By Chynna Clugston Flores and George Kambadais
Scooters, pixie haircuts, obsession, retro mod clothes: these are just a few of the things that make up the graphic novel Scooter Girl. This book oozes charm from the first page until the last with characters that are sharp, witty, and original and a story that will leave you surprised and on your toes. There are very few comics where the actual story is way better than you initial thoughts, and Scooter Girl from Chynna Clugston Flores and George Kambadais is one of those precious few.
Clugston Flores centers the story on Ashton Archer, an ‘attractive and he knows it’ kind of man who has fallen into everything in life: money, women, good grades, athletic success, and friends. He is also effortlessly smooth, with his vintage suits and his cool tricked-out scooter, he has his pick of any girl in the room. All of this comes crashing down when he meets Margaret Sheldon at a scooter rally and he crashes his bike. Margaret Sheldon is Ashton’s dream girl, but the only problem is that she sees through his whole aura of bullshit. His whole world begins to fall apart consequently with his attempts to woo and bed Margaret. She rebukes and embarrasses him at every turn, and the love or obsession between the two is the main heart of this story.
This story about a boy chasing a girl has every opportunity to be another “meetcute” or have a romantic storybook ending, but instead this book gives the middle finger to those opportunities. In favor of the “safe” route, Clugston Flores goes the road less traveled with a story that is bold and focused on love, obsession, and the deep dark places a desperate person can sink to in order to get what they want. The cute package of Scooter Girl can be misleading. Make no mistake how stylized this book is, it is still a complex story that will make you deeply appreciate the graphic novel as an art form. With Clugston Flores on double duty as both artist and writer, she tells a thoroughly thoughtful story with the art and words flowing seamlessly over every page.
Each page is stuffed with details, with panel layouts that flow with dialogue throughout that really requires you to take your time when reading every page in order to soak it all in. Colors, from Kambadais, are striking and bold on every page and they totally nail the mod motif and vibe throughout. The character designs with big expressive eyes and spiky hair show a manga influence and help add to the levity of the story.
The humor runs thick through this book, with physical comedy and awkward moments brilliantly drawn out to make this story more relatable and laugh out loud funny. Ashton becomes a bumbling, clumsy idiot every time he is around Margaret and the panel layouts and drawn-out physical comedy really give this book its personality and sets it apart from other books out there. More charm comes from the personal soundtrack Clugston Flores added throughout the book. In little white letters under a panel there will be the name of a band and a song that seem to capture the true essence of the page. This added touch of love from Clugston Flores really allow the reader to fall deeper and deeper into this world of obsession and desperation right along with Ashton as he attempts to pursue Margaret.
Scooter Girl will change how you view scooters, and make you think differently about how a romantic story can be written. This book, like Ashton, is effortlessly cool from start to finish. The book hits your local shops February 15th and it should without a doubt be added to your pull list. This will be a book that people will be talking about in comic shops across the country. Clugston Flores really spares no detail with deeply fleshed out characters and a great story that will keep you guessing. This is a story unlike any other out there and it deserves to be read.
Scooter Girl will be released on February 15th from Image Comics