I keep coming back to those words on the back cover of issue 1…
“A big glittery gay fairytale fandango about a boy who’s too pretty to be a boy and a girl who doesn’t want to be a girl”.
… that’s still roughly all you need to know. Oh, that and the fact that I really do rather love this comic. And you should really buy it.
Basically the first issue (reviewed here) introduced us to that pair on the cover above; Arthur (the boy in the boa) and Posy (the girl in the top hat). It had nuns, it had a really severe haircut, it had two children becoming friends, united in their feelings of feeling out of place in their own bodies. I thought the whole thing was pretty wonderful; interesting, delightful, really sweet, two wonderfully innocent children, around which the darkness of the world circles. Watching these two young naifs break out of their ill-fitting genders and experiment a little is freeing, is lovely.
Issue 2 starts with the recriminations from issue 1, particularly from the whole cutting off Posy’s hair thing. Posy’s mum didn’t like that, and the nuns (and the Pope, and God) are very, very clear on the whole thing about “boys are boys. And girls are girls”.
But there’s nothing the nuns can say that can stop Arthur seeing his friend once more, even if they do manage to stop him going down to the village for “three whole weeks“.
Posy has a wonderful secret to share with Arthur, of a place in the town where grown-ups go at night, where there’s music and dancing. But what she’s absolutely most excited about, she’s heard that there’s GLITTER.
“What’s ….. What’s Glitter?” is Arthur’s reply.
Oh, glitter, at least according to Posy may well be the finest, most magical, most beautiful thing in the world, and when she’s finished telling Arthur all about it, he’s definitely, definitely, definitely going to go along with Posy’s question…
Don’t you just love that wonderful conspiratorial moment? I know I did.
After that it turns into an eye opening procession of wonders for the pair of them, as they sneak under the red cabaret tent, surrounded by smoke, lights everywhere, all the incredible sights, girls being boys, boys being girls, cross-dressing musical cabaret, of drinking, dancing, feather boas for the men, top hats for the women. From the moment they sneak in, the pages switch to wordless tableaus of the scene inside, the silence evoking all the sights and sounds so perfectly across 10 pages. Gorgeous.
As for those things they see inside… It’s the sort of thing that can give this pair ideas…. and it does, oh boy, it definitely does.
There’s a tremendous sense of anticipation and sheer joy reading Arthur and Posy. I genuinely care about this pair, really want to read more, want it all to work out, worry that it wont.
I love how Risbridger’s writing them, love Johnson’s artwork. I love the sense of playfulness that goes through it all, a lovely mix of picture book and comics, big typography and raw lines. But it simply works. We sit, outside time and place, and exist in a simple world, where we get completely wrapped up in what happens to these two. It’s quite wonderful.
More, more, more….. we recently ran the first few pages of this on the blog, so head there to get even more entranced by the whole thing. And you can buy both issues of Arthur and Posy from the webstore.