Tuesday, 16 August 2016
How to Talk to Girls at Parties Review (Neil Gaiman, Fabio Moon)
Set in 1970s In-ger-lund, two teenagers - Vic, the confident, handsome ladies’ man, and Enn, his awkward, inexperienced friend and our narrator - go in search of a house party and find one. But is it the right one? And who are all these strange girls?
Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba continue the trend of adapting Neil Gaiman short stories with How to Talk to Girls at Parties from his Fragile Things collection. And I can see why publishers continue to do this when the results are so good!
I won’t give away the twists in the story but if you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s not what you think it is. It sort of is in one sense and totally not in another. The ambiguity might bother some readers but I liked it - you could interpret it as a clever, realistic way of how boys and girls interact as teens, or you could believe the fantastical direction Gaiman takes it, but the truthful nuggets Gaiman sprinkles throughout are what makes this work. I’m sure I’m not the only one who read this who could relate to Enn!
The story has an eerie, bittersweet aftertaste to it which makes me wonder why it has that. Is it pure nostalgia and sentiment on behalf of the narrator who’s now a lot older - or has something happened since to this world… Either way, Gaiman once again proves the best medium he writes in is the short story.
Brazilian twin brothers Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba’s artwork is wonderfully vibrant. They are the best artists I’ve seen at capturing the spirit of dancing on the page and I really enjoyed the watercolours throughout.
As you’d expect given the source material, it’s a really short read - basically two issues long - but otherwise How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a great comic that explores and depicts teen courtship in a unique, poetic and imaginative way.