Menstruation Station: Menarche Aboard! by Jen Vaughn

menstruation-stationHow could I resist? Though I didn’t get my copy at a convention, and therefore missed out on the free tampon, there was no way I would miss a book with such bloody themes.

Jen Vaughn is a MFA student at CCS. Her focus in Menstruation Station is less coming-of-age wah wahs and more fantasies inspired by blood and blood production. “Safety Net” is a circus love story gone down the drain and the inside of a vagina, “VIP Seats” is about sacrifices people make for the rock and roll lifestyle, and “Charms” is a funny, Buffy-style take on teenage witchery. “So Now You Are a Woman” is the only take on menarche proper, and instead of being smug and reassuring like most stories about that first bloody day, it’s a negative (and very true) rendering of the experience.

The four short stories and assorted extras in the mini show her facility depicting motion and the emotions of the characters through facial expression. The inky brushwork in concert with light, deft lines, add a lushness to some of her subjects (hair, shadows, blood fountains) and move your eye around each panel. Perhaps I’m a bit old-fashioned, but my reading experience would have been a bit better if each story had a title panel, or some other way of signaling the start of a new story.

Because Vaughn’s character design is so good, I wanted the stories to be longer and fuller. I am looking forward to the next installment.

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