GRAPHIC NOVELS

Hot Comb

Drawn & Quarterly. Jun. 2019. 184p. pap. $21.95. ISBN 9781770463486.
COPY ISBN
Gr 9 Up–This rich collection of comics brilliantly explores the ways that Black women and girls use hair care to console, construct, and criticize themselves and one another. “Hot Comb” features a tween girl with natural hair who begs her mother for a perm in an effort to fit in with her new classmates, but her new hairdo only results in a different set of classmates making fun of her. In “Big Ma,” the titular character relays the trials of motherhood as her daughter roller sets her hair. Her granddaughter learns that there are some things hair care can’t fix. A baseball player’s experience on an all-white team leads to a harmful coping mechanism in “Fieldwork Follies.” These characters use hair care as a vehicle to heal old wounds and sometimes inflict new ones. Hair care also serves as a way to cover up the pain of living in an unequal and unjust system. The way one’s hair is styled becomes a currency that can be used to purchase status. The Black women and girls in these tales struggle to have their natural beauty recognized, with mixed results.
VERDICT This graphic novel examines how hairstyles affect the lives of Black women and girls, and how perception of black hair often shapes the way African American women and girls see their own beauty. Ideal for most public and school libraries.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.