ALL ages: a phrase guaranteed to make a lot of people run a mile. Images of Teddy Ruxpin or a Very Special episode of Blossom spring instantly to mind: the sort of assembly-line cheesefest that only the most brain-numbed could possibly go for.
Which is what makes Electric Girl so refreshing. Because not only is it all ages but it's also really, really good.
The basic idea is simple. Virginia is a college student with a loving family, an affectionate and staggeringly ugly dog and an invisible goblin friend called Oogleeoog. Oh, and she can control electricity.
Okay, maybe not that simple.
In the hands of a lesser creator, this would be Slacker/Superhero Comic Number 3408. However, Michael Brennan has done something far more intelligent with this, turning it into something quite unique in the modern Western comic market.
School Library Journal
This hilarious book details the unusual adventures of Electric Girl--a fairly normal teen who just happens to have the ability to store, conduct and discharge electricity. Electric Girl's faithful dog, Blammo, and imaginary gremlin, Oogleeoog, make the stories in the book even more fun and entertaining. Teenage girls especially like this book because Electric Girl is really a typical girl dealing with typical teenage problems, in addition to having to cope with everything that can go wrong when one has the power to discharge electricity at whim.
I'm very pleased to see that two books I've been screaming about since they started have been picked up by Ait/PlanetLar. Both Colonia and Electric Girl deserve wider readership. Electric Girl especially is the type of book that one falls in love with after just one issue. If you haven't read Electric Girl before, issue nine is a splendid place to start.
The set up: Virginia, a typical teenager, has electric powers. However, not living in a superhero world, she doesn't actually use them for many important things. The comic isn't about the superpower exactly. It's about a special but typical young girl's strange adventures growing up gifted.
In this issue, we focus on Virginia's dog Blammo, one of the cutest yet most realistic acting pets in comic bookdom. Blammo is your average little dog, with a knack for chewing things up and destroying things. He's hyperactive, smart, and yet cheerfully naive. Have I mentioned he's cute as heck without ever being cutesy?
Comics Worth Reading
Comic Book Resources
Michael Brennan's ELECTRIC GIRL is a charming book perfect for all ages. It takes the story of a person "charged" with fantastical powers and brings it down to a much smaller level. Virginia has the electric touch, but she's not out fighting crime with it. She's not devising a costume to go along with it. She's not seeking to use it to better the world. She's merely trying to learn to live with it, and to control it as best she can. The book is more like a slice of life series starring a girl with odd electrical powers. Of course, this isn't helped in the least by her traveling companion, the misanthropic invisible gremlin named "Oogleeoogg." (Whew, my word processor's spellchecker just went ballistic.)
While the stories are not superheroic at all, that doesn't mean that Virginia doesn't fight off enemies such as robots and robbers and dead people who've come back for vengeance. It just means that none of the associated cliches follow. Virginia keeps a lower profile and, with the help of her mischievous gremlin friend, manages to put together the situation and solve the problem before it escalates too far. The stories are inventive. While many bad things happen around Virginia (thanks to Oogleeoog's intervention) some of it happens just because of who she is. The most clever story, I thought, was the one in the fourth issue where the first humid day of the years has profound implications for Ginny. He hair's a mess. Everything she touches gets a shock. And her computer science final - well, that would be telling.
Comicology - Spring 2001
It's rare that I feel as though I'm reading something new anymore. But I had a welcome sensation of discovery reading Mike Brennan's Electric Girl.
Despite the serie's title, EG's focal character has no costume and does little crimefighting, but her powers are of the motherlodes mined for plotlines. Virginia was born 19 years ago with the ability - at times uncontrollable - to manipulate electricity, a blessing and a curse bestowed upon her by a gremlin named Oogleeoog*, invisible to 'most everyone or everything except for Virginia herself and members of the animal kingdom.
*(not exactly - Oogleeoog happened to be the first to notice Virginia's unique abilities - Mike)
The live-action sitcom version of
Electric Girl v1 TPB (Mighty Gremlin, $9.95)
Normally, when a book, movie or CD gets saddled with an all-ages tag, it guarantees dumbed-down, formulaic pap. In reality, it's not all-ages - it's for kids and non-discriminating adults.
But that's not the case with Electric Girl, a decidedly all-ages comic book. Brennan's effort stars a young girl with a talent for electrical mischief. The situations are definitely G-rated, but the creator makes sure to inject enough substance and twisted humor to attract the older crowd, too.
This 167-page volume brings together the first four issues of the series. The book starts a little shakily but ends strongly. With each new episode, Brennan gets better and better; his command of the medium becomes more and more assured. Sometimes his delivery is sugar-coated, and sometimes it's grisly. Either way, he's determined to keep his all-ages creation fresh and unpredictable.