Some of my usual dislikes in a story are in Thirsty Mermaids: the drinking to excess, the odd characters that are less than intelligent about common sense, not getting punished for events like stealing, and every character is conveniently “other.” However, in Kat Leyh’s graphic novel, they are pluses.
I can forgive the stealing as the guy they stole from seemed like a jerk. I can accept the drinking because it is necessary to push these characters forward. Would I like to have seen less “binge drinking to stupidity?” Yes, I am a fan of moderation when it comes to things like that. But personal biases aside, I was able to push all of that away because in the end this is a book that is simply a story of finding your pod. Of finding your family. And has great art and is just f’ing funny.
Three merfolk (all seem to present as female/her) love human floatie things. They (humans) just carelessly lose them in the deep. But hey! Finders’ keepers and one of the best finds is what comes in bottles. Those happy bottles that Eez can open within an air bubble. The happy liquid that makes them tipsy (okay fershnickered!) and make bad choices: like using Eez’s magic to turn them human so they can get more to drink.
And they get more alright: they scare the locals because they decide to just prance around in their new birthday suits. They don’t understand clothing, money, walking, or hangovers. And oh boy do they have hangovers! They also need money. And their new friend (their bartender) takes them under her wing and so what if they think they are mermaids; they are still pretty cool. The ups and downs of learning to walk is the easiest thing they will deal with. They will come to understand jobs, friendship, finding your home, deal with body dysmorphia, learn about themselves, and learn about each other.
The art of Leyh is subtle and in your face. Colors are every place. And the personality of each character comes alive. Tooth is the “big shark” bouncer chick. Pearl the leader, full of confidence. And Eez shy, unsure and has trouble understanding why she must cover her markings/breasts, (as does Pearl, the showing of, not the markings) as they are who she is. And here is where a lot of the “other” becomes obvious. The trio’s friend has a rainbow and trans flag on her small balcony. There is Angel, sister to their new roommate and her partner Mx. Ada. There is a same sex male couple (who are a wonderful old, married couple). And other bar plays a part and each person there is designed to show they are not the hetero-norm. Usually, I like to focus on one theme at a time, but the community everyone creates is what is needed.
There is some scenes with obvious nudity, but it is not there for shock, but to show the personality of the charcter(s).