Graphic Novels, January 11, 2019 | Xpress Reviews

“Jane’s World” gently lampoons romance and gender stereotypes without rancor and can be enjoyed by all genders and orientations; one hopes future volumes will reel readers back in and offer more in the way of a big picture

Week ending January 11, 2019

Braddock, Paige. Love Letters to Jane’s World. Lion Forge. 2018. 304p. ISBN 9781549302756. pap. $22.99. COMICS
An LGBTQ sitcom with a large cast, Braddock’s comic strip Jane’s World has delivered chuckles of amusement and self-recognition for two decades. Jane is a sweet yet wishy-washy butch whose attempts at romance get humorously sidetracked by outlandish mishaps, endless talk about “feelings,” attempts at self-improvement, good-natured assistance from former lovers plus friends of both sexes, and her overactive imagination. The openly lesbian Braddock (“Stinky Cecil” series) began the strip as a webcomic in the 1990s; it later became the first nationally syndicated comic with a lesbian protagonist. This collection excerpts the major plotlines, with interspersed commentary supplying context. Affectionate “love letters” to the strip appear throughout, some from comics luminaries and others from fans. Braddock’s sketchy black-and-white inks seem effortlessly expressive in depicting both outrageous and humdrum situations while keeping the many characters distinct.
VERDICT Suggesting Alison Bechdel’s Dykes To Watch Out For without the politics, Jane’s World gently lampoons romance and gender stereotypes without rancor and can be enjoyed by all genders and orientations. With the complete run of the story collected and published by Braddock’s Girl Twirl Comics, this overview offers a meaty omnibus for newbies and a binge read for aficionados.—Martha Cornog, Philadelphia

Leong, Sloane. Prism Stalker. Vol. 1. Image. 2018. 168p. ISBN 9781534308282. pap. $14.99. Rated: Teen+. SF
[DEBUT] Having been ripped from her planet owing to a plague and enslaved in a new world with no memory of her language or her people, Vep works day in and day out in order to feed an alien race. Alone and separated from her culture, she’s haunted by dreams of reuniting with her family and desperate to find a way to bring them all together again. Her drive for a better life sets her apart from the rest of the slaves and has not gone unnoticed. Soon she’s being transferred to yet another realm to be trained to colonize its inhabitants, requiring her to attend an academy in which she discovers powers that isolate her even further, and with each skill gained, another part of her true self is lost. Debuter Leong’s intergalactic, psychedelic trip can leave readers scratching their heads a bit. The artwork is stunning, and the worldbuilding one of this unique adventure’s greatest aspects; however, it’s difficult to identify with the main character, whose struggles are real and worthy, but there’s no connection to her plight. Collects single issues 1-5.
VERDICT Overall, this story is highly enjoyable visually, but the plot falls flat. One hopes future volumes will reel readers back in and offer more in the way of a big picture.—Laura McKinley, Huntington P.L., NY

LJ Reviews

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