Colleen Coover and Paul Tobin‘s Gingerbread Girl is a charming and weird book. The story revolves around an odd young woman who has hidden serious wounds beneath her eccentricities. She tells others she has a separated Penfield homunculus and that moves the plot, along with her relationships and numerous accounts by secondary characters.
The illustrations are superb and the writing, while sometimes erratic, is compelling. Coover and Tobin’s work together has often impressed me and I still hold their Small Favors as the best piece of erotica I have encountered. Like that comic, Gingerbread Girl is filled with warmth and endearing characters, even when they are greatly flawed.
There are plenty of established facts concerning 26-year-old Annah Billips. She likes sushi and mountains, but hates paper cuts and beer breath. She dates girls and boys, and loves to travel. She may have a missing sister, or she might be insane. Did Annah invent an imaginary sister named Ginger during her parents’ ferocious divorce, or did her mad scientist father extract part of her brain and transform it into a living twin? In this graphic novel, a host of narrators including boyfriends, girlfriends, magicians, pigeons, bulldogs, and convenience store clerks follow Annah through a night in her life in an attempt to determine that one last fact about Annah… and the Gingerbread Girl.