Chosen by Cait Coker, notes by Shawn Gilmore
The October meeting of the U-C Comics Colloquium focused on Sarah Andersen’s Fangs (Andrews McMeel, 2020). Best known for the “Sarah’s Scribbles” webcomic, Andersen here presents a loose story of the early stages of a romance between Jimmy, a werewolf, and Elsie, a vampire. Punctuated by gags (“Did you ever date a vampire?” “Yeah! He sucked.”) and relationship foibles big and small (accidentally eating garlic before a kiss), Jimmy and Elsie’s relationship develops, with only a few conflicts along the way. Fangs is presented in a lovely, minimal style, in staccato vignettes, helping to contribute to the lightness of the narrative, which jumps forward quickly and easily.
Our discussion focused on the charms of the book, particularly how the story avoids some of the genre traps that can make sure stories both dour and dire. Described by members of the colloquium as “sweet” and “lovely,” Fangs rejects the trappings on something like Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, pushed away by Elise on page 77, in favor of playing out the simple (and silly) pleasures of a new and evolving relationship. Matters like consent and relationship trauma are deftly addressed along the way, presented not as burdens, but as natural aspects of the interplay to two individuals coming to understand one another.
Though a somewhat slight book, Fangs proved to be a pre-Halloween hit, combining charming content and presentation, while avoiding the problems such a narrative might have contained.