one of the simplest ways possible: she demotes Boy and takes away his position of power, while she's comfortable in the fact that she'll continue to be Girl, a hero. It's such a great tale of confidence in the face of adversity that everyone should check it out. Definitely worth the time.

Girl & Boy is available via comixology.


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