Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #1
Writer/Artist: Jim Mahfood
Colorist/Letterer: Justin Stewart
Design: Carmen Acosta
Publisher: Image Comics
A review by Stephanie Pouliotte
I freaking love publishers like Image Comics. They create a home for titles like Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks, Jim Mahfood’s creator-owned comic that is as much a visual psychedelic trip as it is an action-packed, punk rock thrill ride… with a hint of magic socks, of course. The comic arose from a DIY effort by Mahfood in 1995, when he self-published the title and personally trucked issues to comic shops, whose owners didn’t always take him up on the offer. These grassroots beginnings shaped Grrl Scouts into what it is today, from changing the name due to litigation from the actual Girl Scouts organization to the development of Mahfood’s signature graffiti art style. Actually, the pretty riveting and funny story of how Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks came to be appears in the back matter of this first issue, in a short strip by Mahfood that ends in the only logical conclusion. No spoilers, but I’ll be pretty disappointed if the world fails me on this one. So what’s this comic all about anyways?
And that’s all you need to know going into Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #1! You don’t need to read any of the previous Grrl Scouts comics to get the plot (I mean unless you want to read some more awesome. So yeah, right?) In this first issue, Mahfood sets the stage at a psychiatric hospital where Daphne’s cousin Josie is released on to the streets of Freak City, and she’s jonesing for some vengeance (for what we later learn are some pretty legit reasons. Damn Daphne.) The first page sets up this false sense of security as we’re lulled into the story by Josie’s humdrum mother, then the next page pretty shockingly reminds you what comic you’re reading. In just two pages, Mahfood sets the tone for the entire series, while also introducing a compelling villain, establishing the story’s freaky magic, and tying it all back to the Grrl Scouts with a killer hook in the last panel. Fucking. Great. Opening.
The rest of the issue is essentially the Grrl Scouts reunion tour, and we’re introduced to our badass femme trio as they collide back into each others lives after some heated time apart. All three have distinct personalities that drive their every action and Mahfood does an excellent job of revealing them to us through the action-packed plot. It’s also writ large all over their characterization, which I am too in love with; from Gwen’s chill, brooding demeanor to Daphne’s fiery, tripped out spirit to Rita’s mellow, wild artist. Mahfood’s been drawing Grrl Scouts since the 90s and his artwork has grown with each iteration, now settling on something outlandishly captivating and boldly unique. His psychedelic graffiti art is messy, loud, and raw, channeling some of his early influences like Tank Girl. His panels are cut from lines of cocaine and the currents of the underground music scene, bursting with pulse-pounding action and Justin Stewart’s kaleidoscope of colours.
Buy it! Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #1 feels like one of those milestone issues. It’s electric, it’s magic, it’s insane; something pretty amazing goes down in these pages. It’s a short mini-series, only six issues, but Mahfood has said this is only the beginning for the Grrl Scouts comic book universe. Oh and he also included a track list of “Unofficial Sounds” you can burn to as Grrl Scouts: Magic Socks #1 takes you on a crazy, wild trip, while barely even getting to the magic freaking socks!