Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Webcomic of note #1

Jin and Jam No 1-Hellen Jo

Comic artist Jordan Crane's website What Things Do is a haven for reading good comics online. He's made available early Yeast Hoist stuff by Ron Rege Jr, a bunch of Sammy Harkham strips, the entirety of his own graphic novel The Clouds Above, and much more besides. He also has a news/blog roll that runs alongside it.
The latest edition to the site is a fantastic hybridisation of manga and American comics and Calafornia culture, Jin and Jam by Hellen Jo. It straddles that line between East and West precisely because Jo was born in America and considers America her home, but is also Asian. Artistically it sits somewhere between Jillian Tamaki's artwork for the graphic novel Skim (especially with the large chins of her characters) and the grotesque surrealism of Taiyo Matsumoto (she quotes Black and White at the beginning of the comic). The addition of a cat fight with con-joined twins is certainly very reminiscent of Matsumoto (as well as Charles Burns and the kind of off the wall characters you'd find in Jim Rugg's Afrodisiac). Traces of oriental folk art and art nouveau burst through in some of the details, such as the twins hair during the fight scene. This comic is violent and stupid, but also warms your heart ever so slightly. It makes us remember that the people worth talking to, the people worth hanging out with, aren't really the popular ones, but the outsiders, the ones who don't really fit in anywhere, and thus bind together, and generally have more fun. Whereas Skim by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki also deals with outsiders, and the superficiality and shallowness of school life, it is a great deal more angst ridden whereas Jin and Jan seems carefree and optimistic, ready to face the new adventure of adult life, but in no rush to leave the current adventure just yet. I liked Jim and Jan so much I bought it, reckoning it would be a nice thing to own in print/hard copy (the cover and end pages are finished with great watercolours).
View Hellen's site here.

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