Alright, full disclosure. Although I am familiar with Jem and the Holograms from when I was a kid, (I used to watch the TV show a bit) and I re-watched the whole first season during BGN’s “Jem Live Tweet” earlier this year, I had not yet read the new Jem and the Holograms comic that debuted this year from IDW by Kelly Thompson and Sophie Campbell. Truthfully, I thought I might be lost, it might be as bad as the movie trailers look or worse yet, I would be too old for this story. However, I realized something a few pages into this issue.
It doesn’t matter.
No really, it doesn’t. Sophie Campbell and Kelly Thompson set up what you’ve missed in a “Previously on Jem” page (like those first 2 minutes of your favorite anime or primetime TV show) so well, that within minutes I was all caught up and thrown headfirst into the brightly colored, 80’s styled, teenage angst of two rival all girl punk bands, the Holograms and the Misfits.
JATH is a wild ride. From the hair, the outfits (the SHOES), the epic food fights and the drama, not to mention the way Kelly Thompson draws the groups singing. I really have never seen anything like it! (I can honestly say, I have never seen motorcycle guitars look this cool!) This issue doesn’t disappoint in terms of story either. No adorable Rio doesn’t know about Synergy. But it turns out the group doesn’t know that Kimber is dating someone and her paramour could affect the whole band!
What I think
Honestly? You could be fourteen, or sixty-two and enjoy this comic. It’s basically an all-ages story, but there are some dating themes that I think warrant saving this book for tweens. It’s got drama, the art is fantastic and full of energy and ever panel flows seamlessly into the next. Even though there is a sizable cast of characters, Sophie Campbell artfully makes the dialogue clear and easy to understand. The dialogue and art flowed together so well that eye always knew where to go. I was never confused as to who was speaking or what was happening in the narrative. What’s also really amazing, are the subtleties that allow Sophie Campbell’s art to tell the story too. Many times a character can say more with a look than they can with a full page of dialogue and this creative team works seamlessly to prove that. I think my favorite thing about the art in this book is that it celebrates various body types and has pretty Black girls in it! (Those traits are not mutually exclusive either, thank you very much). So, I’m hooked. Jem and the Holograms is definitely a fun ride and I’ll be reading more! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dye my hair purple like Shana.
Comic: Jem and the Holograms #6
Artist: Kelly Thompson
Writer: Sophie Campbell
Karama Horne is a film/video editor by day and comic book reading, anime watching, TV live tweeting, K-Pop listening, blog writing, geek gurl by night. She is on a mission to shine a light on indie comic artists of color and highlights them and their work on her blogtheblerdgurl. She currently lives in a century old brownstone in Brooklyn with 2 cats who plot her demise daily. You can find her on twitter, facebook, instagram and tumblr.