I was so geeked when I got an advance copy of Jem and the Holograms courtesy of Kelly Thompson and IDW Publishing! Thanks guys for allowing me to get my feet wet with the first issue that is scheduled to be released March 25th on IDW Publishing. If you have not yet had the opportunity to check out IDW’s website, there is sneak peek art and a free preview of issue #1 available for everyone to peruse. The first issue begins with Jerrica (not Jem) and the Holograms performing in a studio with a skeleton camera crew. Shana Elmsford, Kimber Benton, and Aja Leith are concerned because Jerrica freaks out onstage and cannot let out a single note. As it turns out, the only time Jerrica feels comfortable enough to perform is when she is alone with the Holograms. The small crew of four people filming a video at the time, is enough to give Jerrica an extreme case of stage fright.
A disagreement ensues between the girls since Kimber is frustrated at this point with Jerrica’s lack of self-confidence and Aja and Shana feel the tensions rise among the group. We don’t know why Kimber is so frustrated, but its likely her tolerance level may be lower than the rest of the girls because Kimber and Jerrica are siblings. We don’t know yet their full family history, but Kimber at this point has had it with Jerrica’s inability to perform in front of a crowd. Shana and Aja collect themselves while Kimber and Jerrica have a discussion outside of the studio to try to get to the root of Jerrica’s conundrum.
I’ll be honest. I was quite the cynic when I read the preview and saw that Jerrica Benton, a woman whom I remember from canon, was confident and stoic. Not a timid girl filled with stage fright.
However, as the story arc develops, I understand why this is a starting point for Jerrica Benton. Since the author is going with a new origin for Jem, her secret is a bit different– within the series of events that take place in her new story. It’s pretty clear from this first issue that we are diving into Jerrica’s perspective here and have a lot more to learn about who she is, what her motives are, and why she is so insecure.
The comic is splashed with hues of hot pink, purple, and blue –my favorite colors by the way! And the artist Sophie Campbell (formerly known as Ross Campbell) is a genius at illustrating body diversity, does so perfectly with the composition of our favorite characters Aja, Shana, Jerrica, and Kimber. I am super impressed at how inch by inch each character looks different from the other. When I first laid eyes on the artwork as the new Jem comic was announced, I wasn’t feelin the fauxhawks. The images of Jem and the Holograms have been so deeply ingrained in my childhood and adulthood that any deviation for me was jarring. However, I’m slowly acclimating to the new imagery. What I do like about Campbell’s designs are that they’re not carbon copy cutouts of characters where the only way to differentiate one from the other is by their hair color or their skin tone. IDW also profiles the characters in the back of the comic. Everything from what their pet peeves are to what kind of foods they like.
Shana likes sushi, so I hope to see an issue with her going to sushi bar with a hot date!
The comic looks like its doing what the show did best, the presentation of dramatic issues and events interlaced with fashion, music and adventure.
I think the canon purists like me who were a little turned off by the idea that our 80’s version of Jem was modified may feel at ease once they get an opportunity to read this. What makes this appealing is, I can see myself dressed up as one of these women. It took some time to for it to settle with me, but I actually do like the idea that Jerrica Benton who is the protagonist and lead singer of the group is incredibly insecure. This is a great way to introduce the story of someone who has it all, but yet still is just like so many of the rest of us. This part of Jerrica/Jem’s tale is comforting to me, because I can identify. I believe so many other readers will too.
As for new readers, I think you’ll latch onto this story right away and will be psyched to learn about the story of Jem and how she came to be. I encourage new readers to watch the Christy Marx version of Jem and the Holograms currently airing on the Discovery Family Channel.
It’s always good to see how the OGs got it done!
So there it is. So far so good! Issue #1 did a what every first issue comic is supposed to do, have you anticipating with baited breath to see what’s in store for issue #2!