Callum Waterhouse ’18/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Story and Art By: Sam Humphries and Caitlin Rose Boyle
Colors By: Mickey Quinn
Published By: BOOM! Studios
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: Feb 10th, 2016
Preview Available: View it!
Writers have a unique superpower; they can control the emotions of those around them. An artist can make you hate someone you would normally sympathize with, or they can make you care for someone whom you would normally find despicable. They can even make you fall in love with someone who you would not even like if you met them in real life. This is a powerful force, and luckily for us, the pair behind BOOM! Studios new miniseries Jonesy, have chosen to use this power for good instead of evil. In Jonesy, Sam Humphries and Caitlin Rose Boyle use their unique talents to make fans everywhere fall for the miniseries’s titular protagonist and her wild powers of love.
In the past few years, BOOM! Studios has exploded onto the American comics scene, singlehandedly capturing the niche of all ages/all genders comics without any signs of competition. With issue two of Jonesy having recently hit the shelves, it would appear that Boom’s control over this demographic will not be changing anytime soon. With this new four issue series, boys and girls of all ages will fall in love with Humphries and Boyle’s new comic.
And love is indeed the operative word. As we learn in the first few pages of each issue, our hero, Jonesy, has the power to control love. Be it the love of a band, a favorite snack, or a fellow person, with just a little of Jonesy’s magic hapless people are left starstruck. There is one catch however; she cannot use her power to make anyone fall in love with her, much to her chagrin.
So what is this young girl to do with this incredible power? Abuse it any way possible for her own gain and amusement, of course! And that is part of how Humphries and Boyle have made us fall in love with her. From her pinning over the possibility of an announcement by her favorite band, to her almost militant aversion to responsibility, to the ridiculous self-importance she places on her homemade fanzines Jonesy is one of the most realistic depictions of a modern teenage girl in all of comics. She is fun, sassy, and very, very irresponsible.
So far, the stories of each issue of Jonesy have focused on a particular set piece—a school Valentine’s Day celebration and a local talent show respectively—and used them as a vehicle for our heroine’s supernatural shenanigans. In terms of actual plot, Humphries and Boyle keep things very simple. Jonsey uses her powers to get herself into trouble, then uses them to get herself back out. The details practically write themselves.
The art also leads to a somewhat curt manner of storytelling. Each page has only a few, large panels—usually four or less, rarely five. This style tends to favor striking images over story or dialogue.
This is not a criticism of the storytelling, mind you. The creators were clearly aiming very young when they wrote the story and it is a tribute to their collective talents that the jokes and the characters are able to make these stories enjoyable for all ages while still being simple enough for a seven-year-old to comprehend.
Part of what gives the story such a broad appeal is the fantastic artwork. Caitlin Rose Boyle is a relative newcomer to the world of published comics. Her style is similar to that popularized by animated shows like The Regular Show and Steven Universe, so if you have seen an American cartoon in the past few years you should know what to expect visually.
However, if there is a real star behind the magic of Jonesy, it would have to be colorist Mickey Quinn. Quinn is a freelance storyboarder at Cartoon Network, and his use of vibrant color is what helps this comic stand out from the crowd. Boyle’s drawings are filled with bright, popping greens, pinks, blues and yellows, but Quinn somehow manages to make all this color look inviting rather than garish. These colors make Jonesy feel like a world not just inhabited by children, but shaped and molded by them as well.
Speaking of shaping the world, it needs addressing that a comic aimed at young children is spreading the message that love is in no way defined by a person’s gender. The first issue establishes very quickly that Jonesy’s power causes men and women to swoon without discrimination. More importantly, while an entire comic could be devoted toward exploring the implications of this effect, the comic has yet to ever bring it up directly.
Perhaps that is the point. We are slowly reaching the place where references to same-sex relationships in comics can become a part of the world without ever being addressed. The treatment of the material is very reminiscent to the comic that has practically become the flagship title of BOOM! Studios, Lumberjanes. In that title, the romance between main characters Mal and Molly is presented with little ambiguity, but the fact that they are both girls is rarely ever brought up. Another main character in Lumberjanes, Jo, is eventually revealed to be transgender and the news of this is treated as little more than an aside.
None of this will affect the enjoyment of Jonesy, but it is worth mentioning where this comic fits in the current industry climate. As creators and artists scramble to start providing representation to those who have never had real role models in media before, BOOM! Studios has positioned itself comfortably ahead of the curb.
Jonesy is not a complex comic, but that does not mean it is not smart. In fact, to have such short, simple stories be fun for all ages, filled with distinct humor and carry a positive message must mean that this comic is created by geniuses. Four issues seem far too short a time to spend with Jonesy and company. But who knows, if fans out there help this comic sell as well as some of the other BOOM! titles, we may be seeing more of Jonesy in the near future.