Back in April this year I reviewed issue #1 of Little Girl Black from James McCulloch & Pedro Mendes but since then they’ve finished the three issue run and got the collected edition funded through Kickstarter.
That first issue showed just how extreme James & Pedro were willing to go and the content for the complete story came with a warning…..and rightly so.
The first issue setup a cruel world where both physical & sexual abuse were plastered across the panelled pages and while I’m sure many would have found that difficult to stomach, it was tackled in a way that at least allowed some glimmer of hope that it’s a situation that can be escaped.
The road is never that smooth though as the central “father figure” Mr Watkins rules his house with an iron fist and the normal, everyday exterior is a nice false front for one of the darkest reads of the year from ANY publisher. Excessively violent in places it’s no wonder that James struggled to find a printer willing to produce the books for his Kickstarter rewards but while the content is as grim as you can imagine…..it sort of makes sense that all boundaries should be pushed when it comes to indie comics.
The latest female prisoner is less than compliant though and the disruption in the perfect balance in the household/cells is the destructive force that they all feared. The biggest villain in this still battles against it though and it’s a rough ride for everyone involved including the reader.
I previously described it as having a car crash vibe that means you can’t look away from the story that’s unfolding but it’s only when you get a chance to run through the whole plot that you realise just how true that is. Deeply messed up in places with its racist slurs and full-on depiction of abuse that was never going to create anything other than controversy when it was released. While that is most definitely true, there is still a strong story under the surface of overcoming all odds in the worst possible situation and that’s something that far more forgiving readers will be able to find. Kudos also goes to ComicHaus who had the guts to help bring this book to print and while there’s no doubt it nestles on the more gruesome side of comics with it’s themes, I think the magic of indie releases is that any story can find an audience if given a fair chance.