Blue Monday: Painted Moon #1
Written and Drawn by Chynna Clugston-Major
saw read something last week that got me thinking:
is the real Golden Age of Comics.
before have so many exciting writers and artists been creating
so many envelope-pushing books at the same time. Every single
month, I discover a ton of brilliant new underground mini-comics,
independent graphic novels, “mature reader”
ongoing series, and even mainstream superhero books. Like
cinema during the ‘70’s, the industry may be
struggling, but the medium is firing on all cylinders.
-Brian K. Vaughan
is kinda how I feel about Blue Monday. The material won’t
necessarily make you swap religions or orgasm with every
turn of the page (though results could vary from reader
to reader), but it represents the kind of book you could
only put out in this day and age: a post-modern, eighties-loving,
manga-influenced girls’ romance comic sprinkled with
cussing and cartoony violence.
Painted Moon mini picks up from Absolute Beginnners, where
Bleu’s friends Alan and Victor destroyed her miserable
excuse for a social life by video taping her taking a bath
then broadcasting it on cable access. Unfortunately for
Alan, this ruined his planned date with Bleu, but it also
presents an opportunity for Victor to kiss up and eventually
ask Bleu out himself… if only he didn’t keep
accidentally giving her shaken cans of soda and wildflower
bouquets filled with hornets.
and then there’s the little problem of him also liking
Bleu’s friend Clover.
then there’s the other problem of Bleu having a psycho
crush on her teacher.
of magic exists in this kind of story. That odd little innocence
of teenage love. It’s strange, but once the world
of sex and dating has intruded into our lives, it takes
a long time to regain the fantasies of perfect love or needing
that one specific person to be with you.
connects to us with her shy innocence, but, unlike so many
girly comics of the past, these kids are lovably jaded.
Cynism counterbalanced by hope. You almost want to call
them a cooler version of Archie’s gang, except they’re
SO much cooler than those Riverdale dorks the comparison
falls flat. These are the little brats who know Hot Topic
is where high school punkers are “supposed to go”
but would never be caught dead in one.
Clugston-Major makes the whole thing so cool, you feel a
little unworthy of diving into their world. The character
designs are pretty enough you almost wonder how they can
be school outcasts. And I don’t think I’ve ever
seen anyone dressed as a mod in real life, but, sure enough,
you can find them here, and they fit in perfectly. Top it
off with Major listing eighties song titles during scenes
(setting the mood with a soundtrack, if you will), and her
world seems to challenge you to try to find a place to fit
this isn’t one of those pretentious, self-centered
“girl power” kinda books nobody ever bought
in the nineties. Blue Monday aims to entertain you and draw
you into the drama. It just doesn’t want to give you
the same watered-down slush the genre is often associated
with. It wants to be witty, literate, off-beat, personal,
funny, and humane. But it also wants you to come along for
like Vaughan says, this is evidence that we are truly in
the Golden Age. I don’t think there’s been any
prior point in time when a book just like this would be
printed. Except maybe as an underground… but then
it’d need more boobs (conversely, as a man-hating
indie it’d need more… well, man-hating).
like this prove what a special era it truly is for the comic
reader. So cherish, my friends, and know that times aren’t
so bleak as you might have thought.