Valentine Book 1
The best thing about Valentine, by Vanyda, is that it foregrounds the experience of a teenage girl as worth viewing. The worst thing about it is that absolutely nothing happens.
There is no story here. Valentine is a teenager in school. She hangs with her friends and goes to a party where one of them gets sick. Her big accomplishment is walking by the house of the boy she crushes on.
Just because something is realistic or true to life doesn’t make it worth reading. The art is lovely, with the various girls and their richly detailed environments, but unless you like the voyeuristic experience of watching her take the bus to school or hang with her friend who smokes or veg in front of the TV or go swimming in gym class, there’s little reward in getting through these 95 pages.
Valentine is published by Europe Comics, a digital comic publishing collective that wants “to spread the European graphic novel heritage around the world”. A laudable goal, and they have expanded awareness of how many different kinds of European comics there are. I really don’t get why they’d recommend this one, though.
There are five additional books in the series. Hopefully something happens in one of them, but I’m not sticking around to find out. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)