Eternity Girl 6: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Mark Mitchell

Eternity Girl 6

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Through our research, we discovered a disturbing statistic: 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide due to lack of societal acceptance. The national average is 4.6%. We were not willing to take that risk. For Ryland’s well-being, we were advised to allow him to transition as soon as possible.

The Whittington Family: Ryland’s Story

Drew: I first encountered this video as part of a training session for my job at a summer camp. It’s style, mostly still photos and text, doesn’t suggest a particularly moving experience, but the focus on Ryland as an individual helps pull the statistics in the excerpt above down to the human level. That is, anyone’s half-baked opinions about gender are rendered irrelevant in light of this kid’s very real risk of suicide if not accepted for who they are. Indeed, it’s a case that skirts the issue of gender almost entirely, finding the rate of attempted suicide in the trans community to be a much more pressing issue. These are issues that affect both Dani and Caroline but how they navigate their own choices (and their reactions to each other’s choices) lends further nuance to those dry statistics. Continue reading

Eternity Girl 4 Skips Through the Comics Multiverse

By Drew Baumgartner

Eternity Girl 4

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Comics critics are bad at talking about art. I suspect there are a few overlapping causes — some critics are diehard fans of specific characters, so are more invested in what happens to those characters than they are acknowledging that they live in a fictional world created by real human beings; others are (nominally) writers, so are have an affinity towards writing, which doesn’t leave much room (or knowledge) for anything else. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting that I’m any better. As a non-artist, it’s easy for me to get caught up in the most superficial elements of a given artist’s style. Defying that tendency has always been what excites me about artist Sonny Liew. My first exposure to Liew’s work was his original graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, which is part biography, part retrospective on a fictional comics artist, requiring that Liew modulate his style between the docudrama and epistolary elements. The effect was downright magical, creating the sense that there truly was a second artist creating all of the diegetic comics. It effectively defies my tendency to pigeonhole an artist based on “their” style. It’s that skill that Liew taps into with Eternity Girl 4, offering us multiple iterations (and styles) of the life and times of Caroline Sharp. Continue reading

The Timelines Dissociate in Eternity Girl 3

By Drew Baumgartner

Eternity Girl 3

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Spoiler alert for season one of Westworld, but I’m now deeply suspicions of non-explicit linearity in sci-fi. Fiction has long featured flashbacks and achronological storytelling, but usually by being up-front about when and where those things are happening. Westworld reminded us that stories don’t have to be transparent about when things are happening in relation to one another, and with characters that are impervious to age, we might make bad assumptions (or be intentionally misled). It’s unclear to me how much this applies to Eternity Girl, but that’s exactly why I’m so wary of jumping to any conclusions. Continue reading

Losing (and Taking) Control in Eternity Girl 2

By Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Caroline Sharp isn’t quite all there. I don’t mean that to be a dig at her mental health — she’s literally never just in one place at one time, but rather, being pulled in several directions at once, her consciousness torn between past and present, fantasy and reality, the planet Earth and the far reaches of space. I don’t think it’s the more far-out aspects of this situation that bothers Caroline — it’s the fact that she can’t control it. Continue reading

Eternity Girl 1: Discussion

by Mark Mitchell and Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Mark: People who suffer from chronic depression are often very good at putting up facades of happiness; it’s part of why suicide can be surprising to the friends and family of the person who took their life. These facades are a coping mechanism for a depression sufferer in a number of ways, including stopping people from inquiring about their happiness. If you look happy — if you act “normal” — then people are more apt to leave you alone. But keeping up appearances for the benefit of others is exhausting, and sometimes the facade breaks down at inopportune moments — at a friend’s wedding, the night before a big paper is due, in front of your co-workers at the office.

The performative aspect of keeping up appearances is made literal in Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s Eternity Girl 1, a new title in DC’s Young Animal line. Continue reading