Lost Girls is a graphic novel published by Top Shelf Comics in 2006. Written by Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, and illustrated by Melinda Gebbie, the work is a masterpiece in any sense of the word, filled with complex characters, immensely detailed fictional worlds, and huge amounts of cultural subtext.
Yeah, and plenty of hardcore fuck action. Because in addition to being a great graphic novel, Lost Girls is all about sex, lesbian sex, straight sex, gay sex, threesomes, foursomes, incest, pedophilia, bestiality.... it's an unspeakably filthy book, one that anyone with even a hint of squeamishness will find upsetting at times. I cannot stress enough that this book is not intended for children, and that even discussing the themes and events of the book will lead into various unsavory aspects of human psychology.
So it's NSFW, get it? Don't read it, hell, don't read the rest of this post, unless you're really really ready for what's coming down the pike.
That said, the book is incredibly brilliant, and it deserves the same kind of annotation that Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and Gaiman's Sandman series have gotten. And while I'm not the absolute best person to do this job, I'm going to do the best I can here and hope that others will email me with additions and/or corrections.
My limitations: I actually have not currently read Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, or The Wizard of Oz, although I am of course familiar with popular adaptations of them, so I cannot directly comment on the original material. I plan on reading the books later on, so hopefully I can make these annotations works in progress to which I can add impressions as time goes by.
Similarly, I am not an artist or an art critic. While Gebbie's work illustrating the books is wonderfully appreciated by me, I cannot discuss the artwork in technical detail. I will, however, be discussing the meaning of the imagery within the context of the narrative. My main focus in these annotations will be to discuss the parallelism in the structure of the overall work, and hidden references within and to outside sources.
I will also be perhaps stepping a bit outside the bounds of the annotative format and discuss my own reactions to different parts of the work, in a sense making the whole thing a very detailed critical reaction of Lost Girls. With material this personal and a work this intricate, I cannot imagine trying to do otherwise, and hopefully my honesty up front about this issue will allow any readers to accept that bias as stated.
This is a forthright, daring, and somewhat disturbing book. I feel it deserves commentary that accepts it as is, and attempts to elucidate the honest reactions of at least one reader (myself). I am sorry that I'm not more talented or well-read to analyze Moore and Gebbie's work, and if they ever run across this text I hope they will read it with the understanding that I write this annotation out of love for the original source material, and have the utmost respect for their joint accomplishment.
That said, shall we get started?