The Lolita subculture is a global phenomenon with rabid fans that also happen to be, more often than not, interested in manga and comics. The blending of essays about the subculture and the cartoonists experiences with it, mixed with fictional short comics make this the perfect introduction to Lolita and also a must have for those already in the know.
Features an essay and interview with preeminent Lolita icon Novala Takemoto. Known as the "Lolita's Bard," his 2002 novel Kamikaze Girls is seen as a quintessential document of Lolita culture. Having Takemoto involved makes So Pretty / Very Rotten even more of vital document of the subculture, especially for the English-speaking world. It would be akin to having Curt Cobain interviewed and writing in a book on grunge music.
Jane Mai and An Nguyen are both rising cartooning stars in their own rights, and the contrast between Nguyen's scholarly research-based writing and layered thoughtful comics, against Mai's brazen, colloquial and idiosyncratic personal essays and dark, paranoid, horror-inspired comics, offers wonderful contrast and a well-rounded look at the plusses and pitfalls of subculture participation.
"Mai and Nguyen's work is an invaluable resource for whoever wants to get acquainted with a culture that, underneath its frilly garments, is a paradoxical form of empowerment and self-assertion." -- Angelica Frey, Hyperallergic "Beyond fans, [So Pretty / Very Rotten] offers a general reader an introduction to a consumer subculture that resonates in the nostalgia of fairy tale worlds and external performance of a genderless self." -- Gregory Smith, Pop Matters An Nguyen is an Ottawa-based cartoonist and illustrator best known for her romantic comic series Open Spaces and Closed Places. She has drawn comics for Spera: Ascension of the Starless, Electric Ant zine, and various Love Love Hill anthologies. In addition to So Pretty / Very Rotten, she and Jane Mai also released a zine titled Don't Talk to Me or I'll Set Myself on Fire. Jane Mai is a freelance illustrator and comic artist from Brooklyn, New York. Her work has appeared in several anthologies and self-published zines. Koyama Press published her first book, Sunday in the Park with Boys, which was followed by the zine Sorry I Can't Come in on Monday I'm Really Really Sick, and See You Next Tuesday. Novala Takemoto is a Japanese author, fashion designer and prominent promoter of the Lolita lifestyle. Soleinuit (Kokushokankai), his first collection of essays, was published in 1998. He debuted as a novelist in 2000 with Missin' (Shogakukan). He achieved wide recognition when his 2002 novel Shimotsuma Monogatari (Shogakukan) was adapted into the movie, Kamikaze Girls, in 2004. His most recent work is Rakkusei (Cyzo, Inc.).