Are There Lesbians? Yes
Two teenage girls navigate their relationship.
Wow! Tillie Walden manages to do so much in so few words! Her art is evocative and moody and perfectly supports the tragic beauty of her story. She utilises the power of silence and minimal colour to help tell her story. The pages go from their bruise-like purple to black and then back to purple to emphasise the ebb and flow of the narrative. This is an understated comic that packs a big punch to the gut through small vignettes of the girls interactions.
This comic is a short read but a powerful one, and incredibly bittersweet. There is a thread of hope that manages to shine through again and again. It is a beautiful and gentle (though not on the heart) read, that is easy to return to again and again. I find myself getting more out of if every time I pick it up, even if it’s just to look at one or two pages. Each page can be taken as a short story in itself, as separately they make up vignettes of moments of the girls’ relationship.
This is a story about thresh-holds – the girls are teens in high school and about to grow up. They are at that point in their relationship where they need to take the next big leap together – either through physical intimacy or coming out – but are unsure how to proceed. They are in love and have no idea what to do about it. Unfortunately for them this means that they fall apart. However, there is the promise that, one day, they might find something – either together or apart.
The power of companionship and being connected through technology like texting or sharing music together is an important concept of the comic. It emphasises the importance of being quiet together, but also being together even when you are physically separate. The particular focus is on listening to the same music together or separately bridges distance. Music becomes a form of intimacy for the characters – it is something they do when alone together, or by themselves. The ear-buds they share becomes a technological red string of fate that ties them together, as they come again through music again and again. The “I love this part” of the narrative is a reference to a certain part of the song, but also to the moment of falling in love where each party is as unsure of the other and it is terrible and wonderful at the same time.
I love this part has so much emotion to convey it is impossible to accurately convey it all through words alone. Luckily Tillie Walden also has her beautiful artwork to tell stories with, I doubt any other medium would hold up as well.