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Graphic Novel Review: Lulu & Mitzy: Best Laid Plans by S. Eddy Bell

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Lulu & Mitzy: Best Laid Plans is the debut graphic novel by S. Eddy Bell. The book is something of a morality tale, following two sex workers in San Francisco. Lulu is large, curvy, and good-natured; Mitzy is slight and quick to anger. The two are streetwalkers who can’t make their rent. They seek out a pimp, but find they are working twice as much for half the money. Next they try their hand at stripping. Lulu is a natural, but Mitzy gets booed off the stage. An altercation gets them both kicked out.

Back on the streets, they try their hand at escorting. The two enlist in the aid of Eugene, a regular client of Lulu’s who is harmlessly obsessed with her. He helps them set up websites to advertise their companionship. When they get their first dates, their lives take opposite routes. Lulu’s client is a kind old man who doesn’t want sex, just conversation. He is a famous architect and interior designer, subjects that Lulu loves. He offers to mentor her and suggests she go back to school.

Mitzy’s date is young, attractive, and successful. He is also a date rapist. He drugs her, beats her, and rapes her. She stumbles home, too ashamed to talk about it, and her life spirals out of control. She throws herself at Eugene – who is now Lulu’s boyfriend – gets into a huge fight with her best friend, and disappears. Lulu goes back to school and gets out of the sex industry. Mitzy spirals out of control and ends up turning tricks on the street for heroin. Lulu goes looking for Mitzy and rescues her from the clutches of a trio of men who are basically holding her as a sex slave.

While the book tackles some pretty dark subjects, the overall tone is surprisingly light. The artwork is cartoonish, in hard-edge black and white. All the characters are more like caricatures. Plus, every once in a while a dancing panda shows up to lighten the mood. I think the whole “nice girl makes good, mean girl gets what’s coming to her” angle is predictable and borders on being preachy. But I love the art style; I love the fearlessness with which the author tackles tough subjects; and I love the way he tells the story. I will be looking for more books by S. Eddy Bell.

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