“GINGERBREAD GIRL” is one of those very satisfying graphic novels that Top Shelf Productions does so well. The talents of artist Colleen Coover and writer Paul Tobin create this delightful exploration into the life of a mysterious young woman, Annah Billips, as she struggles with issues of self and inner self.
Coover’s art is so inviting that the characters will have you at hello. With such delicate yet confident lines, Coover brings to life Annah, a spitfire who may stumble but who gets what she wants whether it is a boy or a girl or all the sympathy in the world from everyone she encounters whether it be a convenience store clerk, a small time magician, a pigeon or a bulldog. And, throughout, we get a taste of Portland, Oregon. PDX is as much a character as any other here. There’s the hipster world to contend with, like the latest penis art at the local gallery as well as relaxing walks through familiar parks and streets.
Chili Brandals is the young woman in love with Annah Billips. She let her hair grow into an afro all for the sake of Annah, who loves afros. She doesn’t really know where she stands with Annah but she’s happy to keep trying. “Throw bread crumbs at pigeons and they’ll flock to you in droves. Throw a bread loaf at them and they’ll scatter.” This is part of Chili’s explanation for why she doesn’t push Annah on answers to questions that Annah probably couldn’t answer anyway. Chili dismisses her analogy on keeping some mystery in a relationship. It’s actually quite nice. Paul Tobin has worked his magic with his writing and tapped into the bittersweet of young love.
As with many a young romance, Chili and Annah take a long time in establishing their relationship only to find that it is most likely doomed to end. So, despite all the searching for Annah’s secret twin, the story is essentially about Chili and Annah. Will they make it in the long run? Will Chili at least help Annah through her current crisis? Well, they’ll always have Portland and the silly magician and that year they searched for the Gingerbread Girl.
You can read this comic over at the Top Shelf site and you can totally own the book too. It’s a very nice fancy bound trade, 112 pages, for only $12.95, or get your own handy digital copy. Check it out!