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Misfit City vol 1

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Misfit City vol 1 back

Kirsten 'Kiwi' Smith, Kurt Lustgarten & Naomi Franquiz


Page 45 Review by Stephen

"Thank you so little for coming. Buh-bye now!"

Once a year someone pops into Page 45 for the first time in a decade, expressing the most enormous relief that we're still open after 23 years as if we were the dearest thing in their lives, engages in chatter as if we were their best friends in the world, then leaves without even looking at a comic, let alone buying one.

So now I have my new fond farewell!

"Thank you so little for coming. Buh-bye now!"

That's Macy of the turquoise dreadlocks, the electropunk band with her brother Todd, and the job at the coastal Cannon Cove Film Museum. This houses traditional tribe ceremonial garb of the earliest settlers, the Tillamook, some pretty grim evidence of the fur traders who then came along and stole whatever they could lay their hands on including land, and a costumed mannequin of Black Mary, the late 18th Century pirate whose crew consisted entirely of Tillamook and who therefore took great delight in sinking any ships allied to those pelt-pilferers. I tell you this now because it will prove pivotal to the mystery that follows, so I hope you're paying more attention than the sort of college-age, rich-kid idiots who turn up in droves interested only in the museum's scant movie memorabilia from 'The Gloomies' which was filmed locally:.

"These are the sweatpants worn by Dodge in the infamous "I want my balls back" scene..."
""That scene changed my life!"

Macy is not what you'd call a careful curator, so when what looks like a treasure chest is bequeathed to the museum by the recently departed Captain Denby, she's a lot less interested in this additional "box of junk" than his great nephew Luther and great niece Millicent who'd double quite decently for Cruella de Vil. It's only when Macy's friends call round that night for a game of cards that she is cajoled into opening the chest not with a key but a cutlass. Note: not a careful curator!

Out rolls a scroll complete with landmarks, tracks, compass points and indecipherable writing that could possibly be in Tillamook but could equally be a cipher of sorts. Also, a picture of a black, rearing horse which Dot duly indentifies as a rebus. Dot also declares the parchment and ink deterioration to be consistent with documents from the late 18th Century - at a single glance!!! Dot, daughter of the local librarian, is the smart one, you see. And I hate to do this, but Macy and her friends do so invite categorisation. Dot's the learned, astute one; Macy the cynic with biting line in rejoinders; Karma's the New Age naïf; Ed or Edwina's the gay gal with a Tillamook ex she's not entirely over; while local Sheriff's daughter Wilder is the one with ambition (primarily to leave what she considers the back end of nowhere and the anti-authoritarian stance on the local ecology ("Frick Off To Fracking!"). They even have a dog called Pip who's a dab hand at cards and farts on cue every twenty minutes exactly. It's basically a feminist Famous Five with flatulence.

The map is the mystery catalyst and off they set to solve quite clever clues in search of what they hope will prove pirate treasure. Time is not on their side, however, because the annual festival is imminent, Macy's band is performing, the two goth siblings are hot on their heels in a mean set of wheels ("I almost got run over by the lead singer of Bauhaus"!), and this brings with it the additional encumbrance of the ever-present long arm of the law.

All the tensions required are present and correct, so this clops along at such a cracking pace that I hadn't realised that the end was in sight and this is only part one! Noooooooo!

Franquiz's expressive, gymnastic cartooning is all you could want for a Young Adults adventure of this frantic ilk. This femme five leap about like nobody's business, in one nocturnal instance from the construction-yard frying pan of death-by-dangerous-driving, right into to the proverbial fire of death-by-internet-indignity when they crash helter-skelter all over each other onto the lanes of the local bowling alley populated by their less pleasant peers. Once again, Franquiz's expressions are exquisite: Dot is dazed and wide-eyed; Macy is mortified; Ed is nervous and cowed, defensively; Karma anxiously clutches Wilder who has one eye shut, hastily summing up the situation before a ball is bowled at them and "STEEEE-RIIIKE!"

The cool crowd's cell phones snap-snap into camera-evidence action.

"At least we're still alive."
"Not socially."