The Plain Janes

I really like The Plain Janes.

Is it the best graphic novel I’ve ever read? No, but it’s still good. It’s better than I expected (and I didn’t really expect it to be bad). Cecil Castellucci’s writing hits the right notes and Jim Rugg’s art helps to create a world that feels very immediate and familiar. The overall concept of a group of teenage girls working together to do something artistic is very inspiring (and on a local note, the story reminded me of the “Borf” saga in D.C., which still seems to be dividing people around here). I wouldn’t say this is high literature or anything, but it’s touching and something I can relate to all the same.

The whole “comics for girls” thing has been tried before to varying degrees of success, and plenty of complaints have floated around about Minx — from the name to the creative teams not featuring too many women — but DC figured it out. This is in no way condescending toward its target audience. DC understands that teenage girls are pretty savvy and smart and they’re treating them as such. I’m relieved.

This is just a good graphic novel, period. It’s a good graphic novel for teenage girls, sure, as it was intended to be, but mostly, it’s just good. This comic wouldn’t be out of place in the catalogues of Slave Labor Graphics or Oni Press. I mean that as praise.

I am very surprised by how this turned out. I hope the other Minx titles are as good.

(Maybe tomorrow or next week, I’ll write about Castle Waiting. I decided since The Plain Janes was new, I’d review it first.)

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