Goofyfoot Gurl #1

Goofyfoot Gurl #1

Goofyfoot Gurl #1 (Let There Be Lighten Up), 2007, Drigz Abrot (Writer), Allison Barrows (artist), Thomas Nelson/RealBuzz Studios, FC, 90 pp., $10.99

Have you ever been caught reading other people’s mail? As a middle age male reviewer I had that feeling while reading through this mangaish graphic novel. The title character is a fuzzy haired teen age girl named Suki (she’s “half Japanese–but always one hundred percent listener.”) Suki has a group of teen friends who hang out at the beach (apparently Orange County, California) waited for the surf so they can ride the waves on their boards. Most of her friends are from very well-to-do families. There’s the willowy blonde, Char whose father has just re-married a younger woman (“Miss Bimbo”) named Randi. Char is naturally having a difficult time with this woman who is maybe three of four years her senior. Then there is the East Indian girl Pooja whose family is trying to arrange a marriage between her and an unattractive engineer named Sanjeev. She obviously resisting this setup relationship. Next is a young African American named Joplin who lives alone in a high tech mansion and is starved for attention from his absentee parents. Scott is the anglo boy and the only non-rich kid who has several entry level jobs just to keep his nose above water. But he is an excellent surfer who can give lessons to the other kids. Suki herself has a dolphin friend named Delphine who comes to her rescue as she is being pulled under by a rip tide.

My friend and Christian cartoonist Monte Wilson would call this a “quiet” story. There isn’t anything earth shattering or even particularly exciting about this graphic novel. It reads like listening in on a conversation among several contemporary¬† teenage girls and boys. The accent here is on relationships and the various difficulties young people have especially with their parents or others in authority. This is the first book in a four part series. One gets the feeling that this is the set up and the resolution to the conflicts will be developed in subsequent books. So far there is little in this book to distinguish it as a Christian graphic novel (“But I see you in church on Sunday–aren’t you a Christian?”) I suspect the Christian emphasis will become more explicit in up coming books.

The artwork is loose, sketchy with nuanced, muted pastel-like coloring. The art looks almost like preliminary roughs or story boards. The visual panel to panel story telling is quite good with emphasis on real world backgrounds (convenience stores, airports, ritzy homes, teen fashions, night street scenes). The drawings works well with the overall relaxed (even somewhat depressive) mood of the story.

While I found this story boring (especially with any real resolution being put off to future issues)–I’m not the intended audience. Goofyfoot Gurl needs to connect with the tween and young teen girls for it to be successful.


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