Tony Consiglio’s 110 Percent may have been overlooked by many readers because of its subject matter. It’s the story of three middle-aged women who are fans of the boy band 110 Percent. Although many comic readers will understand and perhaps sympathize with the dedication and even obsession of these women, it takes a willingness to approach their story that unfortunately, some may not have. These women aren’t young, cute, or sexy; they’re not even mildly attractive as they take their behavior to extremes. They’re pretty funny, though, and they represent a group too often left out of comic stories: the adult woman.
Cathy is the quiet, large-sized type who’s the butt of the workplace jokes and has no friends outside her boy band fanclub buddies. Sasha’s older and taken for granted by her mildly abusive husband, who never has a good word for her. Gertrude has a family and career, but the most important thing to her is being queen bee of the club, using her knowledge to steamroll others.
Consiglio’s style is simple, with lumpy people resembling comic strip caricatures. It’s down-to-earth and easily readable as he shows how the women’s feelings of powerlessness motivate their love for a manufactured entertainment franchise. Ultimately, each gets what they deserve. Gertrude’s frustration has made her selfish and totally me-centered, but Cathy’s refusal to be blinded by her devotion protects her, and Sasha and her husband find their own ways to show their love for each other.
Viewed from the outside, their behavior verges on insane, but Consiglio makes an excellent case for relating to them as people, worthy of sympathy. He puts on display their need for escapism and their desire to be part of something beyond their humdrum daily lives. He also demonstrates a strong understanding of how numbing the roles of wife and mother can be and how invisible women become when they don’t fit into those established slots.
110 Percent is a surprising accomplishment that demonstrates keen insight worthy of rereading.