Blue Monday is a comic series (comprised of small strips, short stories, and longer multi-issue arcs) written and drawn by Chynna Clugston, an indie rock and pop-culture fanatic. The series revolves around Bleu L. Finnegan, a teenager living in early 90's California, her friends, and their misadventures.
Published by Oni Press and later Image Comics, most of the stories are slice-of-life fare (school, parties, concerts, pranks, going for pizza, dates), with the occasional supernatural oddness thrown in (floating Jesus heads, a not-so-imaginary Scottish Pooka in the form of a giant otter...) amid the various fart and sex jokes. Aside from its unique blend of Japanese and American humor and subject matter, Blue Monday is also notable for having the main title and the title of each chapter being the title of a song. And while it's drawn in the style of a Japanese manga, the content is purely American.
The first installments came out in the late 90's as mini-strips in Oni Comics Presents, but new arcs pop up now and again, the latest being 2008's "Thieves Like Us". The author has stated that she'll keep making new installments as they pop into her head. It is being reprinted by Image in 2016.
This comic provides Examples Of:
- A-Cup Angst: Bleu rarely gripes about her less-than-ample chest, though losing a contest for Adam Ant tickets because she didn't have big ones that she was willing to expose stung quite a bit...
- Adults Are Useless: Very averted. Not only do the adults play crucial (if minor) roles, but they're always one step ahead of the kids when it comes to their misbehavior.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Averted. None of the main female cast seem at all interested in jocks or "playas". Bleu even goes so far as to wonder where all the Paul Weller wannabes are ... before meeting and crushing on Mister Bishop, who for all intents and purposes is a Cool Loser who isn't anywhere near "badboy" enough to take advantage of her feelings even if he wanted to.
- Art Evolution: Over time, Chynna's art has matured, as have the character's appearances, despite the fact that they supposedly haven't aged more than a year.
- Ascended Extra: Monkeyboy appears in one chapter in volume one, then becomes part of the main group in volume three.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Victor and Clover.
- Bested at Bowling: Except it was soccer. In front of the whole school. And the referee was Clover's brother, allowing her to kick the shit out of Victor and Alan.
- Breast Attack: Inverted in Absolute Beginners, when Alan rips Clover's shirt off. Victor stares at her breasts for a bit too long, so she responds by slapping him in the face with them.
- Brick Joke: The entire plotline of Lovecats is a sequel/embellishment of Contagiously Yours.
- The Cameo:
- Whenever Chynna Clugston-Major does a comic for another series, keep your eyes peeled for the cast of Blue Monday. Clover, Bleu, Erin, and Alan (with Victor in the background) can be found searching for the Teen Titans in Teen Titans Go! #38, and have their own table in the background of a panel in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up. (Note that the coloring is off; Bleu's recognizable blue hair is given to Alan, while she has pink hair).
- A picture she drew for Nickelodeon Magazine's "The Comic Book" in February of 2005 features a character with Victor's distinctive sideburns.
- Cycle of Revenge: And HOW! Never, EVER tape a girl bathing and show people. You'll lose your porn collection in a ball of fire. Of course, if you made copies, don't let the girl know or she and her friends will beat the shit out of you in front of the whole school during a rigged soccer match. Of course, by that point, you're justified in sending a copy to air on local cable access. And this isn't even taking into account the mass TP-ing of a house or the pube-burgers!
- A Date with Rosie Palms: Bleu takes to masturbation like a duck to water, and suddenly starts visiting the girls' room at school a bit too much."So, um, how 'bout that hall pass?"
- A Day in the Limelight: Contagiously Yours in the first volume acts as one for Victor.
- Description Cut: Alan, who has a crush on Bleu, turns down Erin because he likes "girls with a little class". Cut to Bleu proudly unleashing a massive belch.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: All the main characters except Monkeyboy have different hairstyles in the flashback scenes of "Lovecats".
- Foreign Cuss Word: Clover is prone to slipping into Gaelic profanity when she's angry.
- Funetik Aksent: Clover. Of course, this isn't counting when she goes into full-out Gaelic.
- Good Bad Girl: Erin is notorious for having her blinds always open for boys to see her get undressed or in her underwear (to the point that Clover's dad knows about it), wears nighties and sexy lingerie to get Alan's attention, but he lampshades this by pointing out that she's "pure as the driven snow, no mater how you try to hide it!" Her goodness unquestionably dies out come Absolute Beginners, though.
- Hilarity in Zoos: Bleu and her friends go to the zoo, where every exhibit they see has animals mating in front of them. They eventually realize it only happens when Bleu goes near the animals, making them assume she has some sort of supernatural effect. All of this is very irritating to Bleu, who's dealing with her own budding teenage sexuality.
- Holiday Episode: The third volume, Inbetween Days, is a collection of holiday-themed chapters.
- Hormone-Addled Teenager: A pretty realistic take on budding teenage sexuality, with an entire chapter being devoted to Bleu and Victor (separately) discovering masturbation. There's also plenty of angst about who likes who, and if they like the other person back.
- Idiosyncratic Chapter Naming: Every volume and chapter is titled after a song, down to the series' title coming from New Order's "Blue Monday":
- The first volume is named after The Who's "The Kids Are Alright". Its three chapters are "There's No Other Way" by Blur, "Substitute", also by The Whonote , and "Try This for Sighs" by Adam Ant who appears in the story.
- The second volume is titled after David Bowie, "Absolute Beginners", with "Something About You" by Level 42, "Favorite Shirts" by Haircut 100 (alternately titled "Boy Meets Girl"), "To Sir, with Love" by Lulu, and "Hands Off, She's Mine" by The English Beat making up the chapter titles.
