Thursday, May 15, 2008

People Loving Art In Neighborhoods

Castellucci, Cecil, and Jim Rugg. The Plain Janes. New York, N.Y.: DC Comics, 2007.

Genre: Graphic Novel, Coming of Age story
Plot Summary:

Jane is in the line of fire during a bombing in Metro City. Her parents freak out and move her to the boring suburbs. She was one of the popular girls in her old high school, but in the suburbs she wants a new identity. So she befriends a group of girls who all have names that are some variation of Jane and who all a bit socially misfitted.There's Jayne, the semi-goth avant garde art nerd, Polly Jane the tomboy sports nut who can't seem to actually make a team, and and Jane a brainy science geek. Main Jane (as our hero is known) has a great idea for a guerilla art initiative similar to the guerilla girls.

But instead of focusing so much on feminism the Plain group just wants people to appreciate art and to stop being so afraid all the time. Their work gets the entire town in a tizzy though and dire consequences are potentially awaiting them if they are caught.

Geographical Setting: Metro City, Suburbs, High School
Time Period: Contemporary

Appeal Characteristics: The art in this book is good, but simple and focused mainly on the characters and not impressive backgrounds. The message is uplifting and shows teenagers making a difference in their community. The story is told mostly through a series of letters from Main Jane to another bombing victim that she is connected to through his "art saves" sketchbook. There are serious moments and issues in the book, but the story is overall a story of coming into ones own and the tone reflects the story and characters. The ideas for the P.L.A.I.N stunts are pretty cute. The other characters are not as well developed as Main Jane, but the story, though character involved, is more idea driven then character-driven. As with most graphic novels it is a quick and gratifying read.

Read-alikes: Many of Minx's publications seem to be in the same vein. Though "Breaking Up" by by Aimee Friedman (Author), Christine Norrie (Illustrator) published by Graphix is similar in the fact that it is a group of four friends dealing with issues of friendship and high school and all of the group of friends have special talents.

Red Flags: Independent thinking teenagers bucking authority. Some language, implied violence. Somewhat flat characters.

No comments:

Post a Comment