Jennifer Camper had already shown in Rude Girls and Dangerous Women that her humor could be rather biting. In subGURLZ, it gets positively radioactive.
Swizzle, Liver and Byte are three dykes living in the New York subway tunnels, friends and occasional lovers at the same time. The author adds a measure of weirdness by giving each of them some strange characteristic: Swizzle is extremely strong, Byte is extremely clever and Liver is extremely intoxicated – she needs all kinds of toxins and poisons to survive, but then, she can raise the dead. Armed with her three-woman army, Camper proceeds to tell a decidedly anti-conformist tale without making her characters innocent or nice.
When the three women rescue a little girl lost in the subway, they are branded as kidnappers, and decide to take the police chief to task, to say the least. But when teenagers from influential families turn up dead from an overdose, things get even more muddled, and all hell breaks loose.
There’s anger against society’s narrow-mindedness seething under the surface (pun intended) of this seemingly black comedy, and Jennifer Camper’s simple yet effective art style makes it all the more shocking (in a good way).
subGURLZ is probably the less politely nuanced story I’ve read of this author. It’s also a fine example of really alternative comics, with all the taboo-breaking that entails.