Diana got hurt — a lot — and she’s decided to deal with this fact by purchasing a life-sized robot boyfriend. Mary and La-La host a podcast about a movie no one’s ever seen. Kelly has dragged her friend Beth out of her comfort zone… and into a day at the fantasy market that neither of them will forget.
Casey Nowak (Lumberjanes) uses fantasy worlds to explore profound truths. Their solo debut, Girl Town, collects the Ignatz Award-winning stories “Radishes” and “Diana’s Electric Tongue” together with several other tales of young adulthood and the search for connection. Here are their most acclaimed mini-comics and anthology pieces, enhanced with stunning new colors and joined by brand-new work.
Bold, infatuated, wounded, or lost, Nowak’s girls shine with life and longing. Their stories — depicted with remarkable charm and insight — capture the spirit of our time.
From: Top Shelf Productions
Notes on This Title
This title is a collection of short stories in a variety of art styles.
Note that cartoonist Casey Nowak has had a name and pronoun change since the initial publication and press for this release. As of October 2022, Nowak’s correct pronouns are they/them. (Source: Nowak’s Twitter bio)
2019 Eisner Award Nominee for Best Graphic Album—Reprint
2019 Ignatz Award Winner for Outstanding Collection
Starred review: “Each story is intriguingly short on plot and full of strange, futuristic devices, but together they illuminate something profoundly familiar and deeply resonant about women’s interactions, relationships, and ways of being in the world. Friendship, jealousy, grief, anger, excitement, desire—the jumbled-up ways these emotions can exist together are what Nowak seems to be exploring, and her varied artwork, with wavering lines, wobbly organic shapes, and deeply expressive eyes and fonts telegraph those feelings in beautifully quiet, charmingly weird ways. Though her playful art, bright colors, and sly humor might make this seem light and breezy, there are poignant, surprising undercurrents here, and they are simply captivating.” (Source: Booklist, vol 115, number 6, p37)
Starred review: “Nowak plunges into the world of feminine friendships in earnest. The girls in this book are flawed, unique, and complex, just like real girls around the globe: They crack jokes, they make mistakes, they fall in love. As they grow, each story puts forth universal and necessary takeaways—ideas about accepting yourself and others, moving past trauma, or just remembering to have fun. In addition to their meaningful messages, the stories are laugh-out-loud funny. Pithy one-liners and deadpan humor fill the pages, complementing the collection’s deeper side.” (Source: Foreword Reviews)
Starred review: “Nowak’s characters banter, bicker, and yearn for love, connection, and acceptance. Their world isn’t quite ours, but their struggles are familiar and very entertaining.” (Source: Library Journal)
“A collection of queer stories that are full of life and wonder, snappy and witty dialogue, and a deep understanding that there’s nothing in the world like the connection of women.” (Source: Autostraddle)
“But while the precise nature of their relationship may not be stated, the intimacy between the characters is deep and evident – a statement that can be applied to almost every one of the stories in Girl Town. The fact that these relationships aren’t given specific labels, however, does nothing to mitigate their power. While the reader may not be able to apply a single label to the bond shared between Gwen and Jess, for example, the bond itself is obvious and undeniable.” (Source: The Beat)
“The collection has a multiracial cast of young adults and teenagers and presents body types of varying size and physical ability with no judgment. These women drink, smoke, and bare their bodies. While Nowak (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 2018, etc.) has refined her artistic technique, her style remains cohesive throughout, with pronounced outlines and unapologetic characters of both angles and curves. Except for some first-person narration in the title story, Nowak relates the narratives through dialogue and reality-check moments, some quiet, some direct. The stories deny readers any firm resolution, arriving at potential stopping points, then going a step beyond.” (Source: Kirkus)
“This collection of short stories, a mix of previously published content and brand-new material, is messy in the best, most invigorating way. The common thread, beyond Nowak’s ever-shifting cartooning (isometric cutaways! fantasy theme parks! fireside pagan dances!) is girls: girls who cope with a breakup by buying a robot boyfriend, girls who get anxious around their best friends, girls who have a weird podcast, girls who just want to be held. There’s a distant whiff of Scott Pilgrim and Seconds in how Nowak deftly weaves genre elements into early-20-something malaise, but Girl Town is never twee and never at risk of being overwhelmed by its robot tongues or other oddities. Girl Town, like its protagonists, is caught in a swell of uncertain feelings, and will stick with you long after you’ve finished the short stories within.” (Source: Paste Magazine)
“Though the plots are eclectic, the stories share a common thread in their exploration of memory and self, themes that mesh with the melding of fairy-tale past, millennial present, and cybernetic future. Nowak switches up her visual style for each piece, but her art is consistently appealing, with relatable funny-faced characters inhabiting imaginatively detailed settings, all drenched in bright broad-paintbox colors.” (Source: Publishers Weekly)
“Empowering and beautifully haunting, this work will find its home among hard-core graphic novel fans and those seeking nuanced representations of women.” (Source: School Library Journal)
“Carolyn Nowak’s work is magical in the tradition of Allende, Borges, and Okazaki, the kind of magic that examines the mundane through its embellishment. Tulips that taste like hot dogs, podcasts for movies no one’s ever seen to completion, and a mall where you can pay a tiger to lick your hair into an updo are among Nowak’s flights of fancy. The more time you spend in Girl Town, the more they resonate. Wouldn’t you like a significant other you never have to worry about trusting? Don’t you sometimes long for absolution that the world will never give you? You don’t finish the stories collected here so much as emerge from them: wistful, yearning, and as from all the best dreams, changed.” (Source: The Verge)