Unlike many stories that use a bait and switch cover image to lure a reader in, Strange Girl is just as daring as this cover image implies. Everyone thinks our heroine Liz is a lesbian, even her own mother.
Let this be a lesson to all of the parents out there: general maintenance and yard work will turn your daughter into a lesbian. I know because one time when I was like 12, my parents let me rake some leaves to earn extra money and I spent the next six weeks having these feelings about Lynda Carter.
The artist who worked on this story isn't credited, but he must've worked for MAD at some point, because his style is very familiar and I keep expecting the story to turn into a parody of a 70's movie. It kind of distracts me from the awesome lesbian content.
I know I'm supposed to hate the catty girl in the second panel who strongly implies that our heroine Liz is a lesbian, but I kind of have sympathy for her. There she is in her best pink shirt with matching pink go-go boots, and the red-haired dork she's walking with just wants to talk about putting the town lesbian in a dress. Talk about a burn!
Thanks for the Veruca Salt dress, MOTHER. Where's my Golden Ticket?
It's a good thing that Agnes' mother is distracted by the pain of wearing about 14 pounds of industrial-size curlers, or else she might've picked up on the subtle clues that Agnes' bedroom is about to become Makeout Central.
Oh sure, let Agnes walk home alone, in the dark, with a crowd of lecherous basketball fans roaming the streets.
What's Fred's bag, anyway? I mean, first he's standing on the court during a basketball game, and faking whiplash, and now it's 10 minutes later and he's asking personal questions and trying to hold hands. I think he has boundary issues.
Smooth, Fred. Questioning a girl's sexuality is the perfect way to endear yourself to her. So is launching at her in the dark, come to think of it.
There goes Fred and his boundary issues again, now he's in love. I'm starting to think he really did bump his head and that puffy red hair of his is masking the contusion. Check out Liz's mother's ecstatic reaction: LIZ IS THERE A BOY? LIZ I AM CALLING GRANDMA RIGHT NOW SO SHE CAN WRITE YOU BACK INTO HER WILL!
Yeah yeah, don't we all wish for a boyfriend like Fred... to act as our unwitting beards.
So that's Strange Girl, and even though our heroine isn't a lesbian (I think that'd be too much to ask for) it's a pretty racy story regardless. It's the only story I've ever read where a character's sexuality is questioned, and it gives me an insight into why, when I was growing up girls' sports teams were always referred to as the powderpuff teams. Even well into my highschool years the girls played Powderpuff Football or Powderpuff Basketball. It was just a way of forestalling the lesbian jokes!