The Plain Janes

plain-janes.jpgDespite my complaints about the San Diego Comic-Con, some good did come out of my excursion into that madhouse. It is only now, after I’ve had time to really decompress, that I have taken inventory of what I picked up at the convention. In years past I’ve been known to spend too much money and taken anything that’s handed to me, as long as it’s free. But this year I exercised a little discretion, and the end result was that I had very little to carry back with me on the plane.

At some point during the shameless hucksterism and pandering that swirls about the San Diego Convention Center, where mouth-breathing geeks and rubber-necking celebrity gazers mill about drooling on themselves, I ran into Jim Rugg. Even though we’ve met a few times, I don’t really know him, but I am a big fan of his comic book Street Angel. Honestly, I’m guilty of not singing Jim’s praises enough, because I really think his work is great, which is why I was excited when he told me he had a new book out from Minx, an offshoot of DC.

Drawn by Jim and written by Cecil Castellucci, The Plain Janes is part of what I hope to be an ever-increasing movement to grow the medium of comics. That said: I did have my reservations about the book itself, which at first glance seemed to be geared more towards a teenage girl audience. Still, I was willing to give The Plain Janes a chance, simply because that’s how much I like Rugg’s art.

Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed The Plain Janes. Rugg’s art is great, but equally as important, Castellucci—who makes her comics writing debut with this book—delivers a solid story. Castellucci’s heroine is a teenager named Jane, who survives a terrorist bombing in Metro City, only to have her family flee the big city for the safety of suburbia. But Jane takes little comfort in the dull, lifeless suburbs, and when she meets a group of girls, all named Jane, she devises a plan to bring some life and beauty to the sleepy community she now calls home.

The Plain Janes might not appeal to traditional comic book fans (and by “traditional” I mean those that can’t think beyond superhero stuff), but those that are willing to take a chance on something different may just enjoy what they read. Fans of books like Craig Thompson’s masterpiece Blankets would do well to check out The Plain Janes. Not that I’m comparing Castellucci and Rugg’s work to Thompson’s, because I have yet to see anything that really compares to Blankets, but The Plain Janes certainly does come from a similar side of the tracks. And what those two works do share in common is an intelligence and wit that never talks down to the reader.

7 Responses to “The Plain Janes”

  1. zelldragon Says:

    um, why is there so few?

  2. David Walker Says:

    I’m not sure why there are so few. I think the plan was to only put out one edition a year. The new one is due out this month, and I’m looking forward to checking it out.

  3. zelldragon Says:

    ok, hey why are there also only like three different comics?

  4. David Walker Says:

    Could you please be more specific in your question?

  5. zelldragon Says:

    why are there only like 3 diferent comics?

  6. David Walker Says:

    Because I’m lazy.

  7. zelldragon Says:

    heh, can you recomend a fantasy one?

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