Covet Thy Coven 

Oni Press' Spell Checkers Delivers Mean Girl Domination


NARRATIVELY, it's hard to go wrong with teenage witches who use their powers for mean girl domination. It's a time-honored guilty pleasure (Jennifer's Body, The Craft, and basically Mean Girls), and Oni Press' new comic Spell Checkers does everything right by the trope, with three high school witches whose BFF relationship is put to the test by a mysterious bad speller out to dethrone the teen queens.

Leader of the pack Cynthia, bad girl Kimmie, and mousy Jesse use their powers to get good grades, smoke in the lunchroom—and ensure that they rule the school. That is, until someone starts tagging the school with grammatically challenged graffiti dissing the trio. It doesn't take long for the girls to turn on each other, as their powers start to dwindle.

Spell Checkers jumps between present-day, manga-style drawings by Nicolas Hitori De, and clean, beautiful work by Joëlle Jones, who draws the witches in kindergarten flashbacks. The pairing of the two styles is initially a bit jarring—Hitori De's work is wispy and light, which makes the 15-year-olds look more juvenile than in Jones' crisp drawings. But settling into Jamie S. Rich's story it becomes apparent that the witches have devolved into a childish high-school power play, with Jones' work emphasizing how strong the girls were before boys and clothes took precedence. The sum result is a fun, fast book—one to follow as the Spell Checkers series continues.


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