I think Abby Denson’s ponytail is too tight! They created one outrageous, crazy, mixed-up commentary on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness when they made Dolltopia. Denson tells the story of (even from the first conscious moment in the Doll Factory), a doll (Kitty Ballerina) realizing that she wants more. She did not even wait for the mind-numbing play with the humans before she realized doll life sucked. She finally gets up the nerve to break away from the dream house and Soccer Scotty (happy with the status quo), she finds an army doll (Army Jim) who wants to escape to Dolltopia (please don’t ask how he knows about Dolltopia as it is a secret. I guess it is like the A-Team, you just magically know about them). They find Dolltopia with its kind citizens and a plastic surgery happy Doc, find new clothes (Jim looks fabulous in his kilt) and start to find a little piece of themselves. But of course, not all is fab in paradise and the dolls will have to fight to be safe.
Now the illustrations are basic, simple and the use of pink can be brain dulling but is important to the flow of things. Color is mostly not heard of (except pink, black and white/gray). Details are mostly not heard of. On one hand, that really drives home the point of individuality, finding yourself, and your place. But on the other, it can make somethings just not seem to fit. And even when we know who we are talking too (there are two dolls Candy X and Candy O who were fashion dolls, but now one is punk and the other a cougar-soccer-mom-drag queen, who is a fun character), you might need to step back and remind yourself who is who, especially since Candy X and the Doctor look the same (but though they are seemingly presenting as female the dolls of Dolltopia call the Doctor him).
There is some commentary about being GLBTQ. Candy X and Candy O are together, and Soccer Scotty meets Sailor Sammy (who really likes the kitty ears head band he found) and they find themselves together later (Scotty decides that Kitty was right, and his escape was less than perfect making him really be one of a kind and now into vinyl clothing). And while the images seem tame, there are some “extra” things: Scotty’s face is torn by a dog, so the doctor sews to different faces together, Sammy loses his head, the Doctor (and others) have “scars” from surgery, there is even Kitty and Jim in bed together (though I’m guessing we saw more action with Ozzie and Harriet in their separate beds). Therefore, this is not for the young Barbie doll crowd. However, if your Barbie lover is a emo/punk/goth teen or and adult (at least fourteen and up), you have a winner.
I forgot to add that there are “cutouts” of some dolls and some clothes as you go along. The afterwards sums things up and has a nod to Joss Whedon’s (pre #MeToo) show Dollhouse (which as Denson compares to their work). And I picked the image to the left because vinyl was funny to me. The next page had another really funny scene, but I only have room for so many, plus it was a library book and I didn’t want to bend it to get better quality.