Cartoonist: Emma Jayne
Dream Sequence Art: Pseudonym Jones
Flats: Sophia Foster-Domino
Publisher: Phantom Femme Press
In Trans Girls Hit the Field, Emma Jayne returns to the story of Cleo and Winnie, two trans girls who first appeared in Trans Girls Hit the Town.
Just like its predecessor – which recently received a Prism Award in addition to a previously awarded-Ignatz Award – Trans Girls Hit the Field is an outstanding comic that accurately depicts the experience of the queer characters at the heart of its story.
Like the first book, one of the ways that Trans Girls Hit the Field excels is at depicting the experience of being a trans woman in earnest, accurate detail. Whether they’re discussing the benefits of being a fall queer or dreading being gawked at by white suburban wine moms, Cleo, Winnie, and Catalina each feel like real people.
Having not one but several realistically-depicted trans women engage in extended, complicated interactions with each other is therapeutic in a deep and meaningful way. Considering how rare it is to have even a single accurately depicted and complex trans character, having three seems like an incalculable bounty.
Adding Cat to the roster complicates the interpersonal dynamics between Cleo and Winnie, which were the focus in Trans Girls Hit the Town. In that book, Cleo was the less enthusiastic party, while Winnie was the motivating factor in the night’s adventure. The introduction of Cat to the equation unsettles the dynamic, forcing Cleo to be the more enthusiastic party when compared to Cat’s dispirited (and by her own admition, somewhat jealous) grumbling.
This is a superb development for the sequel to Trans Girls Hit the Town for a number of reasons. For one, it provides an additional trans perspective, one that matches neither Winnie or Cleo’s, thereby providing the reader with a more textured glimpse into the trans community. But from a purely narrative standpoint, it makes sense, too: at the conclusion of the last book, Winnie and Cleo’s relationship had arrived at a more or less stable situation – whereas the introduction of the sometimes-acerbic Cat immediately creates circumstances that are ripe for drama.
Hit by pitch
Just like in Trans Girls Hit the Town, the sequel doesn’t solely depict the positive moments of being trans: it also depicts some of the negative experiences. This includes some transphobic behavior from a member of the opposing softball team, as well as Winnie overhearing the umpire’s response to the transphobe’s complaints.
Rather than coming to any sort of forced resolution, Trans Girls Hit the Field allows the issue to be resolved realistically. In other words, we see how Winnie makes her personal peace with the situation after the conclusion of the game, even if we don’t find out if the transphobe learned the error of their ways.
It isn’t just trans girls working together on the page in Trans Girls Hit the Field, either: Pseudonym Jones contributed art for a dream sequence. The style of the dream sequence both compliments the rest of the art and is distinct, making it perfect for the purpose of recounting Cleo’s dream. Plus, her fantasy about a muscular, competent mechanic is just as entertaining as Cat’s hilarious interjections.
Best of all, bringing in another trans woman for an assist underscores the thematic concerns of Trans Girls Hit the Field magnificently.
Trans Girls Hit the Field is a grand slam
Trans Girls Hit the Field is a comic that’s outstanding in its field – not just among queer comics but among comics generally. It isn’t just an excellent and authentic depiction of trans characters, it’s a glimpse of people who feel like they might be you and your friends.
We can only hope that there will be future entries in the Trans Girls… series that will further explore the world of these characters, and – if we are audacious enough to dream of a comic with four trans characters – continue to expand the trans dramatis personae.