‘How to Talk to Girls at Parties’ Comic Review
story by Neil Gaiman; adaptation, art, & lettering by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá
It’s been several years since I first read Neil Gaiman’s short story How to Talk to Girls at Parties, but it’s one that’s stuck in my memory well. Like all of my favorite works by Gaiman, it has a peculiar and otherworldly air to it; one that evokes the possibility of a deeper, mystical truth to the origins of the universe. Having read the story previously without any visuals, it was interesting to see how Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s adaptation differed from how I originally imagined it.
For those not already familiar, How to Talk to Girls at Parties follows the narrative of a young man named Enn as he’s dragged along to a party by his schoolmate Vic. Both boys are just shy of sixteen, though Vic is considerably more confident when it comes to socializing with girls than our narrator. While Vic absconds with Stella, judged to be the most attractive girl at the party by both boys, Enn wanders around and tries his hand at talking to girls (…at a party, as the title would imply). Slowly, Vic and Enn come to realize that this party isn’t at all what they were expecting as things eventually take a turn for the slightly bizarre.
When I had first read the story by itself, I imagined the setting to be dark and a little unsettling at times. In contrast, Moon and Bá’s adaptation was visually brighter than I had expected, with lots of yellow and red hues, and the atmosphere appeared more familiar, without the underlying foreignness I’d imagined. For example, the first girl Enn talks to, Wain’s Wain, I’d always imagined as being very forlorn and melancholic, but the comic’s interpretation depicts her as more airy and kind of head-in-the-clouds ‘out there.’ Overall, though, I found the adaptation to be well done, and the imagery of my favorite part at the end (no spoilers, sorry) to be spot-on.
As I mentioned, the coloring is done with a lot of red and yellow hues, which serve to illustrate the party atmosphere well. The art style itself is done mostly realistic to life, with the main differences being all the girls’ eyes. These are drawn as disproportionately large and wide. All together, though, I thought the style suited the story nicely, and it refreshingly gave me a new way to read into certain scenes.
I would recommend How to Talk to Girls at Parties to fans of supernatural and speculative fiction, readers who enjoy a little unsolved mystery, and of course any and all fans of Gaiman’s writing and Moon and Bá’s artwork. How to Talk to Girls at Parties takes something as mundanely intimidating as a teenager attempting to talk to a member of the opposite sex at a house party and turns it into a strange and unforgettable occurrence that no one involved could ever forget or even attempt to explain.
BUY THE COMIC