Scooter Girl #1-6 (2003/04)
by Chynna Clugston-Major

Chynna Clugston-Major seems incapable of making a bad comic … even her vaguely suspect mainstream-publisher forays (she's done a Spider-Man story for Ultimate Marvel Team-Up as well as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I was particularly challenged to purchase).

But Blue Monday, which is her babiest baby, is so damn good that one can excuse the need to collect a paycheck now and then, and moreover, the Spider-Man and Buffy stories were uncompromised and unconventional, really no different from her work for Oni Press. In any event, following Scooter Girl was no challenge at all; it was essential.

Blue Monday delightfully tracks the foibles and follies of a group of late-80s high school hipsters, with a serious Mod fixation and the most passionate referencing of pop music ever employed in a comic. It's slapstick, yet vulnerable, the comics equivalent of John Hughes's Sixteen Candles.

Scooter Girl is more like Some Kind of Wonderful or Fresh Horses, which is to say, a bit more mature, a bit darker, a bit less overtly hilarious, but still channelling half-remembered teenage ghosts that harbor inside us all.

Chynna's style is perfectly unique, a weirdo amalgam of Japanese manga art (with sudden, explosive distortions of physical reality to connote emotion), and this continues in SG, but with a more realistic bent than Blue Monday. It's feverishly inspired, sarcastic, and some of the freshest shit you'll encounter on the shelves of your local comic shop.

The story concerns Ashton Archer, ladykiller, Vespa knight, hipster DJ extraordinaire, descendent in a long line of man's-man bastards unaccustomed to not getting what they want.

Ashton's world is idyllic (and soulless) until he meets his match in Margaret Sheldon, mankiller, Vespa princess, hipster DJ extraordinaire, dancing queen – the girl everyone wants and no one gets. And she turns the normally cool Ashton into a blubbering klutz barely capable of wiping his own ass.

From the first moment, you know the two will end up together, but you'd be hard-pressed to predict the increasingly dark complications that block their union – not the least Ashton coming to believe that Margaret is the new soul in a long-standing family curse that has been the downfall of all the Archer men for centuries, whereupon Ash decides he must murder the Scooter Girl!

It's good fun, a bit belabored (really seems like it could have been wrapped up more tightly in four issues), and the murder plot in particular seems like a wrongheaded diversion that simply amounts to filler. But Scooter Girl is still fine Chynna … eek, I definitely didn't set out to make that pun, but there you have it.

Review by Kermit Ash