Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto
GWS is a strip-style, slice of life comic set in small town America with an adult cast that got larger by the year going through their everyday and often bizarre lives. Although both Jamie and Hazel are billed as the main characters, honestly Hazel is the one that people would think of first when talking about this comic. She's the one who starts and ends the series and sadly she's one of my least favorite of the reoccurring cast. I don't dislike her, and 99% of the time she wasn't a turn-off from the story, but I empathized with her less than many of the other characters and it felt like she was the most static of them while I was reading it. Seeing these first few strips again I can see that she definitely has changed but it was just easier to see in other characters as they changed jobs, met people, and generally settled down the way you grow up expecting adult life will be like.
I started reading this comic my freshman year of college and frankly I wasn't quite sure what to expect about adult life, on the one hand it did seem to be a lot like I just mentioned (babies, stable jobs, etc) but my parent's life hadn't been quite like that and I was starting to realize that being an adult could be exciting as well. I'm glad that this was something I started reading at 18 partially because it showed that life will have both stable periods and crazy periods (and even the stable periods can be weird) but honestly also because the characters were open about their sex lives to varying degrees. Just seeing characters get in relationships where There Is Totally Sex and even Corsetto's sometimes reviews of vibrators in the blog section (plus #TMITuesday on twitter) helped me start thinking "oh I guess people do that, okay, whatever" instead of fixating on it as former Catholic school kids are sometimes wont to do. It's an odd detail and I'm not sure I'm conveying it correctly but it's a type of representation, a representation of the different kinds of relationships you can have and the comic had several queer characters as well. I already liked Jamie and my favorite plot line was watching the relationship between her and her asexual girlfriend (Erin) while she's also trying to hook up with a guy to fulfill her own sex drive play out, partially because it involved an ace character and partially because it's so rare to see even an attempted polyamorous relationship and no one was sneaking around about it, it was all in the open! Although the recent dinosaur arc is a pretty close second in terms of favorites, as my dad said to me it's hard to believe that that kind of weirdness isn't based at least in part on a real story.
With such a large cast and long archive (just a hair over 2000 strips or 10 years of updates) there's a something for nearly anyone whose a fan of "webcomic-style, 20-something slice of life". I did feel like the comic ended a bit too suddenly (I know it was planned but it seemed like we transitioned into the final arc much too abruptly) but that's only a minor quibble. I still really did enjoy the series, some parts more than others and I don't plan on rereading it so I don't see myself picking up the books but I plan on checking out whatever Corsetto does next*!
*as long as it's not like, actual porn and I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean that in a "Smut Peddler is really just not my kind of thing" way!