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Jem and the Holograms Reboot Lights Up IDW

IDW Publishing has created a strong relationship with toy manufacturer Hasbro, creating comics with stories that go beyond being glorified advertisements. Transformers, G.I. Joe, and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are all titles that have grown and evolved past their toys and original cartoons. With such a good track record, it’s no surprise that IDW has gotten hold of a property many children of the 80s will remember fondly: Jem and the Holograms.

Starting in March, IDW will release a new comic series based on the toys and cartoon series, updated for a 21st century audience. The original series followed Jerrica Benton and her sister Kimber, and their foster sisters, Aja and Shana, as they formed a band to compete against the Pizzaz, Roxy and Stormer of the Misfits who were backed by Eric Raymond, manager of Starlight Music, a music company started by Jerrica’s and Kimber’s father, Emmett Benton. Emmett left his daughters a gift, a supercomputer known as Synergy, who could project any hologram, with sound, that Jerrica requested, using the star earrings she wore. Jerrica created Jem, an alter ego to front the Holograms. The stories usually involved the Misfits and the Holograms competing in some sort of musical contest, or the Misfits just causing trouble for the Holograms.

The reboot will still feature Jerrica, Kimber, Aja, and Shana being a band, but this time, Jerrica has crippling stage fright that is keeping the band from going anywhere. The discovery of an advanced technology invented by Jerrica’s and Kimber’s father gives them just the opportunity they need to finally break out. But their success attracts the attention of the already popular band, The Misfits, and the two become rivals as they battle to become the most popular.

IDW’s reboot will update not just the story but also the look of the characters. Artist Ross Campbell, already known in the comics community for being a fan of the series, drew some fan art of the characters that then became the basis for the new designs. The original series was about fashion as well as music, and this new series will be as well, minus the wacky designs, shoulder pads and neon colors of the 80s—mostly. Even though their looks will change, the basic essence of the characters will remain the same. Jem and the Holograms will remain the protagonists of the story, but the Misfits will lose some of their cartoon villainy in favor of being more down-to-earth and well rounded characters. Also remaining will be the Jerrica/Rio/Jem love triangle, though it too will go through some retooling.

I admit, as an old school-die-hard Jem fan, I was skeptical about the reboot. I was taken aback by the redesigns of the characters. I don’t share Ross’ love of mohawks, but as more art has come out, and even a preview has been released, I have to admit, they’ve grown on me. I also like what’s been described of the story so far, and am now really looking forward to reading the first issue. The one thing I will miss is the music. Jem and the Holograms had some great, fun, catchy tunes. Maybe IDW can come up with a Truly Outrageous Mix Vol. 1.

Jem and the Holograms #1 will be released March 25th.

Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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