Saturday, December 23, 2023

45 Days Of CCS, #23: Meg Selkey

Another artist who had an entry in the recent ShortBox Comics Fair, Meg Selkey's Sofa King is a keenly-observed anecdote about the ways in which children speak to each other. Specifically, it's a power struggle on the pettiest of levels, and so finding new kinds of ammunition can be crucial in improving one's social standing. This short, black & white depends on Selkey's character design, facial expressions, and especially body language in communicating the complexity of these kinds of interactions. 

Awkwardness pervades what should be a fun filming session for a bunch of girls doing a lip-synch to the Cheetah Girls. Krishna is a last-second replacement because Cora, the queen bee of the bench, has her foot in a cast. As such, Cora insults her and demeans her, even as her friend tries to comfort her without angering Cora. Krishna retreats to use the bathroom (and is sent on an errand), only to encounter Cora's sneeringly obnoxious older brother Josh and his cretinous friends. Selkey's understanding of the psychology of boys is every bit as keen as her ability to convey how girls talk, and the results are not pretty. Josh, like Cora, enjoys making demands on someone he sees should be easy to push around. Unlike Cora, his goal is sexual humiliation, as he demands that she say the phrase "sofa king" because the result would be her saying something unintentionally dirty. The dawning realization of what she almost did and the sinister understanding of how this could be weaponized reveal that adolescence is a war, and war is hell. Selkey's pacing, cartooning, and careful use of detail make me want to read a bunch of these kinds of stories. 

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