GoGirl! Graphic Novel Review

GoGirl!Erica Gives This Comic Four StarsGoGirl! by Trina Robbins
Art: Anne Timmons

GoGirl! is beyond adorable. The story centers around Lindsay, who becomes the teenage superhero GoGirl, and her mother, Janet Goldman, who once was the superhero Go-Go Girl. Janet is pretty much the typical mother who loves her daughter, and she’s worried about her growing up. Of course, Lindsay has inherited her mother’s powers.

Lindsay becomes GoGirl to save her best friend Haseena from kidnappers, and she has no secret identity. I love the fact that Janet finds out immediately that her daughter’s been hiding superpowers and now using them.

Robbins’ strongest writing point is her portrayal of the mother-daughter relationship. Janet both is the overprotective parent and the mom who wants her daughter to grow into a strong, independent woman. While she doesn’t want Lindsay to be a superhero — mostly in that it’s a dangerous profession — she does work to train her daughter and supports her.

When Lindsay saves Haseena in the first story, the girls and Janet work together. They trust and care about each other. None of them, superpowered or otherwise, are willing to leave the other in danger.

In the second story, Robbins crafts a classic tale for both teenage-dom and superhero tropes: what happens if Lindsay was never born. Feeling neglected on her birthday, Lindsay flies off to save some people and also try to find her friends.

(Sidenote: I love that the reader sees Janet as caring about her daughter in that she insists she wears a coat, which Lindsay doesn’t want to wear as it doesn’t go with her superhero outfit. Timmons does a great job at drawing Lindsay’s costume. And giving her a jacket, which doesn’t quite fit.)

In pondering what life would be like without her in the world, Lindsay finds exactly what would happen. Including her mother who’s not as happy and her friend Haseena has no one to save her. And probably misses her best friend. Of course, in classic teenage tropes, when Lindsay gets back to her own world, her mother and all her friends are actually throwing her a surprise birthday party!

“The Teacher From Hell” feels very Buffy the Vampire Slayer inspired. In the high school is hell metaphor, Lindsay’s superpowers and her training start interfering with her school work. Or at least being on time to class. While Lindsay’s working with Janet to better her fighting skills, she’s getting a hard time from her substitute teacher. Who turns out to be a demon. Janet, like most moms, thinks her daughter’s overreacting. Only to figure out later that maybe she needs to save her daughter. Janet dons her old costume to join the fight. But, of course, her training of Lindsay has paid off in that she’s defeated the demon teacher.

I was really excited for “Summer Fun, Som’re Not” to learn more about Janet’s days as Go-Go Girl. However, instead of being completely delighted with the story, I walked away with some disappointment. I’d hoped for a good story about Liz (Right-On Sister) and Janet’s friendship having a parallel to Haseena and Lindsay. But nope.

Instead, the story was a little weird. Hoss, the farm hand, seems like he just can’t do his job and is mentally troubled. That he turns out to be an alien seems just out-of-the-blue. But worse, Janet complains that she’s fat — when she’s clearly not — when she can’t fit into her pants. Then she thinks she can’t fly due to extra weight. (I doubt she gained 10 pounds while eating pies at Liz’s.) At least, Robbins promotes exercise as the way to lose weight instead of dieting. But still disappointed to have talks to weight in a comic book aimed at teenagers.

“Out of the Woodwork” was a nice story in that it dealt with being jealous of other girls’ successes, but had a good lesson at the end. In that they all had to work together. Even if the other girls faked their superhero powers and Chatty Catty kidnaps them because of the lie.

Otherwise, this seemed a bit like a straight-forward superhero saving people story.

Ugh. “Blast from the Past” was probably the worst. There was a lot of horrible commentary on weight, looks, age, and dress. I felt really uncomfortable to have Janet slut-shamming another woman over her outfit. Yes, I appreciate Robbins and Timmons taking time to make sure that Lindsay’s and Janet’s costumes are appropriate and that Timmons always draws women like they are real women. However, this kind of “slut” critic is not a critic and completely inappropriate for a teenage-aimed book.

The final short story, I did enjoy. I loved that Lindsay reaches out to Marnie. It’s short, but very powerful.

Overall, GoGirl! is an amazing comic book and almost the perfect superhero story for the average teenager. There were just two strays from the message, which really made me rate it 4/5 instead of 5/5.

Meet Lindsay and Janet yourself, buy GoGirl! Vol. 1.

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