Unicorn on a Roll
The book begins with a reaffirmation of the friendship between Phoebe and Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, as they reflect on how they met almost a year ago. That conveniently sums up the premise and appeal of the strip for new readers, too, as we see Marigold’s vanity and Phoebe’s crankiness (often spurred by mean girl Dakota).
In this volume, Valentine’s Day is tricky, as Phoebe doesn’t know how she feels about spelling partner Max, and Marigold has a crush on Lord Splendid Humility. That leads to the pair visiting the unicorn realm to attend a party. Then come tryouts for the school play.
The small observations of the strip are smart and fresh, as when Phoebe doesn’t understand an old trimline phone, or she complains about long weekends being weird, or she tries to come up with a gift for a perfect fantasy creature. It’s the blend of magic with the mundane that make this comic so fun and funny. And yet, sometimes, there’s true feeling, too, to keep the strip from being more than just wisecracks.
The cartooning nicely supports all of the above. Simpson creates a lovable, normal, gawky little girl and an immensely graceful unicorn and manages to make both of them interact believably. It’s not a timeless world, but one where Phoebe can google things on her phone and Dakota has a vlog. Plus, the use of different fonts for emphasis is well-done.
This is an awesome comic that always makes me happy. (The publisher provided a review copy.)