Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Clubbing, vol. 1

By Andi Watson and Josh Taylor
Released by Minx, of DC Comics

Slugline: Why is it that goth girls have to face undying horrors from beyond who want to snack on the world? Why not wholesome Midwestern farm girls?

We are going to do something a little bit different here, we are going to talk about Clubbing, a title from DC Comics' Minx line that is aimed at girls. While not a manga, it is certainly trying to aim at the same demographic and there is some crossover potential, or at least DC Comics is hoping that there will be.

Charlotte Brook is a goth girl from the West End of London who has been banished from the city for trying to pass a fake ID. She has been sent off into the country to work at her grandparents' golf course and play as dumb as humanly possible in order to sneak out of said work as much as possible. But her hopes for a quickly passing summer are dashed when one of the neighborhood ladies is killed. Charlotte and the groundskeeper's son Howard, who is the only male in town under the age of 50, try to understand what is going on, what that strange symbol was on the murdered woman's neck, and what connection Charlotte's grandparents have to the whole mess.

Both Andi Watson and Josh Howard are well known US creators, with Josh Howard's Dead@17 title being one of the popular horror titles of recent memory, but here the story just does not jell together properly. It feels like there were several pages missing -- not that there were actual holes in the storyline, but instead moments when the whole ending seemed rushed and tacked on after a leisurely exploration of the world that Charlotte found herself in. The conclusion feels unsatisfying, as in afterwards I am still not sure what exactly Charlotte did in the book to be the protagonist. Was she just the observer of the action going on around her, or was she actually part of the story? I came away uncertain of that very basic fact.

Still, the art and dress style were fun, and the language, if not accurate, sounded right and seemed to fit the goth attitude better than most. There were a couple good character moments, especially over whether or not Charlotte was actually goth enough or a poseur when confronted by the countryside goths, and the use of British slang was enough to make you realize that you were actually in a different country without being so heavy that you had a hard time following it.

Clubbing, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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