Death & the Girls takes us to an eerie, hallucinatory world of violence, vomit and voyeurism, all infused with the distinctive imagery of Mexican folklore.
Betsy, Bunny and Batstone – they’re the hard partying Nubian Sisters, never afraid of a tequila-based binge or of embracing the joys of hedonistic excess. But after a particularly extreme evening of alcohol consumption Betsy ends up in a threesome with a sentient washing machine and the spirit of Death itself. When the Grim Reaper subsequently becomes obsessed with his newfound object of lust, the girls are forced to flee his bony grasp across a surreal, psychedelic landscape that will see them encounter the undead denizens of a haunted swamp, an STD-infected God living in the freezer department of a supermarket chain, and an all-girl island society while trying to evade their gruesome pursuer…
U.K. small press fans may remember these characters from the second story in Todd’s original Death and the Girls self-published minicomic from a couple of years back. This hardcover return for the trio comes via the Blank Slate Books stable, a publisher that fans of Oliver East’s Trains are… Mint series, or the Chalk Marks imprint showcasing new talent, will know have specialised in bringing small press comics creators to a wider audience. Donya Todd, of course, is no stranger to Broken Frontier with our regular small press coverage having focused on both The Burger Boys and her anthology comic Bimba in the past.
Death & the Girls is more of Todd’s unashamedly self-indulgent approach to the comics page. While I am obviously not privy to the inner workings of a creator’s thought processes, from a reader’s perspective what Todd does rarely feels structured, considered or elaborately planned. But that’s its charm. It’s a crazy, gross-out, stream-of-consciousness kind of thing with characters jumping from one bizarre and usually outrageous predicament to another. The comedy is unrepentantly crude but utterly engaging throughout.
From the sample pages presented here you can get an idea of how Todd’s art is a delightful mix of the childlike and the disturbing. Her characters have that innocent, wide-eyed manga appeal but they inhabit an eerie hallucinatory world of violence, vomit and voyeurism, all infused with the distinctive imagery of Mexican folklore. It’s a reality where rainbow ponies and mouldering monsters sit side-by-side and where coarse humour is elevated to artform.
Death & the Girls is one of those books that you need to immerse yourself in, avoid over-analysing and just go with the over-the-top flow. An unrestrained and joyously irreverent piece of extravagance with an old school indie/underground feel to it!