(Slave Labor, 1999)
™ and ©1999 Ariel Schrag

An obvious departure from mainstream comics, Awkward performs two functions that set it apart from the rest of comicdom: it targets girls and it tells the real life story of its author, Ariel Schrag. Publishing through Slave Labor Graphics only helps this industry anomaly make it into comic shops and reach a wider audience.

Awkward not only acts as the title of the graphic novel, but it also helps to define the story within. The 16-chapter book follows a year in the life of its author—one of the most awkward years of any teenager’s life: their freshman year of high school. An autobiographical tale, Schrag discusses issues facing the youth of today (drugs, alcohol, acceptance), as well as issues most are too scared to discuss (teen sex and homosexuality). Tacky and crass should not be words used to describe the story. On the contrary, the story is portrayed with the utmost sincerity, affording readers an important look into the minds of today’s youth.

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