How to Talk to Girls at Parties – Neil Gaiman at his best

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

by Neiman Gaiman (author), Gabriel Bá (illustrator), and Fábio Moon (illustrator)

Dark Horse Books

2016, 64 pages, 6.9 x 10.5 x 0.4 inches

$12 Buy a copy on Amazon

How to Talk to Girls at Parties is an adaptation of the Neil Gaiman short story of the same name, originally published in his collection Fragile Things. As adaptations go, this one tells the story pretty exactly as it was done by Gaiman. Two teens named Enn and Vic go to a party with the intention of picking up girls. Vic is handsome and confident, while Enn is shy and awkward. Enn doesn't know how to talk to girls, and this becomes the central problem of the story. His attempts to seem cool and desirable are both humorous and relatable to anybody who has ever tried talking to a potential love interest. As the night moves on, it becomes clear that something is amiss at this party, but exactly what is unknown to Enn, and a little ambiguous to the reader.

I really like this book. At first glance it might seem like an odd choice for a comic – the story doesn't reach the heights of some of Gaiman's other work, for example. But it's short and sweet and so unique. The story is Gaiman at his best in terms of information release and character moments. You're never completely ahead of the plot and it is so easy to sympathize with Enn's awkwardness. The charm of the original story was Gaiman's ability to play with a young man's feeling that girls were practically another species, and that aspect thrives in this version. In terms of visual storytelling and artistic prowess, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá are absolute masters, and I cannot recommend their work here enough. They have an incredible ability to draw worlds that look like reality, but maybe just a few degrees more fantastic. What perfect partners for Gaiman's work.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties gets my highest recommendation, both for fans of Gaiman and/or Moon & Bá as well as fans of unique sci-fi. It's a short book you can breeze through pretty quickly, and then immediately restart to find more hints of what's really going on. A film adaptation directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Rabbit Hole) is set to debut in 2017, so at the very least this interesting comic will prepare you for the film.

– Alex Strine