Friday, 13 September 2013

Minx Reviews: Confessions of a Blabbermouth

Hi guys - sorry for the silence! I've been preparing for a milestone in my career: having my first ever short graphic story published! So in honour of that I present to you my next Minx Review, the graphic story Confessions of a Blabbermouth written by Mike Carey and his daughter Louise Carey and illustrated by Aaron Alexovich.

Confessions of a Blabbermouth is about teen blogger Tasha whose mother moves in her new boyfriend, Jed, and his boring daughter Chloe. Jed is a writer, something Chloe also aspires to be which severely puts Tasha's nose out of joint when Chloe applies for the same job as Tasha on the school paper. Tasha takes to her blog to air her grievances about Chloe, even if what she says isn't true, causing all sorts of mayhem however from the flames of animosity friendship might still bloom.
I think the thing that stands out most about Blabbermouth is Jed. He most definitely can be added to the Minx douchebag list. He starts the story a minor douchebag and finishes, not redeemed but as a super douchebag (only enhanced by Aaron's ability to make him look like a crazy man)! As someone who doesn't really get on with their mother's partner I find it strangely satisfying though I can also see how it might feel weird. We are forever being sold realistic stories where the step-parent is miss-portrayed as the villain and that it is actually the hero(ine)'s grudge where the problem lies (compared to fairy tales where the step-parent is always evil). It's kind of nice to know that sometimes the problem IS with the grownup and that the teenage protagonist isn't just being hysterical! Jed, however, is a bit of a super villain in a what is supposed to be a realistic story. He is a character designed purely to be disliked and I think if you cannot empathise with someone who doesn't get on with a step-parent you will find him too one dimensional. Jed being a nogoodnik whilst Tasha and Chloe cement a relationship does cause for a strange ending. It makes you wonder how their future will be able to continue when surely if Jed is removed Chloe will also have to make an exit.
The second most obvious thing is that ever present lesson: be careful what you say in the Internet! Back when I was Tasha's age I had a livejournal where I wrote every little thing that popped into my head. I shudder just to think about it now! But that's how the Internet was back then, you were in your personal little space not realising the whole of the world could read it if they so chose. Of course the Internet's a little different now, blogs are usually themed and feature informative articles such as this one (hehe), all grievances are saved for Facebook and instant messengers and though I steer away from both I'm pretty certain all it takes for an unwise word to go nuclear is for one not so friendly friend to re-share it.
Teenage girls are always going to gossip. It's a fact. And things will always be said as fact that are actually pure feeling and opinion. This is one of the book's best lessons for both Tasha and Chloe - learning to actually get to know a person before judging them - but to be fair that's one of the hardest lessons we all need to learn! In a sense Tasha is lucky that she unites with Chloe over a common cause. If that had not existed and Chloe had been completely innocent Tasha would have come across as a complete bitch. I most definitely don't recommend bitching about someone you see as a threat as a way of becoming best buddies!
The art is by kimmie66 artist and writer Aaron Alexovich and is much more realistic (for him) so as to suit the realistic setting. It definitely feels like a good access point for his art as the characters contain his trademark level of expression without appearing too stylised. Tasha is hyperactive, Chloe always seems to be carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and Jed is terrifying! It's also very curious to see a British secondary school through the eyes of an American artist. I especially loved how he managed to express various students through how they wore their ties.
Unlike the other Minx titles Blabbermouth is the one most purely enjoyable by teenage girls only thanks to it being half-written by one such creature! If you have never experienced the highs and lows and emotional rushes of being a teenage girl you just won't get it. Characters over-react, the go into moods for no reason, do completely unreasoned things and see other characters either as purely good or purely bad...which is how it is as a teenage girl. It won't make for the best reading experience if you are looking for some classic Mike Carey but if you're a girl and you just want someone to empathise with then you could do much worse than read Confessions of a Blabbermouth.

You'll like Confessions of a Blabbermouth if you like:
Re-Gifters, Gossip Girl, Mean Girls, The Parent Trap, Step Brothers, trashy talk shows and a bit of cheeky gossip blogging.

You'll like Confessions of a Blabbermouth if you don't like:
Your step-dad.

Selected graphic novels also by Mike Carey:
Lucifer, The Sandman Presents: Petrefax and The Furies, various Hellblazer volumes, Batman: Gotham Knights #37: "Fear is the Key", Detective Comics #801-804: "The Barker: When You're Strange", My Faith in Frankie, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, various Crossing Midnight volumes, God Save the Queen, Faker #1-6, Re-Gifters, The Unwritten, Ultimate Elektra: Devil's Due #1-5, Spellbinders #1-6, various Fantastic Four volumes, various X-Men volumes, Ultimate Vision #1-5, Ender's Shadow, The Torch #1-8, Thor: Wolves of the North, Sigil #1-4, Red Sonja #0-6, Vampirella: Revelations, Wetworks: Worldstorm, Voodoo Child and The Stranded #1-5.

Novels also by Mike Carey:
The Devil You Know, Vicious Circle, Dead Men's Boots, Thicker Than Water, The Naming of the Beasts and The Steel Seraglio (co-written with Linda Carey and Louise Carey).

Also by Aaron Alexovich:Eldritch!, Serenity Rose and kimmie66.

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