Gloomcookie – 1-6
by Serena Valentino and Ted Naifeh
I was that kid back in high school. Hell, I'm still that kid now, but my clothes fit better. I dressed in too big, black t-shirts. I had vampire red hair, read JTHM, listened to obscure goth music"before it was cool", and had friends with names like Thorn and Storm who were bands called Septic Tumor and Darkissed. I knew that when Vermilion said he was playing Nosferatu: The Charade, he meant Vampire: The Masquerade. I stole the title of this post from a poem that a boy wrote to me in high school.
I thought I was exactly the target audience for this comic. Something I only realized later, when I'd grown up enough to cringe at my old, heartfelt poetry riddled with words like "crimson" and "betrayal", that it was also kind of making fun of me.
"Lex did not understand why Max didn't love her. She had big doe eyes with long dark lashes that she could bat better than anyone. She had raven hair cut into a bob that curled under just right. She went out to clubs with her girl friends always looking her best... but nothing she did seemed good enough because no one asked her out. And the guys who did were not the ones she hoped would ask her out."The prose and dialogue lovingly mock the verbosity of the over-read and under-socialized children of the night (no offense, I'm completely serious when I say that was me. We can be weird and awkward together). Every goth stereotype gets a moment in the spotlight in the stark black and white pages. It both romanticizes and satirizes goth culture in fairy tale style.
There's doomed love, metaphorical monsters made real, proverbial princesses waiting for princes in tarnished armor, evil queens, and demons. My favorite, though, is Sebastian. The boy with the overactive imagination, always seeing what isn't there and certain the monster under his bed is eating his girlfriends.
The biggest downfall of Gloomcookie is the dialogue and pacing. Don't get me wrong, the dialogue is, for the most part, well done. But in a post-Buffy world, I somehow expect all of my subtly magical people to be wickedly witty. The story occasionally seems to jump forward too fast. Sebastian goes from visiting a crazy carnival that looks just like the one he's been dreaming about where everyone knows his name, to leaving to find his father, whom he believes is at the carnival. It's not that it doesn't make sense, because it does. It's just that we only find out through Chrys, as she rants about it to Lex and Lindy after bitchily storming out of Sebastian's house for reason's left unknown until then. You know, typing it out, I feel like it's totally fine. But I swear it felt weird in the comic.
There was a very strong part of me that wanted to give Gloomcookie a five. Maybe it was nostalgia, maybe I just like the idea of it THAT much. Whatever compelled me to do it, I pushed down into my empty chest. And with my dark heart and jaded mind, I remembered that all things are innately flawed and gave it a four.