Jem and the Holograms, a new ongoing series from IDW written by Kelly Thompson (The Girl Who Would Be King) with artist Sophie Campbell (Wet Moon, Shadoweyes) and colorist M. Victoria Robado (Fragile, The Littlest Pet Shop), debuts today. We’ve expressed our excitement about the reemergence of Jem in popular culture before. But those were vague hopes and generalized enthusiasm. Now we know that this update is worthy of the woman powerful enough to challenge Barbie herself.
Campbell’s character designs extend the diversity of the original cast. We were stunned when the character designs were released. There’s an amazing range of body types:
For folks wanting a closer look and more information, IDW has individual band member bios.
The first issue focuses on getting to know the Holograms as they struggle to complete their first video in time to enter a challenge run by the Misfits, an established popular band. Jerrica’s performance anxiety threatens their chances, setting the stage for Jem!
While simply seeing something other than the standard superhero stereotype might be enough, the series’ second strength is that the characters emerge in relation to one another. The descriptions above give a teen magazine style snapshot of fashion and fame, these aren’t paper dolls expositing in order to drag the story forward. They are the story with and for one another.
The creators are embracing the over the top craziness of the inspirational property while exploring personal and intimate themes. Kimber and Stormer are out of the closet, and they’ve hinted at other LGBT characters. And they’re not ignoring that Jem is a hologram; technology, identity, and celebrity are ripe for unpacking.
Can’t wait? USA Today has an 8-page preview.