The comic strip is a medium uniquely suited for stories about everyday life. The brevity and consistent schedule of a strip allow for it to carry on long running stories that weave in and out of each other, setting things up weeks or months (or more!) in advance, much like life itself. A good strip requires a lot of things – an intriguing story, well-constructed characters, and the drive and ability of the creator to keep going every day without stopping for years. Luckily, Girls With Slingshots had all of these things, and Danielle Corsetto proved herself to be not only an incredible artist and excellent storyteller, but a master of the comic strip in general.
Corsetto unleashed Girls With Slingshots upon the world way back in 2004, both online and in print form at that year’s SPX. It lasted for a little more than ten years, going from a black and white twice-weekly strip to a color Monday through Friday able to sustain itself. The strip follows Hazel and Jamie and their group of friends as they live life, ever growing and changing – learning about themselves and the world around them. I was lucky to have this be my intro to the world of hand drawn webcomic strips (my only two previous encounters being Freakangels and a few sprite comics along the lines of Bob and George), and I’m so glad I had such a great way to begin. It is often (quite literally) laugh out loud funny, while remaining equally poignant and thoughtful. Corsetto painted a portrait of life with Girls With Slingshots. Not only the good or bad parts, but what it is to be a human being.
One of the best parts of the strip, I think, is how incredibly real every single person who appears in it is. Despite the appearance of Goopy Cat (quite literally, a cat made of goop) or Pedro (the talking cactus), I was never once in the ten year history of the strip, nor my five year history of reading it, taken out of the story due to poor writing, art, or unrealistic characters. Jaime, Hazel, and everyone else came to be almost human to me, like an online friend who I know everything about but see only rarely. Corsetto created characters I found it impossible to not care about. I cried when they cried, I laughed when they laughed, I was excited when they got married and heartbroken when they broke up. If you have hesitated from investing the time into reading a decade’s worth of comic strips, that’s fair. But I tell you now that it is not only worth it, but something that will feel realer than a great deal of the fiction you will come across in your life. You will come to love all these people, and much like SPX itself, be saddened when it’s over, yet ecstatic that you let it into your life. You, much like I, will hope to Hazel and Jamie and the rest again later, when they are a little more grown up, a little more mature, and doing something wholly new and exciting with their lives.