May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and if there is a comic book character to represent it, it would probably be Lottie from the Image series “Snotgirl.”
Created by writer Bryan Lee O’Malley — the mastermind behind the “Scott Pilgrim” graphic novels — and artist Leslie Hung, the series follows Lottie, a glamorous fashion blogger plagued with relentless allergies, who gets tangled up some in some dire situations — not to mention, possibly fatal.
amNewYork spoke with O’Malley and Hung over email about the book, which they’ll be signing Wednesday the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca.
What is “Snotgirl” about?
Bryan Lee O’Malley: “Snotgirl” is about a popular fashion blogger who seems perfect online, but in real life she’s an allergy-ridden mess. The comic sort of mirrors Lottie’s personality — on the surface it’s light and funny, but when you look a little closer, there’s a dark side. Lottie only wanted a new best friend, but instead she finds drama, confusion and bloody murder.
How do you each relate to her?
BLO: As someone who basically grew up glued to a computer and made a lot of my most foundational relationships on the internet, I relate to Lottie’s struggle to live a life beyond the online world where she’s most comfortable.
Leslie Hung: I was on the internet from early on as well, and it was a way to escape from reality. … The shift in the way that we perceive ourselves through the lens of what we post on internet platforms is something that Lottie is constantly at odds with, and something that I think is really interesting as well.
What was the inspiration for the book?
BLO: This is my first time collaborating with another artist, so the true inspiration was Leslie Hung’s artwork and her worldview. I wanted to work closely with someone and create something I wouldn’t have made on my own. We both had an existing fascination with fashion bloggers; everything else grew out of that.
LH: “Snotgirl” definitely grew from the things we find funny, sad, and strange in the world we live in.
Do you suffer from allergies?
BLO: We both have pretty bad allergies. That’s a life we are intimately familiar with.
LH: It started out as a joke about our own allergies, which isn’t really something that I’ve seen in many narratives, but became something more poignant in relation to the story.
This is coming out during National Allergy Month. What can people learn about allergies from this book?
BLO: I don’t know if you can learn anything from “Snotgirl,” but allergies have always been a huge part of my life and it feels good to put them front and center in this story. I hope our fellow allergy sufferers feel seen.
What other projects do you have coming up? Anything new going on with “Scott Pilgrim”?
BLO: I’m slowly working on my next non-“Snotgirl” graphic novel. As for “Scott Pilgrim,” 2019 is the 15th anniversary of the first book, so I’m hoping we can do something special to commemorate it.
What have each of you learned from working with each other?
BLO: I’ve spent my whole career doing comics largely by myself, so it’s been rewarding to work on a project that is such a mix of mine and Leslie’s sensibilities. Every chapter has been a new step in our working relationship as well as in the lives of our characters.
LH: I’ve learned so much from working on a serialized comic and working with Bryan and the rest of the team. I think something that we both get out of our collaboration is that we’re constantly trying to impress each other with the work that we create together. We trust each other to put our best efforts into the book, and that accountability we have to each other is a strength.
If you go
Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung are in discussion with Vulture’s Emily Yoshida on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at B&N Tribeca, 97 Warren St., bn.com, priority seating with purchase of graphic novel.