If you follow my reviews at all, you know I’m deliriously addicted to Bitch Planet and Paper Girls, and certainly I am awash in anticipation of where those stories will go in 2016. But I sort-of expect more of the same from them. In contrast, when the new arc of Jem and the Holograms kicks up on January 27, it promises a delicious new tone.
The biggest reason I’m hyped for the new arc is the return of artist Sophie Campbell. She defined Jem and the Holograms with the character designs introduced in the first arc, “Showtime.” She nailed down the body types, facial expressions, and fashion sense of the characters. Her choices led to a body diversity rarely seen anywhere, much less comics. Women who lacked or plentifully possessed curves were equally glamorous and gorgeous. Their facial expressions could be emotionally evocative or amusingly silly, each in turn fitting perfectly in the tone of the scene. Campbell’s character fashions were true to the original cartoon’s flavor while showing the creative talent of a professional designer.
In truth, while enjoyed the “Viral” arc, I missed Campbell’s art in every issue. The preview images from the “Dark Jem” arc released in October only amplified that. The cover designs for the “dark” versions of the band members are deliciously gothic. The normal pastel palette has been replaced by a largely black and white one with subdued pastel highlights. The characters are harder-edged with tattered detail work on their clothing.