flake_sake (flake_sake) wrote,

The other side of the mirror by Jo Chen

I never knew that Jo Chen makes her own comics until I saw the ads in season 8 and as I love her cover art and the advertised book is a paperpack and thus easily available to me via amazon (contrary to season 8 and AtF...), I had to buy it of course. So here it is. I assume there are not many people here who have already read it so I'll try to keep it non spoilery.

Ok, first the artwork: The colored pictures and the cover is to die for but that's a given with Jo Chen. The interior black and white art is  awesome too, really really great stuff. The style is typical for shojo-manga (not as photo realistic as her covers of course), so it's very aesthetic (to a point where it's a bit strange, because the two main characters, who are run down screw ups look like supermodels) but that's shojo, so nevermind). I'm still very much reminded of Fuyumi Soryo's stuff, and the main character of mirror could be Rei's twin from Mars. Contrary to other shojo-manga her characters fortunately look like adults though.
The paneling, the dynamics and perspectives, simply every little thing is right in those pictures. The characters faces are really expressive and she captures their emotions and moods perfectly. It's like watching a good actor. The woman is a graphic genius, no doubts here.
You can find some of the artwork on her homepage in the gallery section, unfortunately I failed at setting up direct links. There are even some random pages from the manga there.

Ok, then there's the plot. I fear I'm biased here. Angsty romance just isn't my cup of tea. If I don't get a plot, I usually don't get invested in the characters. The basic story is that two people with less then shiny pasts, Sunny, a would-be prostitute and Lou, who wins drinking games for a living , hook up and try to start over. It's all very cute sometimes and very angsty at others. I guess, if one likes romances it would be good. Problem is that the usual shojo-gender stereotypes make me gag. There is far far worse stuff than in this book, but I just like my women a bit more independent.

I think I liked little short story in the end of the book (a perfect parody of the usual bittersweet shojo-romances) best.
What I loved was the interview with Jo chen and her side notes. You've got to love a woman, who describes her skills as: "Can render androgynous looking male in 60 seconds flat" and god,her boys are pretty! I wonder if she did any shonen-ai (slash) stuff, since it's very common in manga.

There are going to be only two volumes in this series so I'll bye the second one too. The artwork is just too cool to leave it but I really hope, she'll do manga in other genres in the future. And I still hope, she gets to draw Spike at some point...maybe with Angel...naked...dammit I'm trailing off again; time to go to bed :)
Tags: comics, jo chen, manga

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