- The third volume is named after The Cure's "Inbetween Days" and contains chapters titled after "Dead Man's Party" by Oingo Boingo, the band The Blue Belles, The Cure's "Lovecats", and "Nobody's Fool" by Cinderella, which itself is made up of two parts, "Everything's Gone Green" by New Order and "Everybody Plays the Fool" by The Main Ingredient.
- The fourth volume is titled "Painted Moon" after The Silencers' song, with the chapters "How Soon is Now?" by The Smiths, "Pictures of Lily" by The Who, "Blues Before and After" by The Smithereens, and "I Confess" by The English Beat.
- The title of the fifth, most recent volume is "Thieves Like Us", after another New Order song.
- Ladykiller in Love: A minor version with Alan's feelings for Bleu, although how much of a ladykiller he is is up to interpretation.
- Like Reality, Unless Noted
- Love Dodecahedron: Let's see: Bleu likes Mr. Bishop, who doesn't seem to have a romantic interest. (Plus, she's his student.) Both Victor and Alan like Bleu, but Victor actually prefers Clover, who sorta likes Victor back but is in denial about it. Erin likes Alan but doesn't stand a chance with him, so she tries to hook Victor and Bleu up so that Alan can't have Bleu (and later actually does go out with Alan, ostensibly to make Bleu jealous). Monkeyboy seems to like Erin but would probably take anyone he could.
- Love Letter Lunacy: Victor writes Clover a romantic letter asking her to the dance ... too bad he stuffs it in the wrong locker! It's later revealed in In Between Days that Clover did get the letter in her locker but was so angered by Victor writing the letter in such a sneaky way (leaving off the name to better his chances of getting a date from the three main girls) that she stuffed it into Sally's locker.
- Moment Killer: In "Lovecats", Clover and Victor finally have a Big Damn Kiss... only for the others to find them a few nanoseconds later. They immediately separate and move several feet apart before their friends can see.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Shamus the Pooka seems to be a hallucination, until it's revealed that other people can smell him, and that Clover can SEE him, despite saying that she couldn't (turns out she was just messing with Bleu's head).
- One Judge to Rule Them All: Bleu sings her heart out during a contest to try and win Adam Ant tickets ... but she loses by default because another girl (who confused A.A. for a "Skay" artist) had bigger tits and allowed herself to be subjected to a wet t-shirt contest.
- Operation: Jealousy: Hoping to finally get Bleu to see him in a romantic light, Alan starts going out with Erin, and being very blatant with the public displays of affection.
- Origins Episode: Most of the Valentines Day special comic "Lovecats" is a flashback to how the gang all met each other at a previous Valentines dance.
- Perverse Sexual Lust: In universe. Bleu tries to think about Mr. Bishop the first time she masturbates, but the chaste, Courtly Love she has for him makes getting off difficult. But fantasizing about Alan? Does the trick in no time. She's not sure how to feel after that.
- Radio Contest: Bleu tries this several times to get Adam Ant tickets.
- Scooter-Riding Mod: Some characters. Alan buys a scooter when he hears Bleu is into the Mod subculture.
- Shopping Cart Antics:
- Victor duct-tapes Bleu into a shopping cart and sends her through a car wash. Then he takes her home, but leaves her on the porch in the cart while he has dinner with her family.
- Later on, the boys prank all three girls like this, sending them down a hill. Clover's is called a paddy wagon, since she's Fighting Irish (and it's the St. Patrick's Day Episode).
- As noted, the chapter titles are all taken from songs.
- Also a couple to John Hughes films. Victor describes his first Valentine's Dance as having him stand by the wall "like the losers in Sixteen Candles," and Clover's prized possession is a copy of Some Kind of Wonderful, which she is seen watching in a later chapter.
- The cover of Painted Moon parodies the silent film A Trip to the Moon.
- The Halloween Episode parodies several Horror Comedy works, including Dark Shadows and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (with Monkeyboy as Frank-N-Furter).
- A Simple Plan:
- Want to play a game of Clue with everyone actually playing their roles? Sounds fun... until three separate people spike the punch and one attendant keeps looking at the clue cards.
- Suggestive Collision: In a flashback to Bleu's first Valentines Dance, Victor slips on spilled punch and knocks Clover into the punch bowl, and then onto the floor.Bleu: If you didn't know each other before, I'd say you know each other now. Is that legal in public?
Victor: Sorry! I'm sorry!
Clover: I hope for your sake that's a pencil! A simple "hello" would have done fine, y'know!
- Those Two Guys: Victor and Alan at first, before they become integrated into the main cast.
- There's also Tom and Patrick, who are part of The Tree People (the group of alt kids and weirdos hanging out by the largest tree at school).
- Totally Radical: Erin makes fun of Bleu's old-fashioned slang, to which Bleu shoots right back.Bleu: (to Clover) Come on, chickie baby, let's go shake it!
Erin: Bleu, you have the squarest vocabulary on the planet.
Bleu: You're the one who said "square". Who uses that anymore?
Erin: I was using it to make a point!
Bleu: Erin, you're so rad. So boss. So much hipper than me.
- Trapped in TV Land: The short story in volume one, Sherlockette.
- Tsundere: Clover to a T.
- Use Your Head: During the match from Absolute Beginners, Clover headbutts Alan in the face so hard she draws blood.
- The 'Verse: A Crossover with Paul Dini's Jingle Belle implies this, as does some promotional art with Clugston-Major's other comic, Scooter Girl.