Page 45 Review by Stephen
Yet another immediately arresting cover: your eyes cannot help but meet Mara's as she looks on from an angle at everyone around her, at everything happening around her, in her absence.
With her friends partnering up, she's been left behind, posting alone on Livejournal, comments: 0.
Livejournal was a thing back then - an unfathomable thing, to be sure, living your whole life online in public - as was MySpace. Campbell captures the naive illusion of privacy to perfection there as well as implying its potential pitfalls should word get around, just as she does the intimacy of Cleo's genuinely private, hand-doodled diary entries. It's psychologically spot-on: the questioning, the doubts and self-doubts, and the way in which, in a letter to yourself, you can meanderingly think your worries through on the page in the hope of a better future, or as a means of self-justification.
It's all so completely credible that this series' comparatively low profile is a crime.
A much thicker book than previously, this third volume of ruminative WET MOON - featuring often strained friendships between young and so understandably insecure, individualistic punky girls experimenting with their hair, faces, bodies and each other in a southern college campus - grows kinder in places, in others even more ominous with a missing cat, stalking and daydreams of extreme, psychotic violence.
Also, one terrible, totally unexpected betrayal that will have you screaming: "Noooooooo!"
This time round I re-write that with hindsight (especially the "daydreams of extreme, psychotic violence") for the original editions of WET MOON have already reached volume six and if you think you can wait another three or four months for the next re-issue after this, well, I admire your seemingly limitless self-control. If you can't (and you can't) then we have the equally delicious earlier editions of volumes 4, 5 and 6 still in stock. Only the covers are different.
So yes, Trilby, with her Tank Girl quiff, certainly grows kinder during the course of this volume, although to begin with she's in familiarly unfaithful form, dissing her best friend Cleo to her new boyfriend Martin as a far from ideal best friend, thereby proving herself to be a far from ideal best friend.
But then the now-adorable Cleo - who wouldn't just not hurt a fly, she would pamper it - wasn't always such a considerate soul during High School. There's a flashback followed by further recollections and self-recriminations which makes that abundantly clear. But then I did type "psychologically spot-on": some of us were monsters when young.
Amongst other truths of youth: bonding over bands and tattoos, embarrassment over enthusiasms you sequester even from your friends; the sharing of secrets, the betrayal of secrets; and not quite knowing if you're going out with someone or not. Hoping desperately that you are, but not wanting to fuck things up with presumption or the first move, this is tentative to a T:
"So... um, am I really your girl?"
"Like... You said... You said I was your girl."
"I did? When?"
"When... Um, when I met your band...? You said, like... you introduced me as your girl...?"
"Oh... yeah. I dunno..."
"You wanna be?"
"Do you wanna be my girl?"
You'll have to wait for the turn of a page.
"Oh... Um, I... I dunno... maybe... yes?"
"Good enough for me. Heh."
The ecstasy and adoration in Cleo Lovedrop's bright eyes!
And that's another reason why I consider it a crime that the profile of WET MOON isn't bigger. Long before THE WICKED + THE DIVINE, SAGA et al, Campbell's WET MOON was all-inclusive. Sexuality, the diversity of skin colour and body forms... it's all here without either judgement, proselytising or indeed any indication that those were anything but the norm, thereby evaporating the very idea of the norm.
Here Campbell's art evolves once more. Trilby's collar bones are so skinny that you can pinch them and physically feel them between your fingers, and the freckles right down her back are sublime.
Campbell experiments in flashback by leaving out certain tones, delivering more delicate lines throughout in spite of extreme tendonitis, and giving Cleo absolutely enormous, smitten eyes like pools of liquid love.
There's a scene in which Cleo and Audrey finally confide in each other in bed, in the dark, late at night. Instead of Cleo's eyes bouncing with reflected light which isn't there, they are instead great big orbs of open, trusting grey.