Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Reader's Diary #1975- Aminder Dhaliwal: Woman World

On the last page of Aminder Dhaliwal's graphic novel Woman World, there's a screenshot of a text conversation where she shares her idea for Womanworld in which men have gone extinct. She acknowledges that "something exactly like this probably already exists" and many of us would immediately respond, yes, it's a quite popular series called Y, The Last Man and it's by Brian K. Vaughan.

But like a good cover song, if you can bring something new to something that's already been done, it's perfectly fine. And Aminder Dhaliwal's Woman World is perfectly great. One (big?) difference is that there is no last man. It's focused entirely on women. But also, whereas Vaughan's take is more sci-fi with occasional humour, Dhaliwal's is more humour with occasional sci-fi. (Not sci-fi in the robots and space or time travel sense but in the new disease wipes outs half of humankind sense.)

Vaughan wasn't the only writer I found myself thinking of while reading world, but each other comparison was to someone else whose work I also admired and each time Dhaliwal spun it differently enough to make something truly her own.

The humour, for instance, was quite similar to Kate Beaton's. Kate Beaton usually has intelligent, hilarious satire, but is not afraid to get silly. And so does Dhaliwal. But whereas Beaton usually does so in short vignettes, there's a longer narrative running through Woman World, only stopping here or there for unconnected gags.

And Woman World also reminded me of Baroness Von Sketch Show, quite possibly the funniest show on TV right now. Just as that cast simultaneously celebrates and pokes fun at women, recognizes the spectrum of female personalities, and skewers the patriarchy without allowing that to take over the focus, so does Dhaliwal.

The art is very Beaton-esque as well, but my favourite scenes were the opening and closing ones which were the only ones to have colour. These had a cool vintage look.

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