|My Dead Girlfriend
||[Feb. 28th, 2007|03:07 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
My friend Stefan gave me a copy of Eric Wight's manga, My Dead Girlfriend, Vol. 1, for my birthday. Wight, apparently, did a comic book adaptation of The Escapist from Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and is also the guy who does all the drawings that are supposed to be Seth Cohen's on The O.C.
Despite its alarming title, My Dead Girlfriend is actually really cute and fun. It opens with a hilarious monologue by Finney Bleak, the protagonist, talking about how everyone in his family -- past, present and future -- is cursed to die a truly ridiculous death, with some funny examples thrown in of ancestors' preposterous demises. Turns out the monolgue is actually a report he's giving in front of his class at Mephisto Prep.
Aside from the family curse, Finney's the only "normal" kid at Mephisto. All the others are vampires, mummies, witches, werewolves, ghosts, Frankenstein monsters, etc., all divided up into cliques. Finney doesn't fit in anywhere, so when he meets the portentously named Jenny Wraith at the local carnival, he's finally found someone he can connect with. Or so he thinks.
Wight's writing is cute, funny, compelling and snarky. Maybe a little too snarky. Teenagers can certainly be sharp and sassy, but it never rings true to me when they make snaps that involve, say, the casinos at Monte Carlo or Jackson Pollock, as they do here. A real teenager's vocabulary is much more limited -- you're more likely to hear "oh my God" or "that's so stupid" than references to pop culture phenomena from twenty years ago. (Veronica Mars, one of my favorite shows, is guilty of this too. In fact, most YA is.)
Still, it's a fun, quick read, and I recommend it for anyone who likes YA, manga and/or classic monsters reimagined as high school cliques. As Joss Whedon says in his blurb, "[My Dead Girlfriend is] a warped, macabre view of high school that is absolutely accurate -- except for the weird fantasy element of having a girlfriend."