Lovefool 02.03.14 | Get On Your Skates

Lovefool didn’t plan to have her heart warmed by the non-prefab modern girl power of Fast and Frightening—A Comic About Roller Derby, but lucky for her, it happened anyway.



Nerdlings! Hello! How are you? I’m okay, lest any of my faithful readers who aren’t my Facebook friends think otherwise. I know I haven’t been chatty lately but let’s see, what’s happened recently… I attended Mrs. JG,FE’s birthday pub crawl what seems like about a thousand years ago. I’ve played a lot of Pokemon. I finished my comic for the new Ink & Drink joint and sent it off to the very talented Celina Hernandez so she’ll do her art magic on it. I’ve had weekly shouts at Dr. Katz. My DVR tragically erased itself and I got passed over for a promotion that I didn’t really necessarily even want that much but had totally gone through the process for. (Rejection being a horrible thing, I was still kind of miffed.) And then the weekend arrived and I watched the internet basically try to eat itself while what seems like the entire world debated some hot button issues and I took it way more personally than I needed to. I also watched a terrible football game, but that was the least of my issues.
I just kind of feel like my heart has taken a beating lately. And I woke up this morning with that sort of almost physical soreness you get when things are sort of sad and you don’t know how to deal with it. You know what helps, though? Comics about girls on skates help, as it turns out. I didn’t plan on having my heart all warmed by this tale of non-prefab modern girl power. In fact, I was all set to write about something else. I was actually on the couch with the book I planned to write about when I glanced at the accompanying usually terribly uninformative press release and noticed they didn’t want any coverage until March. Well, okay then, I thought to myself as I fired off an irritated tweet. For reals, though, it’s hard to come up with topics just kind of on the fly. I bet every column either of us has ever hated came out of that situation. Fortunately, my buddy, Russell, was watching and mentioned that maybe Freaktown Comics had something I might like to write about.
That’s always a tricky situation, when your friend is like “Yo, I have this book, you could write about it instead of flailing all over my Twitter feed about your writus interruptus.” Their work, their pride and joy, could be awful and then I’d be stuck hoping they never ask why I didn’t write about their magnum opus. So I’m super glad to let you know that Fast and Frightening – A Comic About Roller Derby is really quite good. Writer Russell Hillman keeps this story of a Canadian newly transplanted to merry old England moving along well and always manages to throw in just the right amount of plot at the precise moment the story seems like it’s about to become a roller derby how-to. There’s excitement as Stephanie, our ex-pat, starts a roller derby team with three of her friends and coworkers! There’s adventure as the ladies and a dude coach and their team of refs get a team going and participate in their first bout against an established team! There’s really wild things as a bunch of people, and not always the ones you’d expect, make out at points!
I kid, I kid. (Actually, all of that does happen so I’m not sure what I’m kidding about.) Anyway. Fast and Frightening is a really great story. It’s well paced, the plot is a fun blend of sport and romance, and the art is great, which is really, really important in a story that features bodies so prominently. Clothed, for the most part, but still, there’s a lot of bodies, in motion and at rest, in this book and they look fantastic. Carlos Pedro and Keith Chan are both to thank for that and they deserve a great deal of credit.
But the storytelling is splendid here. Hillman mostly stays focused on the team’s formation and performance with the romance side-plots casually thrown in. Very casually, in fact, in one memorable locker room scene. And I really enjoyed that. Sometimes, life isn’t all about love. Life can be about companionship and sneaking around stealing copies at work and getting outside of your comfort level, with just a splish of love thrown in, and that’s interesting, too. Stephanie, our heroine, loves her mom back in Canada and her friends that she forms the team with and maybe she gets to know cute Carlos from the office, just while she’s at it, but it’s not some huge splashy, dramatic thing. How could it be when she’s got a team to manage and a sport to learn? There’s a couple tales of love and lust that play out in this book and they’re all really fun and, in one case, actually really moving. These parts are just kind of threaded into the story, much like that sort of thing happens in real life, which was perfect and compelling and kept me turning the page, even through the referee hand-signal guide.
I think, after the dismal week I had and bleak weekend that followed, that I really needed Fast and Frightening’s easy, breezy story. Like roller derby? Like slice-o’-life with a smidge of luuuuuurve? Like sisters doin’ it for themselves? Check out Fast and Frightening – A Comic About Roller Derby. | Erin Jameson
To purchase a copy of Fast and Frightening—A Comic About Roller Derby, visit!

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