Despite this being the seventh issue from Team Girl Comic, a Glasgow-based collective of comic creators of various ages and backgrounds, it was my first encounter with the publication and one that was, pleasingly, largely positive. Anthologies are tricky to navigate, with contributions often see-sawing in quality, making it difficult to get any sort of narrative flow or consistency going -something this book manages rather well, despite the number of strips of varying length.
I spent some time thinking about whether to comment on the cover of this or not. I decided to include a mention, because this is a pretty decent issue of work, with a frankly bad cover that doesn’t do justice to the material within. I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here: the woman appears to be freeing herself of some sort of constricting device and declaring a statement of strength and intent, which is fair enough, but it’s abysmally drawn. The proportions are all off: her head is the largest part of her body, her legs are only slightly longer than her torso and her right lower leg is performing some sort of magic trick, perhaps to aid with balance.
TG #7 has good contributions, the better ones generally being the strips that have been given more page space: Pretty Ugly by Cacachute is a nifty 2 page commentary on men, women, self-perception and beauty. Gil Hatcher’s Bruises is the best thing here; her scene of two girls joining their mother in the garden for some sun and drinks achieves an emotional plateau absent from the rest of the book and has a distinct menacing undertone. One of the girls comments on the bruises on her mothers arm and a short, believable explanation is given: but the arrival of the (unseen) father at the close of the story offers a much different explanation. Hatcher envelopes all her character’s eyes in large black sunglasses hiding their eyes completely, the feeling is of a familiar scene often played out, one in which all act, but none believe.
I found myself enjoying Honeypears tribute/pastiche of 80’s girls boarding school comics, ‘The Jigsaw of Doom’ more than I expected to, perhaps because it’s a genre that gives so well to mocking, but she maintains a tricky balance between capturing the wraught emotional tone of those books and actual dramatic effect.But perhaps my favourite bit of TG #7 was Claire JC Stewart’s back cover strip on the wonders and hazards of Tumblr. I’m an enthusiastic user of that site and this was just bang on point and funny with it: I love how the girl pulls her friend close in the last panel for emphasis.
Overall, I liked this issue, although there was no obvious theme it felt cohesive and pulled together, displaying a range of work, artistic styles and tones that ensure the reader will find something to their liking. Very much worth a look.