SuperMutant Magic Academy 'worth a read'

“Three new comics worth a read” / The Globe and Mail / Sean Rogers / April 24, 2015

After swooningly drawing the tempestuous lives of adolescent girls in Skimand This One Summer, Governor-General’s Award-winner Jillian Tamaki treats young adults’ complex emotions with simpler and sketchier lines in her debut work as writer-artist. Tamaki’s SuperMutant Magic Academy is an institution like Hogwarts, or Professor Xavier’s school for training X-Men, except that here the superpowered teens behave like actual high-schoolers – smoking, swearing and desperately crushing out on each other. Over a series of single-page gag strips, we get to know the academy’s students – Frances, the precocious performance artist; Marsha, the over-it malcontent; Everlasting Boy, the long-suffering immortal – but the book coalesces into something more than its one-joke origins when it dispenses with punchlines and gives itself over to the soap-operatic elements of its genre forebears. As the book progresses, Marsha’s mooning after her oblivious best friend Wendy takes precedence, and Tamaki proves most capable with the kind of storylines about the trials of teenaged life that do not require a magical conceit – impending adulthood somehow seems supernatural enough.

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