Mary Shyne’s Get Over It is a graphic novel shot out of a cannon. Rendered in crisp black and white, and vibrant orange the book is intensely kinetic, moves at a breakneck pace, but is also deeply heartfelt. Shyne expertly creates a brand new magical sci-fi world in a handful of pages and then builds on that to flesh out an even more complex inner one for her multi-ethnic cast. The end result is a book whose energy and fantasticism will instantly grab young adult readers while its deeply human depiction of the way our fears can turn us into monsters will resonate with readers of all ages.
The story begins at high speed and high volume as teenaged food courier Leslie blasts through the intricately drawn streets of New York City on her bike having just stolen a cat from a customer who didn’t tip. As she does so, her exposition quickly acclimates the reader to her supernatural ability to see the incorporeal beasts that are projections of everyone’s emotions. These phantasmal creatures dubbed “miasma”, range in size from tiny animal familiars all the way up to panel-filling Kaiju-esque monstrosities; Shyne’s cartooning giving each miasma a ton of personality through both their otherworldly orange hue and their outsized, untethered-from-gravity performance. The strongest of which belongs to the goofy eyed alligator-faced serpent that coils around Leslie’s father, mimicking his rapid shifts from anger to paternal concern when it comes to his daughter.
The action dramatically kicks up when Leslie’s next delivery has her coming into contact with a super-science power glove that lets her do battle with malignant miasma. She is forced into battle with the giant-tongued, multi-eyed demon monster that manifested out of the bad feelings the recipient of Leslie’s delivery had after breaking up with her boyfriend. Bashing – and with a little help from her feline companion Kat Stevens – clawing her way into the miasma monster’s stomach Leslie falls through a collage of super-science researcher Hazel’s memories. Finally putting a stop to the beast by breaking Hazel out of the pit of her negative emotions. Shyne choreographs this and other sequences of Leslie in combat with the miasma with the same velocity and symphony of block lettered onomatopoeia as she does scenes of her riding her bike through traffic. Leslie’s body effortlessly tumbles and explodes through panels as the miasma monster’s squash and stretch in reaction. Yet all of it feels weighty and impactful, with later scenes on the street demonstrating amazing physicality in the way Shyne renders the miasma wrecking cars and tearing up the street.
Even stronger than her ability to put action on the page is Shyne’s deft touch when it comes handling the inner lives of her cast. In a nice combination of the two, the conceit of making the invisible visible via the miasma allows Shyne to turn the complex turmoil brewing between Leslie and her father into an action set-piece. So that while her father initially seeming like an overbearing tyrant it is later revealed that with Leslie at the tail end of high school he is terrified of losing her when she goes off to college. The emotional monster this fear has made him into becomes literal and rampages through the city. But when Leslie delves into her father’s inner demons and confronts the intergenerational cycles of repression that threaten to consume him, Shyne perfectly nails portraying him as a sympathetic character who is nonetheless in the wrong. It is palpable to the reader how his pain and his struggles could have grown into a miasmic hydra that is pushing away the person he loves the most, but just as moving is Leslie’s pain of having her identity squashed by her over bearing father.
While she has been working on it for the last few years, Shyne chose to release Get Over It as a complete volume rather than incrementally. In doing so she has in one fell swoop established herself as one of the most hyper competent cartoonists working in indie comics today. Visually stunning, an emotional heart punch, fast, funny, frenetic… the book’s themes and approach are broad enough to appeal to a mass audience yet bursting with the kind of unruly spirit you can only get when an artist truly enacts their vision. Highest recommendations.
Mary Shyne (W/A) • Self-Published, $15.00
Review by Robin Enrico