I am not sure I was the intended audience for Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers. However, I think everyone should read this graphic novel as it is not just about the hair of women of color but the story of women in the bigger picture. I feel anyone can find a piece of themselves inside these stories. There are triggers (including but not limited to drug use, abuse, bullying, racism within the community), but they are there to move the story along/to show the situation these girls and women are facing, not to shock or to be a trigger. The illustrations can be awkward, but set the tone of things. The black/white/gray look can hide the “punch” of some things, but also gives it a somber feeling. They give the stories an old school look. Though published in 2019, I was getting 1970s vibes, but I am assuming the author was writing a contemporary piece.
The publisher’s description gives the best technical information by saying “in a series of comics vignettes” and it is an “exploration of black women’s relationships to their hair is rich with both sorrow and celebration.” The subjects tackled are just that, tackled. They are not easy and bring up a few things people may not be familiar with, such as trichotillomania (obsessive hair pulling). At least one story is not set in the states, but could have been set anywhere (except for the fact the three characters drive through a jungle-forest area). And the ideas are familiar and could be relatable to most people. I do not know of a loving mother who does not worry about her child and does the best she can to raise her right. I do not know of a child who has not dealt with peer pressure. And anyone who has had something different about them (and it does not have to be as extreme as being the only girl of color on your softball team) can relate to some of the pressures faced. Of course, the focus is on the celebration of the women of color and their lives.
This is an experience book that might need multiple experiences for you to get everything from it.