Reading Jem and the Holograms: Showtime, a graphic novilization of the popular late-80s cartoon by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Sophie Campbell is akin to eating a gourmet cupcake from a fancy bakery. A gourmet cupcake frosted with an inch of sugary pink icing, generously drizzled with edible purple glitter and raimbow sprinkles, topped off with a squirt of whip cream, and crowned with a shiny candied cherry. It's sweet (sooo sweet), you can taste its absolute (squee!) adorableness in every bite, and for the rest of the day you can almost feel sparkly pink glitter seeping from all your pores, proving the accuracy of the "you are what you eat" theory.
Yeah...that's about right.
I'll start by saying I've been hearing A LOT of positive buzz lately about this graphic adaption: Strong female characters, diverse characters (both in ethnicity and body type), LGBTQ appeal, a romance that's NOT a love triangle...all wrapped up in a colorful (literally and figuratively) and fun storyline. All good things (Hello! I am SO there!). Plus I'm a fan of both the old TV show and the more recent movie (Sign me up to read this thing! Like, yesterday!). So heck yes I was thrilled to finally get my hands on this book! Even more so than the second issue of Lumberjanes!
All that said, I am so happy to report that Jem and the Holograms: Showtime is every bit as awesome as hype/buzz/hoopla reported it to be-and then some. Unlike the movie, which veers off in some different (but still so cute) directions, the graphic novelization sticks fairly close to what I recall of the original storyline. With some modern adaptions, of course:
The plot centers around a group of musically talented sisters who are trying to get their band, The Holograms, off the ground. Trouble is, their lead singer, Jerrica, has some major performance anxiety issues. How to solve this? Enter Synergy, a super-cool, super-fututistic, Avengers-worthy audio/visual supercomputer designed by Jerrica's late father. This allows the shy, mousy Jerrica to transform into the uber-pink, uber-sparkly Glamazon, Jem. Wearing this disguise, our heroine has no trouble conquering her stage fright. Soon the Holograms' video goes viral and attracts millions of fans. It also attracts the jealousy of current "It" band, The Misfits. So you can probably guess where things go from there. To complicate things, a squeedorable star-crossed romance starts up between Kimber of the Holograms and Stormer of the Misfits (OMG! those two are SO cute!). To complicate things even more, Jerrica starts dating Rio, a hunky music journalist who is determined to find out who Jem really is. The drama escilates, cumulating in a food fight that disqualifies the Holograms from participating in a Battle of the Bands against The Misfits...and then ends on a cliffhanger where our heroines crash the show anyway. Right in the middle of The Misfits' set. There's motorcycles shaped like guitars, holographic T-Rexes, lots of big colorful hair, diabolical plots, cute romances, humor, music, and lots and lots of action.
I can't wait for the next book to come out!
So do I recommend this one? ABSOLUTELY!! --AJB