For the Frontwomen

An article by, Aaron Burton


My first guitar was a Synsonic. It was white with a body similar to a Fender Stratocaster. The wiring was shot so I couldn't use an amp. The previous owner was left handed and attempted to play this guitar backwards. A botched strap bolt placement left a large crack down the side of the body. This poor instrument had a rough life, but it was mine. I have had many guitars since, but I will never forget my first. Though it was barely functional, it did its job of getting me interesting in playing and creating music.

Sucks Being Smart is written and drawn by Mike Greear. The book is published by 7 Brain Comics. There is currently one issue of the comic which premiered on April 18 2018. Sucks Being Smart is a sci-fi comedy with abstract elements and a focus on music.

Sucks Being Smart is about a woman named Mollie who front's a punk rock band. Her musical talents increase when she becomes the proud owner of a 1966 Fender Duo-Sonic. Her world is turned upside down when she finds out her new guitar is possessed by a Dr. Manhattan-esque astral being known as The Spacediver. This magical being promises to make Mollie the best band leader.


The introduction of the book explains that "Sound is represented in color and time is represented in sound." The art of Sucks Being Smart stays true to this sentiment. The band's music is represented through bursts and layers of color. This visual are just as chaotic as the music they are playing. The main story is black and white with colored speech bubbles. This all changes when noise gives to explosions of color.

There is a double standard in music when it comes to gender and popularity. There can be an infinite amount of male acts that are popular at any given time. Typically, in order for a new female act to be popular they must replace one of the current female artists. People seem to have an easier time comparing female artists to each other, and this keeps multiple acts from sharing the same spotlight. Blondie was replaced by No Doubt who was replaced by Garbage who was replaced by Paramore. In pop culture we are seeing much discussion about how Cardi B is filling Nicki Minaj's role in modern hip hop.
  
Sucks Being Smart gives nods to many female-fronted musical acts such as Warpaint and CHVRCHES. Greear also mentions Phantogram, a duo formed not far from my house. I loved seeing all of these strong female artists in one place. There is no need for these artists to compete or replace each other. They can all occupy the same space without the false dichotomy arguments given by mainstream music culture. This is the way it should be, and I am happy this book puts female artists are the forefront.

Sucks Being Smart #1 gives us a taste of the story to come. I cannot wait to read more of this book. This is one of the comics that stuck with me after reading. I read it on Wednesday when it came out and subsequently spent the rest of the week and weekend thinking about female artists. I also revisited some of my favorite albums, such as Patti Smith's Horses, and Sleater-Kinney's Call the Doctor. I will definitely keep my eye out for more issues of Sucks being Smart.

Sucks Being Smart is available on Comixology.

Get more of 7 Brain Comics at their blog!


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