There is no map uncertain to Miss behavior
We’ve all read or have been told fairy tales. Those cheerful and usually surprisingly dark things filled with anthropomorphic animals and weird humans and talking spoons that do the cha-cha. Or maybe that was just my childhood. Anyhoo, it takes a special kind of person to create new fairy tales for a world that is, in a very abstract sense, new.
Miss Lasko-Gross has an imagination that could completely own any dancing spoon, and I also kind of really want to be her best friend. She has a writing style that is derived of apathy, whimsy, and flowing ideas.
She started self-publishing her own comic series Aim in high school, and promoted the book by doing consignments with local comic book stores. Doing so helped her be a part of the comic book world and community, having more in common with the creators rather than the fans. It’s always nice to bond over something that involves a creative process, and all the heart, soul, and hair-pulling that goes along with it.
Miss has stated that creating graphic novels are lengthy and take a lot of hard work, so she does it for the love of it, and getting her stories out to the masses. Her book Escape From “Special”, is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story published by Fantagraphics, and revolves around the life of a girl named Melissa. I have a special place in my heart for Melissa, and through the pages we watch her question religion, bounce from school to school, disagrees with her therapist, and try to cope with the weird friendships between girls. Not exactly the most excepted from her peers, Melissa journeys to find herself by making comic books, watching horror movies, and simply surviving this weird thing called life. Published in 2008, Escape From “Special” snagged Miss a nomination for YALSA’s 2008 Great Graphic Novel Award.
A Mess of Everything, published in 2010 also by Fantagraphics, is a sequel of sorts. It revolves around Melissa as well, now in high school, and shows her dealing with many real world situations that young adults deal with today. She is the same non-conformist character, and copes with an anorexic best friend, a drug habit, and the accidental alienation of her friends with her stone-cold honesty. As well-received as its predecessor, A Mess of Everything was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Graphic Novels of 2010.
Last year, Miss’s book Henni was let loose to us all, and it follows the same dark, interesting, and mischievous vein as her other works. However, this story is a bit like a modern and dark fairy tale, and I wish it had been around when I was a wee kitten. Henni is an adolescent girl with cat ears and tail, like everyone in her village. After her father disappears, strange occurrences start happening, and it leads Henni to question the religious rules of her town, and wonder if rules are actually meant to be broken. Like all of Miss’s characters, Henni has an inquisitive nature, and in this case it gets her exiled. She then starts her voyage of learning and self discovery.
Miss’s books all have the same type of feel, but it leaves you wanting more. These are not books for the boring, and they spark questions about what surrounds you, and who you are as a person. Her book’s artwork is often done in similar art styles, with washes of grey and muted colors that compliment the stories perfectly. Henni is peppered heavily with blue, translating her dark and unknowing journey.
The recent exception to this is her newest work, The Sweetness. Let me just say that when I laid eyes on this cover, I was immediately reminded of the music artist Tobacco. If you don’t know him, your ears will thank me. The Sweetness is published by Z2, and is all about a pair of tough and, like Miss’s other characters, unconventional ladies who are trying to make a living pushing their mysterious drug to alien customers. Her husband Kevin Colden lays down the artwork for the series, and it fits Miss’s story perfectly. There is only one issue out so far, so grab it! Now now now!
The reason Miss is so amazing is that, well, there is no one reason. She has a mind that is ever-bursting with ideas of badass characters and a take on life that is quite unlike anything you’ll ever read. Her themes revolve around unorthodox people and thoughts, bringing life to questions that I think we all have pondered at night when our brains won’t let us go to sleep. Miss is a treat that is a little sour, a little sweet, and a whole lotta weird that won’t quit. Also, she only trusts people with weird haircuts, and how could you not love an artist like that.