For hardcore Neil Gaiman fans How to Talk to Girls at Parties will be nothing new from the author. The recent Dark Horse release is an older story redone for the comic book format.
Published in 2006 in the Fragile Things short story collection, the story and dialogue remains largely unaltered as it is brought to life on the page with art from Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon.
Enn and Vic are the main characters. They are two English high school students who are looking for a party. Vic is the more confident of the two and appears to be more charming to women, Enn on the other hand is less confident and is more reluctant when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex.
The title How to Talk to Girls at Parties is in reference to advice that Vic gives to Enn. Vic tells Enn that in order to be successful with women you simply have to talk to them.
The two find a party filled with beautiful young girls, but it wasn’t the party they were looking for. Although this appears on the surface to be just another high school party, it turns out that the girls attending are more than the two boys have bargained for.
The story is fairly short, but it is interesting. As a man I could empathize with Enn at his age. Talking to girls can be hard for most awkward high school students, in a way they almost seem alien and from another planet. Simply having a conversation at a party is seen as a major success when you are young.
The biggest detriment to this story is that it is short. The party that Enn and Vic attend is very strange, the girls in a way are a mystery. However, the way the story ends reads like it was just an odd, yet hardly significant moment in Enn’s life. Given the events though and how they transpire in the story this would probably be one of the most significant moments in any person’s life.
Reading the story I wanted to know more about the girls at the party, and I wanted Enn and Vic to be the ones to do that digging. There is so much more that could have been done with this series. Gaiman had the opportunity to expand on his short story, but instead we simply get an illustrated retelling of something he has already done. It’s disappointing.
The art overall is good and very pleasant to look at. I can’t really find any fault in Bá and Moon’s work. It has indie comic sensibility. The design of the character isn’t focused on hyper realism, and the comic doesn’t ooze testosterone with muscular superheroes. Instead the characters are drawn in a cartoony fashion. What makes the art really interesting to look at is how it is colored. The colors are warm and light, and appear to be done using water colors. There are occasional paint splatters tastefully applied to the page to give it a more artsy authentic feel.
How To Talk to Girls at Parties is a good story, but it is short. Awkward young men in high school will be able to identify with Enn and his struggles to connect with the opposite sex. It also has a cool sci-fi element in it as well. That being said it is old material and might not seem worth the money to some. I wish the story would have been expanded. There are a lot of unanswered questions.
- Written by Neil Gaiman
- Relatable characters
- Sci-Fi elements
- Old material adapted for comics
- Unanswered questions