This is Cleo and Trilby from Ross Campbell’s series Wet Moon:
I love this series, at first I’d look at the covers when I was at work and think “Wow, those are some hot girls”, then I read one. Istill thought “Wow, those are some hot girls”, but I also realised that Campbell’s girls sound, to me, like real girls. They bitch and squabble, and talk about nothing important at all for pages at a time, and they just hang out, they gossip. It feels like watching a reality show about a load of sort of goth girls, I’ve always had a hard time remembering that characters are just that, they are constructs, and Cleo, Trilby, Mara and the rest feel like real people to me. My face at the cliff-hanger at the end of volume two must have been amazing, I bought volume three just a few days later and volume 4 is on the way.
Much of the appeal is the art, the simple fact that Ross Campbell does draw hot girls, but not just that, they’re hot girls that have different body shapes, ethnicities, and most important – different faces! It’s sad that I’m used to telling who a girl is by her hair and costume, Campbell’s girls don’t need that, the only two I get momentarily confused by are sisters anyway. However, this is not without controversy, as this thread shows Campbell raising the question of whetherone of his characters is racist or offensive.
Having read three of the volumes I have only just come to a realisation that Wet Moon, certainly fictional, is also really rather surreal, but in such a way that it is only after stepping back from the book I even considered it. But what town is about 25% goths? It seems a small university town, but it has a goth club, a coffee shop called ‘Burial Grounds’, and two cemetaries, and nobody seems to think a one-armed girl taking photos of herself on the floor covered in dirt and rubbish is unusual. It’s a goths dream, which I think is rather the point. I know that at 15, when I actually looked a little bit like Cleo, I would have fallen in love with the town. As it is I think I want it to be real.
It feels bizarre being so obsessed with a book, it hasn’t happened in a while, Wet Moon really has filled my life for the last few weeks, and the way the girls, especially Cleo, are so obviously awkward about their bodies and themselves but then so amazing in their tiny shorts and little tops has made me think showing a bit of flesh now and then isn’t a big deal. Wet Moon is drawn by a man, it would be easy for me to talk about sexualisation, all Campbell’s girls are very sexy, and the male gaze, and so on, but it doesn’t feel that way to me, because the reader sees Cleo worrying about her hair or her weight and dressed up for a club, and just hanging out with her friends, so much of what is presented does not seem to be be through the male gaze at all, and I find myself wanting to the sometimes revealing outfits to be a sign of the character’s ownerships of their bodies. So, maybe I should prove I really am comfortable in my body, maybe wearing shorts in the summer instead of boiling in jeans won’t be such an issue this year. Maybe I’ll admit that, coveted by society as my body-type may be, I’ve not always been as confident about it as I should be.
I wish I had found Wet Moon earlier, I would have loved it, but I’ll settle for loving it now, and though this was really a bit too gushy it had a point, I love comics because they really do change the way I see the world, all books do, and this one helped me change the way I see myself a little, which is nice, and bizarely self-help-like.