Uptown Girl

Plinko Special

At a convention this summer, I found out about this long-running minicomic series. It’s been going monthly since the spring of 2003, quite an accomplishment, and unique in the field in my knowledge.

I first sampled the convention-only Plinko Special, which introduced me to Uptown Girl, her friends Rocketman and Ruby Tuesday, and her new cat Plinko. They’re going on a picnic where as typical young adults, they chat about how much they hate their jobs and wish they could pursue their dreams instead.

The simple art, one step up from stick figures, makes for a quick read. I found the expository dialogue helpful as a new reader, but it’s clunky and unrealistic when looked at in terms of craft. Backgrounds and settings are nice, but Lipsiki’s lettering needs a lot of work. It’s uneven and unbalanced in the balloons, which often appear to be afterthoughts in their placement. I sometimes found myself reading the wrong one in sequence or unsure where to go next.

It’s a good sampler, though. I get the impression that this is a faithful portrayal of the characters, their attitudes, and the types of experiences that the series covers, simple incidents of daily life. To check out that assumption, I also read a more current issue.

In #38, Ruby and Uptown (I guess that’s how you refer to her casually) rescue an abused kitten and set out to find a suitable home for it. Meanwhile, Rocketman ends up babysitting her fish rather incompetently, although he means well.

The kitten is pretty cute, except for those panels where it looks like a squirrel. The plot events feel like a mediocre sitcom, with well-meaning UG having to make the hard decision of who should get the kitten while Rocketman serves as comedy relief. The parade of applicants teach the reader who shouldn’t be taking care of other living things. This lesson-based feel may be a result of the author’s avowed interest in creating comics for all ages.

So far, there are 42 issues, 3 annuals, 3 collections, and 2 specials. More information on the series can be found at the Uptown Girl website.

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