Page 45 Review by Stephen
Well, this will bring a smile to your umm... oh.
Playful, refreshing and chock full of ideas, rarely has a graphic novel surprised and delighted me so consistently throughout.
Conversationally narrated by our faceless friend - and she is very much our friend - its lightness of touch belies the wealth of what it so deftly addresses, leaving you plenty of headspace to ruminate on your own.
"Let me start with the principal that I am perfect and have a perfect life."
That's always good place to start. Appreciate what you've got, etc.
"I mean, almost perfect."
"I think I'm quite a normal girl: I like having beers with friends, dancing, you know, but also chilling out at home with a good glass of wine... Exactly like any other girl would describe herself on 'Getaroom'."
It's just that she doesn't have a face.
She's not ostracised or anything, although dogs don't react well and kids, "They don't have a sensible middle ground, you know?" They'll either stare and stare or immediately burst into tears. Some babies really do not like beards. Or baldness. Or, evidently, facelessness.
No, Face, as we shall call her (because that's what her friends do) just hasn't had much luck with the ladies. She's feeling a bit lonely, so a friend suggests a thoroughly modern way to meet her match: on a dating app. And that's where her troubles begin. They just won't be the troubles you'll expect.
Wherever you think this will go, it will go somewhere else, so I'm going to keep my summary succinct by leaving it almost there. Almost there, because one of the key elements of dating apps is the mandatory profile picture, and that's Face seemingly screwed at the very first hurdle. She doesn't have a profile. She literally does not have a profile - it's a smooth curve - so she decides to buy some make-up. She's going to have to really concentrate on the contouring...
Everything about this is inventive: even the lettering won't conform to the norm. There will even be a startling but ever so clever, universally recognisable Batman reference. Universally recognisable: a bit key, that.
Conforming to the norm is partly what this is about in so many ways, whether it's society's expectations, one's looks, one's search for a romantic partner or one's dynamic within a relationship.
There's so much to consider here from identity and self-perception to symbiosis, gravitation and assimilation. There will be a certain degree of alignment, as is so often the case, but - I cannot repeat this enough - in far from predictable ways! There are also the rules of attraction to consider. Read this again after the graphic novel: oh yes, you'll see!
Self-castigation will rear its ever so common head; the way we can end up making constant comparisons with the lives of others: their careers, relationships, creative successes, beauty, athleticism, entertainment value and gardening expertise.
We left Face beginning to explore the all-important issue of make-up, didn't we? Some people firmly and even fervently believe that make-up is superficial, artificial, that in short it's a sin. Its cost certainly can be.
"I had a look at the pictures of my female contacts on the social network and wow... I was shocked to find out that 75% were using makeup in every single picture, even in ones at the swimming pool at the gym or in bed!!"
But to some of those of us less gifted genetically in the facial department, it's a playing-field leveller. I didn't see why I shouldn't use a little artistry to give myself a leg-up - and get my leg over, to be honest. You bet I wore it in bed! Will our Face do the same? Dilemma!
Told largely in black, white and tone but with some thrilling splashes of colour, on top of all the lateral thinking it's the timing that impressed me the most with some excellent comedy beats, for example, after the turn of a page.
"I carried on with my life.
"I decided to stop messing around and have a break from the hideous mission of finding a partner. It was about time.
"Furthermore, it couldn't be that difficult to be on my own and enjoy things like I used to before, right. My job, reading, going to the cinema, you know."
Good on you, girl! Being single isn't the end of the world. You don't need to be in a relationship to feel validated. Enjoy your free rein and reign!
"Just to clarify: I got depressed."