Originally written for Flickering Myth.
“SHOWTIME, SYNERGY! Meet JERRICA BENTON-a girl with a secret. She and her sister KIMBER team with two friends to become… JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS! But what does it mean to be JEM today? Fashion, art, action, and style collide in the most outrageous comic of 2015!”
So then, a comic based on an 80’s TV show starring a girl band and holograms. Not my usual fare it’s safe to say. Sometimes it’s good to try something different though, isn’t it?
My interest in this new series from IDW comes down to one person – Sophie Campbell. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t fallen in love with her work on TMNT. In fact this is the first time I’ve tried a new comic solely on the artist’s previous work, so if anyone is going to help introduce me to Jem and The Holograms it’s her.
In her work on Wet Moon Sophie has consistently shown how well she grasps the human form, giving us realistic shapes that look like people you’d meet in the street. Her style also perfectly captures the rock/pop/80’s aesthetic that permeates this title. For a story that contains concerns about appearance it would be ridiculous to have everyone look idealised, as is the case in most comics, so Sophie really is the perfect choice. It’s a great mix, elevated by the judicious use of colour, which on second read struck me for how it’s used to convey the instruments and vocals. I can’t think of a better way to do that.
I can only imagine it how tough it was to figure out the balancing act between the 1980’s and 2015, but the right decisions were made as it evokes the feelings of the former whilst also being up to date.
As I’m probably not the target demographic for this story I did wonder if I’d find it impossible to read. Would it be too girly for a 30 year old man? But if you take it how it’s meant – a fantastically OTT and enjoyable wish fulfilment tale – then you should be in for a good time. There’s a lot to get through in one issue, which means a fair bit of exposition, but it’s juggled well, with natural dialogue providing the bulk of it. It also did what any good story should do…leave me wondering what’s next. Having no prior experience of the story and characters leaves me in the rare position nowadays of having no idea what will happen next. That’s something to be enjoyed.
I’ve answered my initial question. Is it good to try something different.