Electric Girl, Vol. 1 |
by Michael Brennan
(Mighty Gremlin, 2000)
Michael Brennan is a strange man. His Electric Girl, Vol. 1 features gremlins, vengeance-driven zombies, mad scientists and young women with powers beyond the reach of common humanity.
And it's suitable for all ages.
There's not one story in Electric Girl that wouldn't make fine bedtime reading for any child old enough not to eat the book. Virginia, the electric girl of the title, is also an unrelentingly normal girl, despite the oddness that her gremlin experimenter keeps throwing her way. Her electrical powers could short out city blocks, but she uses them to recharge batteries and change the TV channel. Oogleeoog is, in compliance with gremlin law, a force for constant chaos in Virginia's life, but he's also a concerned friend, always willing to lend a hand, if not ever in the way Virginia might wish. Killer robots lose their menace when controlled by a pants-wetting toddler named Timmy. And even zombies can be downright friendly when they need a ride to the greasy spoon that did them in.
That consistent friendliness is what keeps even the weirdest of Brennan's tales in the all-ages range. If, as has been said, fairy tales exist to tell children that dragons can be killed, Electric Girl reminds everyone that sometimes dragons just want a burger.
It's fun just to look at Brennan's artwork. Virginia and her friends are drawn with open, casual lines that perfectly reflect the basic innocence of her world. Brennan's easy curves create a softness often lacking in black-and-white work, and the book's color gallery shows a natural pallet that matches the story's sunny outlook.
However it's drawn, however many robots roam its streets, the world of Electric Girl is essentially our own. There are traffic jams and college exams and every other kind of daily aggravation. But that's just the surface stuff. Like Oogleeoog, Michael Brennan is ready to remind us all that with a little daring, life offers more adventure, and maybe more kindness, than we can ever expect.
by Sarah Meador