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Image After/Image: ‘Jem and the Holograms’ #13 Revels in Duality

Jem13_cvrA-MOCKONLYJem and the Holograms #13
Written by Kelly Thompson
Art by Sophie Campbell
Story by Thompson and Campbell
Colors by M. Victoria Robado
Letters by Shawn Lee
Edits by John Barber


As the “Dark Jem” arc hits its full stride, the story takes off, fast and fun. Kelly Thompson built up an anticipation for what Silica and Dark Jem might bring during the last two issues, and Jem and the Holograms #13 pays off in humorous character hijinks and ebullient art by Sophie Campbell and M. Victoria Robado.

The colors on this issue are outstanding, tonally building the emotional content. Robado uses a bright and bold palette during the Misfits’ first concert performance with Blaze at the mic, then jumps back to the black and pastel for the characters under the influence of Silica. When checking in on a recovering Pizzazz, her signature green and purple are darkened to suggest a variation on theme with a Dark Pizzazz, one who is shadowed by depression rather than infected by Silica.

To read the rest of my review, click through to!

Stormer and Jetta eye their audience in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS #13

Stormer and Jetta eye their audience in JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS #13



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Comic Review: Jem and the Holograms #6

Jem and the Holograms “Showtime” Part Six by Kelly Tompson illustrated by Sophie Campbell

Jem and the Holograms 6

SHOWTIME SHOWDOWN! The Battle of the Bands is here—Jem and The Holograms will face off against The Misfits…or will they? Battle lines are drawn! Nemeses are born!

Jem and the Holograms is the title I wait for. I was a fan of the cartoon and this comic is its true and worthy heir. The story is great, building from personal places and playing out in public spaces. But the art is fantastic.

Sophie Campbell has reimagined what was essentially a doll line as real and diverse people. And she can make them look glam and fierce covered in mayo and kethchup and goop.

Jem 6 P1p2

In the aftermath of the foodfight triggered by Kimber’s recognition of Clash as the woman with bolt cutters, the must have feminist accessory of summer 2015, Jem and the Holograms find themselves in breach of their Vs! Contest contract. Both bands clean up and come clean. Sort of. We get a rare moment of everyone dressed casually and being brutally honest about their relationships. Campbell’s skill at portraying emotion shines in these pages.


Star crossed Kimber and Stormer suffer the agony of unanswered, unanswerable calls and texts. If you’d told me anyone, ever, could impart the emotional impact of a relationship in a downward spiral with drawings of smartphones, I wouldn’t have believed you. Now I’m the person telling you that.

I can’t think of a single comic book artist who so clearly lines up the depicted expression with the words being said and feelings in play. Jem and the Holograms is about these moments as much as it’s about fashion and fame. The final panel features both a declaration of war and plainly wounded pride welling in a restrained tear.

There are a couple cool references in this issue. Probably more than a couple, but these are stand outs. First, the Misfits’ guitar-shaped motorcycles from the very first episode, and first song, of the cartoon make an appearance.

Guitar Motorcycles

Check out their original incarnation in “Outta My Way.”

And the final act of the issue featuring Jerrica’s plan to upstage the Misfits as they close out their concert is reminiscent of Sex Bob-Omb’s battle with fifth ans sixth Evil Exes, the Katayanagi Twins, in Scott Pilgrim vs The World.

IDW has some preview pages up if you’re on the fence, but do yourself a favor and go pick this, and every other issue, up with the rest of your books today.

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Jem and the Holograms #1 Hits Shelves Today!

Jem Logo

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:

Holograms and Misfits

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.

Jem Sample Page

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.